Successfully completing a recovery program is a significant accomplishment in itself. Those who do so are equipped to meet the challenges they will likely face as they move forward on their recovery journey, as the program undoubtedly provided the needed skills and techniques that will help prepare them. One of the most invaluable tools for succeeding in recovery is the development of a relapse prevention plan, strategies that are customized for each person’s unique recovery needs.
Crafting an effective relapse prevention plan depends heavily on self-awareness and honesty as you identify the specific triggers that could present formidable obstacles when forging ahead in recovery. While crafting a formal plan is essential to anticipating and planning for possible potholes on the road to recovery, becoming well versed in real-time relapse prevention techniques is even more critical to success.
Relapse prevention techniques encompass a set of actions that can be taken prior to getting to the point when a relapse is on the horizon. These are the proactive steps that can be included in daily life to help maintain stability in recovery while warding off potential threats.
How to Incorporate Relapse a Prevention Plan into Daily Life
One of the reasons a recovery program is so valuable is that it offers the individual the time to become clearheaded and stable following the cessation of substance use. During the rehabilitation period, various treatment-related activities, such as psychotherapy, family therapy, group therapy, and 12-step programming, assist the person in gaining fresh insights and new coping skills that can lead to positive fundamental change. These efforts lay the foundation for a successful and sustained recovery.
To maintain this positive mindset once the program is completed, recovery must take priority in daily life. To that end, any actions that are taken to reinforce recovery, such as adopting a healthy lifestyle, need to be supplemented with a commitment to relapse prevention. Recovery success not only involves restorative activities, such as eating a healthy diet, getting quality sleep, and exercising regularly, but it also relies heavily on taking preventative measures to further protect sobriety.
Effective relapse prevention plan techniques include:
- Prioritizing recovery. Each day provides an opportunity to put into action your commitment to recovery. This means that every decision made should be run through the recovery filter—asking yourself if this or that activity supports recovery or hurts recovery—before acting on it. Every action taken on a daily basis should be supportive of recovery goals.
- Continuing outpatient therapy. Maintaining a connection to an objective source of support and guidance, as with a psychotherapist, is essential in early recovery. Regular outpatient therapy sessions provide an outlet for communicating concerns, emotions, or recent struggles that can then be worked through. Therapy obtained in both individual and group settings is optimal for accessing maximum therapeutic support during the recovery process.
- Participating in a recovery community. Attending recovery meetings has been found to be a protective factor for individuals in substance use recovery. These gatherings provide the important peer support piece within a safe, caring space. In addition, recovery communities offer opportunities to establish new sober friendships, and to gain the support of a sponsor.
- Considering a sober living home. Not everyone has a supportive home life to return to following treatment. Sober houses provide supportive transitional housing that allows the individual to further stabilize in their recovery before returning to their home community. Not only does sober living housing offer a substance-free environment, but provides a structured setting that helps to reestablish a healthy daily routine.
- Avoiding known risks. While still in treatment, central to creating a relapse prevention plan was taking an honest look at the people, places, or situations that could place recovery in jeopardy. Acknowledging those risks and making a concerted effort to avoid anything that could place your recovery in danger, is intrinsic to recovery success.
- Managing stress. Regulating stress is among the top actions you can take to avoid succumbing to relapse. Stress is a known risk factor for undermining recovery and therefore must be managed to avoid the temptation to self-medicate with a substance. Some techniques for managing stress include practicing yoga, mindfulness meditation, therapeutic massage, gardening, engaging in volunteer activities, and getting regular exercise.
- Defining purpose. Following treatment, it is common for people to experience feeling lost and rudderless, at least in the early months of recovery. Finding renewed purpose in life is essential, as this helps you define new goals, build self-confidence, and lift your self-esteem. Set both short-term and long-term goals and then define the steps that will allow you to succeed in reaching them.
Preventing a relapse should be approached just as seriously as was your initial commitment to discontinuing substance use. Remember that relapse prevention efforts are intrinsic to recovery success and should be woven into daily life.
Ashley Addiction Treatment believes that connection is vital to a successful recovery, with treatment options focused on holistic, integrated, and compassionate care. Ashley utilizes a variety of treatment modalities to support the healing process. If you would like to speak to someone about our care options, please reach out to us today at 800-799-4673.