How to Create a Relapse Prevention Plan

woman writing relapse prevention plan

The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates addiction has relapse rates of 40 to 60 percent, which is lower than the relapse rates of other chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure and asthma. If you return to using drugs or alcohol after a period of abstinence, that doesn’t mean you’ve failed in your recovery. You can still resume your sober lifestyle and sharpen your focus on your goals with a relapse prevention plan.

What Is a Relapse Prevention Plan?

The warning signs of relapse often come well before you fall back to old, bad habits, so it’s essential to be able to recognize the red flags. A relapse prevention plan is an evolving document that helps keep you accountable for your life in recovery.

Taking time to craft a plan that encompasses your unique needs is an essential part of helping you remain on a positive path. Though no two plans will be identical, here are some components you can use to get started.

1. Understand yourself.

What made you want to turn to drugs or alcohol in your previous life? Was your substance use a coping mechanism? Did you use alcohol or drugs to numb the pain of depression or trauma? Write down a list of common situations where you were accustomed to using or drinking in the past. Understanding your typical usage patterns when you were in active addiction can help you recognize and avoid circumstances that might cause you to relapse back to substance misuse.

2. Make a list of your triggers.

An addiction trigger is any place, experience, event or even a person that causes you to step off your path of sobriety. Everyone’s triggers are different, but understanding yours can help you be more proactive about how to handle them as they arise. Common examples of triggers are stress, loneliness, visiting with old drinking buddies or being in surroundings where you used to do drugs. Realistically, some of these triggers are impossible to avoid, so it’s smart to ask your therapist to help you develop specific strategies that will help you manage each trigger on your list.

3. Involve others.

Successful recovery cannot happen in isolation. Reach out to a friend you made in rehab, a close family member or your therapist and ask if it’s OK for you to text or call them if you’re struggling. Come up with a set of healthy activities that will distract you from your cravings and help you deepen relationships with positive people who want to support you in your recovery journey.

4. Set specific goals.

Another vital aspect of your relapse prevention plan is setting short- and long-term goals for your sober lifestyle. Examples could be practicing yoga for 30 minutes a day, learning a new life skill or volunteering at your local animal shelter once a week. Making daily efforts to prioritize your overall well-being not only helps you manage stress, but also reinforces your sense of self-worth and accomplishment.

Your Relapse Prevention Plan Is Not Static

Once you have created your relapse prevention plan, your work isn’t finished. Return to your plan periodically and revise it to reflect new goals or progress you’ve made on your journey. And if you’re new to sobriety and haven’t already created a plan, ask your therapist to help you get started on one today.

Your Best Days Are Still Ahead

If you’re searching for a women’s-only drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, contact Canyon Crossing today. Long-term treatment and relapse prevention are only two facets of our well-rounded program offerings. Our admissions team is happy to help verify your insurance and walk you through our enrollment process.

Benefits of Residential AddictionTreatment

You cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick. This is the philosophy behind our residential addiction treatment program. At Canyon Crossing, women learn to live life on life’s terms while staying in a safe, substance-free setting. This gives our clients the space and peace needed for lasting recovery.
Our residential program combines high-accountability sober living arrangements with first-rate clinical care. While staying in our homes, clients participate in process groups, one-on-one counseling sessions, and hands-on learning opportunities. They also receive ongoing training; in these meetings, life skills like financial management and conflict resolution are imparted. All of this happens with 24/7 encouragement, guidance, and supervision from our clinical team.
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