What is an Addiction Relapse Prevention Plan?

An addiction relapse prevention plan is a key aspect of long-term sobriety. The right tools must be in place to fully recover from substance abuse. Many people struggling with addiction will relapse after their first time in rehabilitation, and most will require a second stint in a sober living facility. Avoiding this fate is important, and individuals in recovery must fully invest in their relapse prevention plan.

An addiction to alcohol or drugs does not easily go away. To successfully battle cravings regularly, many lifestyle changes are required. The challenges of the real world will include many temptations, including thoughts of and opportunities for relapse. Because of this, a person with a history of addiction may feel unequipped. A relapse prevention plan is essential to avoiding this feeling and developing the healthy confidence necessary to get through the day.

GateHouse Treatment provides support for individuals recovering from addiction. Our variety of services can help clients receive long-term care even after they leave our facilities. Our long-term treatment plans include alumni programs and other resources that provide the tools to prevent relapse and live a healthy, sober life. For more information, contact us today to receive a free consultation.

Relapse Prevention Through Trigger Identification

Individuals must be conscious of their triggers if they hope to avoid relapse. Relapse is more than one act, usually starting with a craving or thought. Once the idea of using takes hold within a person’s mind, they may be unable to resist the overwhelming temptation to acquire and use alcohol or their preferred drug. Consistently letting these thoughts and cravings take over can cause a person to land right back in rehab and start their rehabilitation process over, ruining whatever progress they’ve seen up to that point.

Try to identify triggers and devise methods of avoiding them. For starters, hanging out with friends at a bar may not be the best idea. Individuals struggling with alcohol addiction may find comfort from friends in familiar places, but a bar or nightclub is not the healthiest place to spend time. They may need to avoid certain pieces of media as well. Before watching a television show or movie, read reviews and see if it contains drug or alcohol consumption. Even the sight of a prescription pill bottle or beer bottle can be triggering for some.

Triggers are more than people or places. Depending on the trigger, it may not always be avoidable. Because of this, it is important to have ways of coping with drug cravings and understanding what to do when the feeling isn’t subsiding quickly. Tools such as meditation, urge surfing, and social disclosure can all help alleviate feelings of drug cravings and help individuals manage their intense feelings.

Many individuals struggling with recovery find that idle time is a trigger. Excessive free time causes the mind to wander, and a person with a history of drug addiction may think about their drug-fueled past and what it would be like to experience their substance of choice one more time. To avoid this, individuals must give purpose to each day and carefully plan how they will spend their time.

Relapse Prevention and Daily Schedules

Creating a daily schedule is very important to any prevention strategy. Individuals in recovery need to account for their daily life to identify chances for relapse and avoid them. Too much free time can lead to poor choices, but having too many responsibilities can result in stress, often creating thoughts of relapse. Cravings are hard to plan for, but having too little or too much to do can create a warped sense of mind that makes a person in recovery susceptible to alcohol or drug use.

The daily schedule is crucial to an addiction relapse prevention plan. Having each day mapped out can provide a person in recovery with the structure they need to live in a way that best suits them. Exercise, healthy eating, and a consistent sleep schedule are natural ways to boost one’s health and avoid thoughts of relapse.

Identifying Your Support System

An important part of an addiction relapse prevention plan is identifying the good in life. For many, relapse prevention requires a healthy outlet for socializing and counseling. Having the right people in your life can be a tremendous tool that facilitates long-term sobriety. Addiction is hard to navigate, and it can feel impossible to stay on a sober path without the love and support of others. Because of this, identifying (and utilizing) a support system is essential to sobriety.

After leaving a sober living facility, take inventory of the people you have in your life. Addiction can ruin friends and relationships, but an individual returning home to a parent, sibling, or relative should feel extremely fortunate. It may be necessary to avoid family members who indulge in alcohol or drug use. Still, sober relatives can be a healthy part of a support system to help with accountability and motivation.

Individuals who miss the structure and community of a sober living facility may benefit from an alumni program. Many rehabilitation centers provide alumni programs to help graduates connect with peers and find support in a group of like-minded people. Alumni programs consist of individuals who have completed their program(s) but have returned to receive further support and treatment for their addiction. Activities such as group therapy can greatly benefit a relapse prevention plan. Recovery is much more tolerable, and the chance of relapse decreases when a prevention plan includes support systems.

Relapse Prevention Planning Through Self-Accountability

Self-awareness is everything. Having a healthy support system is important, but self-accountability is one of the most essential components to long-term sobriety.

Set attainable goals and celebrate small successes. Positive steps should receive rewards; feeling good after achieving a goal is okay. Having something to look forward to can be very motivating and helpful when going through the lows of recovery. Seeing the big picture and having a goal to strive toward can help individuals realize that the short-term effects of relapse are not worth it.

Practicing daily gratitude can also be helpful for relapse prevention. Everybody has something to be grateful for, and constantly being reminded of the positives in life can improve mental health and decrease the likelihood of drug use. Also, understand the consequences of relapse. Write down some negatives that may come to fruition because of drinking or drug use. Knowing what could be lost can greatly motivate individuals in recovery. Employment, personal relationships, and financial comfort can all be lost immediately if a person chooses to prioritize drugs or alcohol over their bare necessities.

In short, a successful recovery must include a plan for outreach, inevitable temptations, and being grateful for small fortunes. A successful recovery must include a plan to avoid relapse.

GateHouse Treatment Can Help You Develop the Right Relapse Prevention Plan

An addiction relapse prevention plan should be one of the priorities after leaving rehab. Addiction is a lifelong disease, and knowing how to avoid its pitfalls starts with understanding the possibilities of relapse. A plan can help individuals in recovery learn how to protect their sobriety and develop healthy habits.

GateHouse Treatment has resources to help individuals in recovery sustain their sobriety. Even after leaving a sober living facility, our treatment plans can help you recover alongside a support system while providing medical treatment for drug cravings. For more information on how we can help, contact us today at (855) 448-3707 to schedule a free consultation with our team.

Jim Fredrick

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