So, What is a Relapse Prevention Plan Anyway?
Anyone that starts addiction treatment needs a relapse prevention plan. It is one of the best ways to overcome addiction for the long run. A relapse prevention plan is a set of strategies that you can use before, during, and after a period of sobriety. Plans are designed to help you identify triggers and develop skills to avoid relapse. This is not a “treatment,” but it is a way to help people manage their recovery.
What is Relapse Prevention?
Relapse prevention is a plan to stop substance use relapses after starting treatment. Addiction may not be curable and people who successfully stop their addictive behavior may start again. This is why having a relapse plan is important. It is used to stop them from going back to addiction behaviors and maintain their sobriety. Relapse prevention can take many forms. The key is identifying triggers and reacting quickly. Some relapse prevention actions include:
- Seeing a counselor, therapist, or sponsor
- Participating in group therapy
- Avoiding behavior triggers
- Journaling to process emotions
- Building a support network
What is a Relapse Prevention Plan?
Some people mistakenly think that relapse prevention just means being prepared so you can use a strategy if you’re faced with a craving. But relapse prevention is a lot more than that. A relapse prevention plan is a way of determining the person’s risk of relapse and what they can do to reduce it. It is the process of identifying and reducing the risks for relapse. It also includes developing coping strategies and acquiring new skills to deal with the illness or addiction.
The Importance of a Relapse Prevention Plan
Once you leave addiction treatment, one thing is for sure. Life will continue to throw curveballs at you. You may lose your job, get into a car accident, or break up with your significant other. These situations are stressful. It is possible that someone who completed treatment will relapse if they don’t think about creating a relapse prevention plan. The causes could be anything from a series of life circumstances or stress. As a result, it is important to develop a relapse prevention plan. When it comes to relapse prevention plans, the person going through addiction treatment should be responsible for developing their own plan. The treatment center can help patients start their relapse prevention plans. However, it is important that you have a say in your own relapse prevention plan. You are the one that will need to implement and follow it.
Benefits of a Relapse Prevention Plan
Relapse prevention plans can help people recovering from addiction in several ways. Perhaps the most important benefit of having a relapse prevention plan is that it lowers your chances of relapsing. Every relapse can set a person back in their recovery by years and can be life-threatening in some cases. Being able to minimize the chances of relapsing reduces a person’s chances of experiencing major health problems. Another benefit is that most relapse prevention plans involve getting semi-professional or professional help. For example, psychotherapy connects patients with certified counselors that they see several times per week. Getting help regularly can improve more than just prevent relapse. Overall mental health improvements usually follow and lead to further growth and development.
For this strategy to be effective, it must include a way of identifying triggers. Triggers are events that influence specific behaviors. For example, seeing people smoking could trigger someone to smoke. By identifying triggers, you can plan ways of overcoming them or responding when they happen. Some common triggers for substance abuse and addiction include:
- Stress, anxiety, and anger
- Other people the use
- Drug-related items
- Relationships that encourage drug or alcohol use
- Financial troubles
Coping skills are methods of managing stress and other emotions that lead to relapse. Recovering from addiction can require major changes in how a person lives. Coping skills help that person adjust and maintain better mental health so that they are not pressured to relapse.
Addiction recovery is a long-term process. Recovery can include short-term methods of treatment, but a long-term method of treatment is needed to prevent relapses. Without ongoing treatment like 12-step meetings, people struggling with addiction are far more likely to go back to problem behaviors.
How to Deal with Cravings
Relapse is an ongoing process that doesn’t last forever and it can happen even if you do everything right. Using all your tools consistently takes time and practice before they become habits. During this time, cravings may happen regularly. Relying on relapse prevention methods can be an effective way to resist cravings. Sometimes, having a plan in place makes it easier to get help to resist cravings. Recovering from addiction can be easier with a proven plan in place. Above all, preventing relapses means preventing situations where you need to start your recovery over again from the beginning. You can get help setting up your relapse prevention plan by contacting Harmony Healing Center.