Did you know illicit drug use costs the US around $181 billion every year?

Are you struggling with addiction and want to make a relapse prevention plan? Not to worry! In this guide, we’ll go over some signs of relapse and how to work through them.

Want to learn more? Keep reading to find out!

Making a Relapse Prevention Plan: A Guide

Having a relapse prevention plan will help you recognize the early stages of relapse. You’ll learn about support meetings and seek cognitive therapy. These will help you develop healthy coping skills.

Preventing Relapse at the Beginning

In this stage, if you notice you’re anxious, try to practice relaxation techniques. If you’re isolating yourself, you’ll need to ask for help.

If your eating and sleep habits are slipping, try to refocus. If you don’t change your behavior in this early stage, you could get mentally exhausted. When you’re exhausted, you’ll desire an escape.

To prevent relapse in this stage, make sure you focus on self-care. If you don’t take care of yourself, some of your fears and resentments will build to an uncomfortable peak. You might start to think about using again.

Confront those feelings head on and discourage them from growing. This will help you prevent relapse.

Watch Your Thought Life

When you have a war going on in your mind, you’re struggling with a mental relapse. In the early phase, you might think about using from time to time. It becomes problematic if you’re glamorizing your past use of drugs.

Other warning signs are when you start to lie or hang out with old friends you used with. If you’re fantasizing about using again or thinking about relapsing, go seek help.

You want to make sure you can redirect your thought life or have the supports around if you’re weak. Talk to someone and tell them you have urges to use again.

When you share what you’re thinking, your urges will start to disappear. You’ll feel less alone and not as overwhelmed.

Go to a meeting, go for a walk, or call a friend. If you let yourself ruminate, you’re giving more room for these problematic thoughts.

Most urges last up to thirty minutes. Keep yourself busy during this time and redirect your attention to something positive.

Avoid Temptation

Try and steer clear of any environments or situations that place you in the way of temptation. Don’t go to a party where various substances are out in the open. 

Avoid places that you visited while using or places that bring up memories of the past. Stay away from situations or people that are emotional triggers.

Develop a Network

Surround yourself with people who don’t use drugs or drink alcohol. Find friends who are supportive of your substance-free lifestyle. Have healthy people around you who can support you when you’re weak.

Sever ties to unhealthy relationships. You might need to change your telephone number. You could block old friends on social networking sites. Focus on building a healthy support network you can depend on.

Recognize Triggers

You’re going to want to learn how to notice triggers. Triggers cause you to think about, crave, and use substances. This could include being around people who use.

There are other specific triggers like people or locations. Emotions can also cause you to crave again.

If you’re used to using to cope with uncomfortable feelings, learn how to redirect yourself. Therapy can help you identify what your triggers are. A therapist will help you learn new ways to cope with your emotions.

Build a Schedule

Before leaving treatment, consider creating a schedule for your week. You can include times for meetings, treatments, and social activities. You’ll also want to pencil in your free time. This will help you build a healthier routine.

During treatment, patients tend to follow a strict schedule. You’ll get to continue this lifestyle if you plan for when you leave treatment.

For your free time intervals, try and add in constructive activities to fill that time. Don’t set aside blocks of free time where you could get bored and tempted.

Complacency Is Dangerous

Most people feel motivated after completing rehab treatment. They are ready to continue with 12-step meetings or an aftercare program.

They might also build their support network. Yet, motivation does lessen over time. As progress continues, one might think all the recovery efforts aren’t as necessary.

Try and maintain what works for you. Stick with your routine, whether it’s attending meetings or meeting with a mentor once a week.

Recovery Is a Journey

If you do relapse, don’t view it as an ultimate failure. Addiction is a chronic condition. If you relapse, you’ll need to speak with a professional about your treatment plan. If you were able to get sober in the past, you can do it again.

Remember to reach out to others for help. Attend a treatment center again. Process the emotions and events that led to relapse.

When you process these situations, you can learn from your mistakes and gain insight. This will help you on your journey. Check out our guide on how to know if you’re addicted.

Contact Us Today

We hope you found this article on building a relapse prevention plan helpful. Make sure you form a healthy social network and seek help when needed.

Want to learn more? Contact us today.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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