The Many Aspects of Relapse Prevention


Relapse prevention is an important component of addiction recovery. Research states that Marlatt and Gordon proposed the relapse prevention model consisting of immediate determinants such as high-risk situations, coping skills, outcome experience, and abstinence violation, as well as covert antecedents such as lifestyle factors, urges, and cravings. All of these components influence a person’s recovery and how they experience (or avoid experiencing) relapse. If you want to focus on relapse prevention in your recovery, it’s important to know the basics.

Relapse prevention is a cognitive-behavioral model aimed at helping people identify and prevent high-risk situations that could lead them to relapse. To put it simply, relapse is when you’ve abstained from using alcohol or drugs for a long period of time, and then use again. Often times this may be a short, one-time situation, often called a “slip”. Other times, it may involve binge episodes where large amounts of substances are used, or they are used repeatedly. Most relapses occur within 6 months of treatment, but people may experience a relapse at any part of their recovery.

Relapses often happen because of the physical urges a person experiences, or because a person wants to avoid any emotional turmoil or pain they are experiencing. With relapse prevention, you will learn about common triggers to relapse:

  • Keeping substances in your home
  • Thinking about using
  • Quitting therapy or skipping appointments
  • Overconfidence
  • Setting impossible goals or being too critical of yourself
  • Major life changes
  • Relationship conflicts
  • Refusing to deal with personal problems

These are just a few but learning about these triggers can help you identify ways to combat them if you’re experiencing them in the moment. Psychology Today states that mindfulness is often a great tool to learn for relapse prevention. This includes accepting whatever thoughts and feelings you have in the present moment, without allowing yourself to feel the urge to do something about it immediately. It provides you with the opportunity to respond to situations intentionally, rather than react automatically. If you haven’t already, speak with a reputable treatment center about how you can incorporate relapse prevention into your recovery program.

Located in Orange County, CA, Simple Recovery is a world-renowned drug and alcohol treatment center that believes that recovery is a process, not a destination. Our Simple Recovery programs include a variety of resources such as relapse prevention and support, group and individual therapy, vocational and educational programming, and more. If you’re in search of freedom from addiction, call us today at 888-743-0490. Recovery is possible.