Recovery from substance misuse is a long and challenging journey. The chances of relapsing along the way are high if specific measures aren’t in place. The National Institute on Drug Abuse disclosed that about 60% of individuals in recovery relapse after the first 12 months. It underscores the importance of learning relapse prevention skills and incorporating addiction techniques into your daily life to subdue cravings.
One way to maintain sobriety is by creating a relapse prevention plan. This plan can help identify and minimize the risks found with relapse, assisting people to stay longer in recovery. This article explores the essence of relapse prevention, how to spot and manage triggers, and how to create and incorporate this plan into your daily life.
A relapse prevention plan is a well-thought-out set of strategies designed to help people in recovery remain sober and avoid sliding back into addiction. This recovery plan is a paramount tool that empowers individuals to navigate addiction triggers and cravings effectively. A relapse prevention plan helps you to acknowledge behaviors that may lead you to relapse in the future. Additionally, it outlines ways to combat those addictive behaviors to stay on the recovery track.
A prevention plan is a document the individual develops with their healthcare provider or treatment team. This plan dictates how the person will respond to triggers and cravings should they emerge. As you know, relapse is usually triggered by emotions and mental behaviors, which manifest physically (returning to substance abuse). With a prevention plan, you can recognize and act on feelings and events that may trigger a physical relapse.
Relapse is never out of the possibility once you’re in recovery – no matter how long you’ve been sober. Many people who undergo treatment relapse in the first year. Even with perseverance, relapsing remains a likely outcome. As such, having a plan is vital to avoid a relapse.
A prevention plan solidifies your resilience should triggers and cravings emerge. It minimizes the risk of relapse and empowers you to take charge of your recovery journey. The benefits are immense and significant to staying sober.
Although many people in recovery create a relapse prevention plan independently, it is usually best to walk through the process with an addiction specialist or counselor. It’s essential to consider the following when creating a prevention plan for relapse:
Ask yourself the following when devising a prevention plan:
Answering these questions is fundamental to avoiding anything that will lead you back into addiction.
Identifying triggers is the next big step. Try to brainstorm everything that could make you vulnerable to addictive substances. Do you feel, think, or behave differently when a relapse is coming? Try to identify those warning signs, as they can give you more insight into how to handle them.
Stress, substance exposure, negative thought patterns and emotions, and social situations are common triggers. Take time to self-reflect and check out those situations that make you more prone to using. By recognizing these emotions and behaviors, you can be more proactive in managing them.
This entails developing coping skills to manage the triggers you’ve identified. Coping skills help you to address triggers in a healthy and structured manner. These skills include mindfulness, breathing exercises, and journaling. They vary from one individual to another. Try out these coping skills to determine which one best suits you. Remember, building coping skills requires consistency and practice.
So, instead of giving in to drugs or alcohol when triggered by a terrible situation or emotion, think of a coping skill you can use to suppress it. You can attend a support meeting or contact a friend or family. Creating emergency contacts can be incredibly helpful in preventing a relapse. The list should consist of trustworthy individuals, such as family members, friends, therapists, or colleagues from support groups, who can be there for you at challenging times. Reach out to them when you’re struggling to avoid relapsing.
Drafting a prevention plan requires dedication and personalization. Below are some tips to help you get started:
Implementing the plan is a proactive step in staying sober. Follow through with the strategies and regularly review them to stay relevant.
As mentioned, going through with your plan with an addiction specialist increases the chances of overcoming a relapse. Healing Pines Recovery boasts of experienced addiction specialists who can help you create a prevention plan and stay committed to implementing it. We help patients identify triggers and build coping skills to help them navigate the sobriety journey.
The first step can be the hardest. Fill out the form or call us at 720-706-7980. You will be connected with a Healing Pines Recovery specialist who can answer your questions and help you get started.