What is Relapse Prevention?
If you’re wondering how to stop relapsing, a relapse prevention plan may be what you’re missing. No matter if you have been sober for one day or one thousand, recovery requires commitment and a well-thought-out plan.
Even for the strongest among us, a relapse is never fully out of the realm of the possible. Addiction is a chronic disease, and while freeing yourself of its grasp is possible, you may still feel its presence.
A relapse prevention plan is a personalized plan of action that helps you remain committed to your recovery goals. Everyone’s recovery plan is different. But there are plenty of guidelines you can follow to get started on yours.
Creating a Personalized Relapse Prevention Plan
In a relapse prevention plan, you list out things that are meaningful to you, like why you want to become sober and how it affects those around you, as well as your goals and alternatives to drug or alcohol abuse.
Your “why,” may be a child, parent, or spouse. It may be your health or your future. It can be any number of things, but no matter what your whys or your goals for recovery are, it is important to have them in your relapse prevention plan.
A relapse prevention plan will help you identify and reduce the risks that are associated with relapse. Having clear goals and milestones, building healthy habits and coping mechanisms, and remember why you started on this journey can help keep you focused.
Relapse Prevention Strategies
There are many different strategies for preventing relapse. Some of them involve exercise or meditation, some involve creative activities and therapies, and others involve holistic remedies that benefit your body and mind.
Different activities work for different people. But one thing we recommend across the board is remaining properly hydrated, getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night, and exercising regularly.
Understanding your relapse prevention options is the first step in creating a comprehensive plan to move forward with.
How Do Coping Strategies Help Clients Prevent Relapse?
Different coping strategies can help you work toward different goals. Some may help ease stress and anxiety so that you can focus on healthier coping mechanisms. Managing stress is a big part of managing sobriety.
Research tells us that stress cues are among the top two relapse triggers. Therefore, managing your stress level is crucial to your success. Stress is an inevitable reality of life, but we do not have to give in to its influence.
Some of the most common relapse prevention strategies are effective because they help reduce stress and other negative emotions. Some others may help slow your racing thoughts so that you can maintain your focus, another necessity for long-term sobriety.
What Are the Easiest Methods of Relapse Prevention?
Exercise, adequate water intake, and appropriate amounts of sleep will help your body and mind achieve the right balance. Exercise boosts endorphins, feel-good chemicals that make you feel happier and calmer naturally.
It also reduces stress, improves mood, boosts physical and mental health, decreases fatigue, increases concentration, and improves cognitive function and self-esteem. With such a long list of physical and mental health benefits, it’s no surprise that those who engage in regular exercise are less likely to use and abuse illicit drugs.
When you feel happy and healthy, you are far less likely to choose drugs and alcohol over yourself, your loved ones, or your daily responsibilities. Avoiding relapse involves building healthy routines and promoting the right state of mind.
Anyone can do it. No matter where you are starting from, we can help you build to where you need to be. We will work together to create a personalized relapse prevention plan that fits your unique addiction, goals, needs, and schedule.
Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention
One of the most common activities in mindfulness-based relapse prevention is meditation. This is a powerful exercise, as it promotes overall emotional wellness. Meditation often makes you feel calmer and more relaxed.
In addiction recovery, these positive feelings are necessities rather than luxuries. Considering that anxiety, fear, and stress are common relapse triggers, any activity that helps us overcome these negative emotions can be helpful.
Recently, studies have shown that meditation can help:
- Slow down racing thoughts.
- Reduce feelings of depression, stress, and anxiety.
- Improve concentration.
- Boost overall mood.
Meditating can help you overcome drug or alcohol cravings and the symptoms of mental health disorders that often co-occur with addiction. That’s an impressive list of benefits for one activity, which is why many addiction treatment programs include meditation in their activity roster.
Yoga sessions, exercise classes, walking and hiking, tennis, and similar activities are other frequent visitors on the list.
Creative Activities and Therapies for Relapse Prevention
Creative activities are effective methods for reducing feelings of depression and stress. Since these are two common relapse triggers, most addiction treatment facilities offer creative therapies or encourage creative activities.
Stress and depression occur more often among the addicted or chronically ill than in other demographics. Activities that reduce stress, anxiety, and depression are often also used in nursing homes, physical rehabilitation centers, and long-term hospitalization settings or hospice centers.
Whether you practice these activities in the comfort of our facility or your living room, the benefits are clear. Some of the most common include:
- Music therapy.
- Art therapy.
- Coloring, sketching, or painting.
- Journaling or other expressive writing.
These activities do not always have to be formally structured. You can practice music therapy by learning a musical instrument or creating a playlist that soothes you. You can practice expressive writing by keeping a journal or answering writing prompts.
Complete a sketch or color-by-number activity book while watching a movie or host a paint night with sober friends or family members. Your options for creative activities are not limited to those listed above.
You can also choose another creative activity that helps you feel calmer or more centered. Reading a book, working on a puzzle, completing crosswords, or crafting are other helpful options.
Relapse Prevention Therapy
Relapse prevention is a crucial part of any addiction treatment program. There is no one-size-fits-all relapse prevention plan template. But there are plenty of methods that we know work well. These methods may focus on your mind, body, or both.
We have discussed many different methods for relapse prevention, but there is one that we have not covered yet. Our therapeutic techniques and meetings give you the space, guidance, and attention you need to focus on improving your mental health.
Behavioral therapies, for example, help you evaluate and understand damaging thought patterns and behaviors. The better you understand these things, the easier it becomes to replace them.
From behavioral therapies and support groups to exercise and meditation, everything we do here is to help you avoid relapse. Building healthy habits, routines, and coping mechanisms starts here.
Circle of Hope: Ready to Help with Relapse Prevention
Recovery and relapse do not live exclusive lives. Most in recovery know that relapse is a very real possibility. But what’s more important is to know that it doesn’t have to be. A relapse prevention plan helps you avoid falling back into old and unhealthy behaviors.
It outlines your unique triggers and reminds you of the best coping mechanisms to avoid them. There are many different ways to prevent future relapses. It’s time to let us help you find them. Call Circle of Hope at 818-392-5259 for more information.