One of the realities of living after addiction is the potential of having a relapse. One way to prevent relapse is by creating a plan. It’s best not to think of it as a sign you will fail at remaining sober. Rather, it’s a way of acknowledging the reality that not everyone gets it right the first time they break free of their addiction. Thus, it’s always good to have a relapse prevention plan to back you up during and after entering a drug rehab center.
Why You Need a Relapse Prevention Plan
Relapse is a possibility when you’re dealing with any chronic disease, and that also holds for addiction. Often people relapse in the first six months of recovery. But it’s a possibility even if you’ve been sober for 20 years. A variety of factors can trigger a relapse. For example, some relapse triggers can include:
- Financial issues
- Experiencing a life-altering event like the death of a friend or family member
- Problems in your relationships
- Being near places or people who were part of your addiction
Experiencing a relapse does not mean that you cannot continue your journey towards being sober. Instead, it’s a bump in the road to recovery. So if you end up in that state, having a relapse prevention plan helps you control the fallout and get you back on the right path. There’s no reason you won’t ultimately be counted as part of the rehab success rates.
The Keys to Building an Effective Relapse Prevention Plan
Don’t worry about trying to get your relapse prevention plan to match a specific style or template. You should build it around your own needs and craft a strategy you will be able to follow. The following elements should be on your mind as you craft your relapse prevention plan.
Reflect on What’s Happened
One of the most effective uses of your time while taking part in an addiction treatment program is to dive into figuring out why you developed a substance abuse disorder. It could be because of past trauma, or because of the stresses of living daily life. Look at your patterns of usage to figure out your potential triggers, so you know what to avoid.
Learn to Recognize the Warning Signs
Document your specific triggers in your relapse prevention plan. You need to develop an awareness of places and people that might tempt you back into using your substance of choice. It could be people who used to enable your addiction or old clubs or bars where you liked to drink yourself to excess. Take note if you find yourself drifting back to your old lifestyle because it seems more appealing than staying sober.
Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenario
Plan out the steps you will follow if you end up relapsing. Include the names of people you can call if you find yourself in trouble in your relapse prevention plan. Make sure they’re trustworthy individuals who will encourage you to get back on track instead of brushing off your troubles. They should be there to encourage you to attend a meeting or readmit yourself to a rehab facility.
Create Realistic Goals for a Healthy Future
Draw up daily, weekly, and monthly goals outlining how you will continue living a healthy and addiction-free life. It could be small things like waking up at a certain time or taking your take your vitamins each morning. Maybe you could make plans to attend a weekly yoga session to relieve stress or take a walk around the block each day to clear your head.
Don’t hesitate to change your relapse prevention plan as you progress through your recovery. Use it to underline your value as a person and how you want to live your life going forward.