woman in a sunny field thinking about relapse prevention techniques

Relapse Prevention Techniques

Relapse prevention techniques can be the difference between a successful recovery and repeated failure. These strategies stop relapses before they start by refocusing the mind, avoiding pitfalls, and relying on others for support. Continue reading for some of our favorite methods to reduce the likelihood of relapse.


One of the most effective relapse prevention techniques is a distraction. Distraction comes in two forms. First, it refers to the immediate distractions we place at the front of our minds to blunt the impact of our cravings. Second, it refers to the things, people, and activities we fill our lives with to replace our substance use. Of the two kinds of distractions, the latter is by far the most important.

For immediate and powerful cravings substance users require immediate and powerful distractions. But different things work for different people. Some do housework or other repetitive tasks. Others focus on mindfulness meditation or yoga. The exact activity doesn’t matter so much as its ability to take one’s mind off of the craving and onto something less harmful.

The more long-term distractions are, in essence, life. During active addiction, a user is consumed with getting and using their drug of choice. Consequently, everything else falls by the wayside. If a user subsequently gets clean and removes the pursuit of substances from their daily life, a large gap is created. Boredom ensues.

The user must fill that gap with the activities and people of normal life. Therefore, children, friends, work, and play must all be substituted for drug use. By focusing on their everyday activities, users find it easier to keep their minds from wandering to substance use.


Sometimes, one of the more difficult relapse prevention techniques to implement is avoidance. Every user has relapse triggers. There are people, places, and things that trigger craving in every user. Therefore, since willpower is a finite resource, a user should take care to avoid their triggers for relapse. Whether that’s a particular street in their city or a certain old friend, these triggers cannot be resisted forever. Avoiding them in the first place is the best way to guarantee sobriety.

Support Groups and Relapse Prevention Techniques

There is no substitute for the support of others. The people in our lives want to see us get better and they’re there to help when we need them. Similarly, the professionals we rely on for treatment and the sponsors who walk with us can be of tremendous assistance. Helpful people are myriad and everywhere. They include:

  • Family members
  • Sober friends
  • Religious authorities
  • Sponsors
  • Medical professionals
  • Counselors

Taking a single moment to reach out to one of these people can be the difference between a relapse and another successful day of sobriety.

We Want to Help

At San Antonio Recovery Center in the heart of Texas, we want to help. We know how hard it is to resist slips and relapses. That’s why we rely on a wide variety of affordable treatment programs and methods to care for the whole person, rather than a single disorder. We offer:

If you or your loved one are trying their best to stay sober but your relapse prevention techniques need some polishing, call us at 866.957.7885. We can help you develop the tools you need to maintain your sobriety.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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