Your Ultimate Guide to Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan

Man lying back and happy in grass

Many people in recovery aim to avoid relapse because they believe that relapse is a sign of failure. This is false, however, because relapse is a sign that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted so the person can feel even stronger in their recovery. Addiction involves deeply embedded physiological and behavioral components, so it’s natural for relapse to become involved as some point or another. However, there are preventative measures that you can take against it; most often your treatment center will be involved as well.

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Preventative Measures

A study published in Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy denoted the many factors that cause people to relapse:

  • Having positive outcome expectancies to using again
  • Experiencing feelings of shame or guilt with saying “no”
  • Not feeling “strong enough” to withstanding the temptations of use
  • Becoming more easily influenced by messages surrounding use
  • Non-use of coping mechanisms in response to withdrawal symptoms
  • Negative mood states which turn into other factors resulting in relapse
  • Experiencing “fatigue” in following through with coping mechanisms learned in treatment

Environment, timing, and cues are all influential and should be prepared for. When creating your relapse prevention plan, be sure to post your coping mechanisms somewhere you can easily reach them – even if you’re tired, using the skills you’ve learned in treatment can greatly benefit you in times of need.


What Does This Mean For You?

Adequate support has been shown to lead to success in recovery, as previous research has shown that support gives us motivation to push through our obstacles. A study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs assessed 90 participants, with 3 sets of 30 participants enlisted in either individual relapse prevention (IRP), dyadic relapse prevention (DRP) or treatment as usual (TAU). Where one participant would receive relapse prevention tools on their own, individuals in the DRP program had a family member alongside them. Results showed the participants in the DRP program consistently performed better than the IRP group on levels of reduction in drinking, drinking days, and family problems.

Utilize all the support that you can, whether it’s family, friends, or people whom you’ve connected with in your treatment program, such as a group leader. Write out a list of triggers that you have and ways that you can combat those triggers and have that plan easily accessible in times of need. Do not be afraid to reach out for help. A reputable treatment center will be there for you not only during treatment, but after as well.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 855-900-0145 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.