For anyone affected by drug or alcohol addiction, the chance of relapsing is part of the recovery process. In fact, many people who have gone through treatment will relapse at one time or another. But this does not mean that such an event is inevitable. By creating a solid relapse prevention program, you reduce the odds that you will run into problems. A well-designed plan can also help you recover your sobriety should a relapse happen.
A relapse occurs when you return to drinking or drug use after establishing substance abstinence. As a rule, you don’t go from abstinence to substance use all at once. Instead, according to the modern relapse definition, the process plays out in the following phases or stages:
- The emotional stage
- The mental stage
- The physical stage
You don’t actively consider using drugs or alcohol in the emotional stage. Nevertheless, you start isolating yourself, stifling your emotions, or doing other things that increase your relapse risks.
In the mental stage of relapse, you start thinking about drinking or taking drugs. Many times, this involves taking a nostalgic view on past substance use. However, these thoughts don’t go entirely unchallenged at the same time. Instead, you go back and forth between thoughts of using and not using drugs or alcohol.
The third stage of relapse begins when you actually drink or take a drug. This may be a one-time event. But all too often, it’s the beginning of a full return to substance use.
Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan
If possible, you should start putting your relapse prevention plan together while still in treatment. However, you can also create an effective plan after treatment ends. In either case, seek advice from your doctor or addiction specialist. These professionals are trained in relapse prevention and recovery. Their advice will help ensure that your relapse prevention strategy has the desired results.
Elements of an Effective Relapse Prevention Strategy
An effective relapse prevention plan typically includes certain key elements. Knowledge and recognition of the three stages of relapse are crucial. Other critical factors include:
- Knowing what is most likely to trigger your drug or alcohol urges
- Finding practical ways to avoid those triggers
- Having options for coping with substance triggers you can’t avoid
- Following a daily self-care routine that supports your well-being
- Developing a network of friends or peers who can help in times of crisis
- Celebrating your success when you reach sobriety milestones
It’s also imperative that you seek professional help when you feel an impending relapse.
Coping With Relapse
No relapse prevention plan is fully guaranteed to work. This is why coping with a relapse is so important. You must understand that a relapse does not mean failure. It’s also essential to know that the best possible response to relapse is to renew your sobriety efforts. All addiction specialists are well-prepared to support you in returning to abstinence. With their help, you can stop a short-term relapse from snowballing back into heavy, regular substance use.
Create a Relapse Prevention Plan With Help From Women’s Recovery
Need help developing a suitable relapse prevention plan? The experts at Women’s Recovery are ready to assist you. We specialize in the treatment of substance problems affecting women.
While enrolled in our programs, you receive customized help creating an effective plan. At all times, we pay particular attention to the issues most common among women in recovery. We also pay close attention to the details of your unique personal situation. And if a relapse should occur, Women’s Recovery will help you restore your sobriety as soon as possible.
Call us today at 833.754.0554 or fill out our brief online form for more information.