A relapse prevention plan is a written document that you and your counselors collaborate on to guide you through the rehab process so that you are assured of the best chances of successfully recovering from addiction. There are three stages of relapsing: emotional, mental, and physical. Relapse prevention therapy provides essential guidance as you face stress and triggers of relapse. By having a plan in place, you are prepared for what lies ahead.
Relapse Prevention Planning
You need first to assess your substance abuse history. What are the events or moments when you can pinpoint where the addiction began? Many people have a genetic history of addiction. There may not be a single moment, but rather the ready availability of alcohol or drugs while growing up may be the initial trigger that got you using in the first place. Your alcohol and drug use may have started out as teen drinking or pot smoking and escalated through the years. Not everyone who drinks at a high school party becomes an addict. Still, those who are susceptible to certain behaviors may find themselves drinking alone or going out to score drugs after the party has ended. A relapse prevention plan should be:
You then need to determine what kind of triggers can cause you to relapse. There may be warning signs you are aware of, and it is important to share those with your counselors and therapists so they can help you learn different ways to combat the urge to return to using. A plan of action must be put in place so you know exactly what to do when you feel like you cannot maintain your sobriety. You will need to have the phone numbers of people to call who can offer emotional support and provide assistance in getting you to attend a group meeting or get some counseling before you backtrack into drinking or trying to score some pills. The more detailed the plan is, the better you will be prepared to avoid temptation and stay sober.
The 3 Stages of Relapse
- Emotional Relapse: This stage subtly appears without always fully making you aware that you may be slipping back into using alcohol or drugs. You notice a change, but there is no red flag moment that makes you realize that you need help. If you may begin feeling anxious or a little lost. If you do not share these feelings with someone you can trust, they may increase in intensity, and the situation can develop into a relapse. It is vital not to isolate yourself at this time, no matter how sad and confused it makes you feel. Get in touch with someone. There is no time to waste.
- Mental Relapse: In this stage, thoughts of using drugs and alcohol are likely to enter your mind. It is not just an anxious feeling. You make excuses why having one drink or taking a pill to take the edge off isn’t going to make you relapse. You try to convince yourself that everything is alright. What would your counselors or friends say? Talk to them and let them help you. Being all alone with negative thoughts invading your head is not going to end well.
- Physical Relapse: This is the stage where you begin using again. You could not stop the voice in your head telling you that you can handle it, that a little bit is not going to make you an addict again. If you don’t seek treatment at this point, you are most likely headed toward a full relapse.
Having a plan in place can make all the difference. We are with you for the entire journey of your recovery and are invested in your continuing success. We can be reached online or at 855.476.0078 for you to take the first step on your journey to wellness and recovery.