The plan offers a course of action for responding to triggers and cravings. A drug or alcohol relapse prevention plan is an invaluable tool for anyone in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction. When you or a loved one is receiving treatment for a substance abuse issue, a proper relapse prevention plan can greatly improve your treatment outcome and strengthen your recovery. While not everybody experiences this during recovery, a successful relapse prevention plan is a valuable tool during treatment and recovery. When an urge comes, it can be difficult to manage it, especially in the beginning of recovery.

More broadly speaking, I believe that recovering individuals need to learn to feel comfortable with being uncomfortable. They often assume that non-addicts don’t have the same problems or experience the same negative emotions.


It also outlines ways to combat those behaviors and get back on track. Having a relapse prevention plan is helpful for preventing you from going back to old, unhealthy behaviors. When you fantasize about drugs or alcohol, you’ll likely believe you can control your substance use disorder this time around. You will only have one drink, one pill, or maybe just one puff, but you need to play the tape past your favorite scene. One drink typically leads to two drinks, and you’ll wake up the next day filled with embarrassment and disappointment. When you stop using addictive substances after sustained use, it is almost inevitable you will encounter cravings during detox, withdrawal, and ongoing recovery. Planning to deal with these cravings using healthy coping techniques can reduce your chances of relapse.

One of the aspects of recovery is staying busy to help occupy and deter negative thoughts. Set daily, weekly, monthly goals for achieving a more healthy outlook. You can choose to eat better, practice yoga, go on daily walks, take up a new hobby, find peer groups that help support a sober lifestyle. With a relapse prevention plan, a person may be better equipped to address certain feelings and events to avoid a physical relapse. When clinicians and scientists refer generally to CBT for substance use disorder, it is often Marlatt’s RP model or some related approach to which they are referring.

Relapse Beyond the Numbers

RP clinical protocols typically include 12 weekly sessions, and are empirically supported when delivered over that time frame. In addition, having a strong “action plan” in writing can be a great resource. The action plan should offer guidance and be a tool for accomplishing and holding fast to your goals in recovery. Patients have more success avoiding relapse when they have a solid plan to deal with triggers, temptation, and all the other challenges that come with sobriety.

  • Treatment program will be essential in helping prevent future relapses.
  • For instance, you’ll schedule recreational activities between work or school to lessen idle time.
  • Many support group options existoutside of the 12-step model, so don’t let bad experiences stand in the way of your recovery.
  • By drinking small glasses of water throughout the day, I will stay hydrated.

Cravings usually last from minutes, and though it might seem quick, it can feel like forever. Therefore, knowing what you can do to occupy your mind will make things easier. Some examples include playing music, exercising, journaling, or writing a gratitude list. Know who you will call first, what you will alcohol relapse ask of them, and if you will attend a meeting or return to a rehab facility. The more detailed this plan is, the more likely you will be to get yourself back on track quickly. Talk to the people included in your plan and make sure they have the necessary knowledge should you need their assistance.

Relapse Prevention Plan Example – PDF

Create a relapse prevention action plan for what to do instead of turning to drugs or alcohol. For example, if going through a breakup could lead to a relapse, think of other outlets for your pain and frustration. Instead of drinking or using, plan to attend a support meeting or call a family member or close friend right away. The more specific your action plan is, the better, as this means you will be less likely to come within close reach of a relapse. While you can create a relapse prevention plan on your own, it may be helpful to walk through the process with someone who has knowledge of the topic like a substance abuse counselor. Relapse plans can be verbalized but may also be written in order to have a more clear outline of what steps to take should a relapse seem to be a possibility. Most often, a relapse prevention plan is a written document a person creates with their treatment team and shares with their support group.

alcohol relapse prevention plan

They will still be there, whether you write them down or not. This way, you have a way to overcome them without turning to drugs or alcohol. It’s possible that you have a long list of things you once loved to do. These might be things you haven’t thought about in a long time. This is because your addiction has taken that place of importance in your life.

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan and Should I Have One?

To understand the importance of self-care, it helps to understand why most people use drugs and alcohol. Most people use to escape, relax, or reward themselves . It helps to acknowledge these benefits in therapy so that individuals can understand the importance of self-care and be motivated to find healthy alternatives. Most people start recovery by trying to do it on their own. They want to prove that they have control over their addiction and they are not as unhealthy as people think. Joining a self-help group has been shown to significantly increase the chances of long-term recovery.

  • A relapse prevention program can help decrease your chances of relapsing.
  • I will avoid using alcohol by following up with all of my appointments for outpatient rehab.
  • When facing them, it might feel like an eternity, but having this in mind might help.
  • Be prepared to reveal the news to them and think about what steps you need to take to get back on the road to recovery.

First, stress and tension are common triggers of relapse. Second, mind-body relaxation helps individuals let go of negative thinking such as dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, which are triggers for relapse. Third, mind-body relaxation is a way of being kind to oneself. The practice of self-care during mind-body relaxation translates into self-care in the rest of life. Part of creating a new life in recovery is finding time to relax. The growth stage is about developing skills that individuals may have never learned and that predisposed them to addiction .

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