For anyone going through recovery, a relapse prevention strategy is essential. A plan allows you to identify the potential triggers for relapse and how to avoid them. It also contains ways to get back on your feet and combat these habits.

Most commonly, a relapse programs/relapse prevention Plan is a written document that someone creates with their treatment group and shares with their support team. The plan helps you to identify triggers and cravings.

Relapse isn’t usually an event that happens in a flash. It is typically a three-part process.

  • Emotional Relapse
  • Mental relapse
  • Relapse in physical health

You can recognize and address certain emotions and events through a relapse prevention plan. In turn, you will avoid a physical fall (which is when someone goes back to drug or alcohol abuse).

Steps In Creating A Relapse Prevention Plan

You can create your relapse prevention plan, but it’s better to talk with someone knowledgeable about the topic such as a substance abuse counselor. Written relapse plans are also possible. This will give you a better idea of what to do in case there is a relapse.

When creating a relapse prevention strategy, you must take into consideration the following.

1. Evaluate Your History With Drugs & Alcohol

There are a few things you need to know when creating a relapse prevention strategy.

  • Is there a specific time when you were more susceptible to substance abuse?
  • What particular people were involved in the times you used?
  • What are your most likely thought patterns to use?
  • Why did your relapse occur before?
  • To prevent future relapses, it is essential that you determine the cause.

2. Find Out If Any Warning Signs Could Lead To A Relapse

List the warning signs that could lead you to relapse. A relapse can lead to people feeling, thinking, or acting differently.

To help someone understand why they are relapsing, it is helpful to create a list. To prevent relapse, the patient can share the list with their treatment team.

3. Set Up An Action Plan

You can create a relapse preventive action plan that will show you what to do, instead of resorting to alcohol and drugs. To put it another way, you can find other ways to deal with your anger and frustration, for example, if you have just broken up. Instead of resorting to drinking and using, consider attending a support meeting or calling a friend. A more detailed action plan will help you to avoid a relapse.

Be clear about who you’ll call first and what questions they will ask. Also, consider whether or not you will return to rehab or attend a meeting. A detailed plan will make it easier to get back on track. If you require their assistance, ensure they have all the information necessary to make your plan work.

Relapse Prevention Plan Template

Relapse prevention plans are individual to each person, but some components can be useful to include in a final program.

1. Triggers

First, identify the people and places that are likely to trigger a relapse. Relapse Triggers include anything that could lead you to drink again or use drugs. It is not possible to list all triggers. In some cases, it may be impossible to identify a trigger once it has occurred. The following questions may help identify triggers.

  • Who could I find that would remind you of drug use
  • Where was it that I could get high from drugs?
  • What addictive thoughts can lead me to relapse
  • What can you do if triggers keep me from doing things?
  • What triggers relapse after anniversaries, or other events?
  • What are your feelings about relapse?

2. How To Manage Cravings

The phrase cravings describe the feeling an individual has when they feel the need to use again. A relapse can sometimes result from cravings. But if you have a solid plan for dealing with such cravings, a rebound will not be an issue.

Create a list to help you remember who you can reach if you are experiencing cravings. You will need to know what you can use to distract yourself from them and how you can stop them altogether. Substance abuse is a bad coping skill. Healthy coping skills will stop relapses and help you achieve long-term positive outcomes.

3. Preventive Tools

A list of tools that can help you avoid relapse should be compiled. Look at what you can do rather than use and how such activities could help you get on the right path. You can think of these tools as:

  • Continued programs and support via online rehab
  • Make a list if you fall into relapse.
  • Attending a support group
  • Exercising
  • Journaling
  • A gratitude list

People can be helpful tools for prevention. You can reduce cravings, relapse, and stress by reaching out to supportive friends.