Establishing an Effective Relapse Prevention Plan

Relapse is easily one of the most difficult enemies for addicts recovering from substance addiction. You may follow your recovery exactly as professionals instruct you and follow all of the signs but relapse can always remain a dangerous prospect.

In these cases, it may even seem futile to try fighting relapse at all. But by doing the research surrounding relapse and crafting a plan to combat it, you can minimize the odds. Not only can you adjust a plan based on what works best for you, but it also keeps you organized.

You can establish a relapse prevention plan based on your physical, social, and emotional needs, and desires. Furthermore, you should map these plans with professional doctors, therapists, and even friends and family members who can monitor you. By pinpointing these conditions, you can prepare the best prevention plan possible.

Understanding and Defining Relapse

To understand relapse is to be able to prevent it, and in order to prevent relapse, you should understand the nature of addiction itself. There is a common myth that addiction is a choice, when in actuality it is a chronic disorder. Addiction itself has no cure and is a condition to cope with, live with, and adjust accordingly.

Relapse itself can be defined as a return to drug use, typically after a successful recovery. This is usually caused by aspects such as stress in life, carelessness, or major changes in lifestyle. Most addicts will deal with at least one, and sometimes even multiple relapses. By following certain methods, however—typically based on each different individual—you can minimize the possibility of relapse.

Types of Prevention Plan Models

Just as with any person in any learning process, different people learn best through different methods and systems. This often depends on aspects such as a person’s personality, experiences, and routine. While most will need to stretch past their comfort zones, prevention models should be based on what that person enjoys.

For some, substance abuse comes naturally without much thought and becomes a regular habit. In these cases, a Cognitive Processing Model would be most ideal by encouraging critical thinking and problem-solving skills. By adopting daily mental exercises and habits in place of drugs, these automatic behaviors can be blocked out in place of more constructive activities.

Another common habit that sprouts from addiction include social isolation and struggles with peer pressure. There may be the addicts who drink alone or those who become too social with other drinkers and join in. However, the Social Learning Model is highly beneficial for both. By interacting with groups, loners are given social and emotional support while socialites practice dealing with that peer pressure.

Finally, the Reinforcement Model focuses on dealing with the stressors that come with everyday life and lead to addiction. Rather than abusing drugs due to stress or to boost moods, this can be replaced with small, typically harmless rewards. This can include a small snack, rewarding yourself with free time, or other incentives. The Reinforcement Model works most effectively with people motivated by small returns or deals with a great amount of stress.

Tips to Create a Plan

Relapse prevention plan models are just that—models, serving as mere guidelines. Every person’s recovery will be different from another addict’s. That being said, there are a number of steps that can help you create a thorough plan. When constructing a relapse prevention plan, you should consider the following elements:

  • Set goals – Put together personal recovery goals such as rebuilding relationships, expanding your career, or finding new hobbies.
  • Identify triggers – Know and educate yourself on what makes you want to abuse drugs again.
  • Be aggressive – stay dedicated to your plan and continue to make it a focus, whether a diet or exercise routine or even both!
  • Know warning signs – research into red flags that can hint at impending addiction or relapse.
  • Create a recovery toolbox – Every person has a variety of techniques or ideas that helps relieve the stress of addiction, so learn your own.
  • Have backup plans ready – In the case a relapse does surface, plan out how to handle it.

When it comes to taking action for backup, there are a number of options to consider. Seeing your therapist, a recovery group, support from family or friends, or even distractions like walking or playing a game can make a difference. By being prepared, you can not only be ready to face relapse but be able to prevent it altogether.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.