group discussion on relapse prevention plan

Addiction isn't something people overcome in a day. Battling the chronic disease is a lifelong process that gets easier the longer you stay sober and active in recovery. However, in order to stay sober, you need to create a relapse prevention plan for when you experience addiction triggers.

Overall, creating a plan is the best method for avoiding future relapse. But even if a relapse occurs, this does not mean you have failed! When relapse does occur, reach out to a drug rehab center for inpatient or intensive outpatient rehab programs.

What Is a Relapse Prevention Plan?

A relapse prevention plan is part of rehab aftercare programs and provides a course of action that those in addiction recovery can take to avoid relapse. To create a successful relapse prevention plan, you must first complete rehab. During addiction treatment and behavior therapy programs, you’ll learn your individual addiction triggers. Knowing the places, times, and experiences that trigger urges to use is a vital step to creating a successful plan of action.

The Stages of Relapse

The best relapse prevention plan helps you not only identify the stages of relapse but know what to do when they occur. The three stages of relapse include:

1. Emotional Relapse

During an emotional relapse, you start to experience anxiety, depression, and other mood swings. While you aren't thinking about using drugs or alcohol at this point, these symptoms make you more vulnerable to using again. If you're familiar with post-acute withdrawal symptoms, this stage is easier to recognize.

The danger stems from responding to these emotions by self-medicating and withdrawing from your support network. Coping skills can help you deal with emotional triggers in a healthy manner, so you can avoid relapse.

2. Mental Relapse

The second stage is a mental relapse. During this stage, you start thinking or daydreaming about using substances again. You will struggle with the urge to use or not.

This type of thinking ends up at the breaking point of using over staying sober. Overall, using becomes more concrete in your mind as a potentially good decision.

3. Physical Relapse

The last stage is physical relapse. This is when you actually start using drugs or alcohol again if you don't follow your relapse prevention plan. Once you reach this point, it's challenging to stop. You will have to undergo drug detox and certain rehab programs again to get back to sobriety.

How Do You Create a Relapse Prevention Plan?

Creating a relapse prevention plan requires physically writing down or planning a course of action. To start with, you need to write down your triggers. These include places, people, and things that make you feel you need to use drugs again.

Next, you need to create a plan of action for when you experience intense cravings. For example, one option is calling someone you trust or chatting with a substance abuse treatment specialist. Make sure the person you trust supports your decision to overcome these urges.

Additionally, you also need to use the 30-minute rule. In general, drug cravings last about that long. If you can get over this hump, you’re less likely to relapse. Overall, you should come up with things to do for 30 minutes to distract yourself from these cravings.

It's also important to make a list, while sober, of all of the potential consequences relapsing will cause. For example, you could lose your job, ruin relationships, and cause distress to loved ones. Reading these drawbacks motivates you to stay sober and avoid relapse.

Let Us Help You Create a Plan

At San Antonio Recovery Center, we want to do more than just help you overcome addiction. We want to make sure you don't relapse in the future. We can help you identify triggers and create a relapse prevention plan of your own. The other programs we offer include:

  • Aftercare program
  • Residential treatment
  • 90-day treatment program
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy

Don't let addiction control your life for another minute. Reach out to us today and begin your journey to sobriety. Contact us to speak with our friendly staff members by calling 866.957.7885 for more information about our programs.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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