Make a Relapse Prevention Plan & Protect Yourself
Anyone that has suffered from drug or alcohol addiction knows that maintaining sobriety is a daily battle and that you will face many challenges as a recovering addict. Consequently, you’ll never be 100% invulnerable to the threat of a relapse, which is why you must do everything you can to protect yourself against this potential outcome. A relapse prevention plan can become the greatest weapon in your arsenal.
Here’s all you need to know about making a relapse prevention plan that truly works for the immediate and long-term battles ahead.
What Is A Relapse Prevention Plan?
A relapse prevention plan is a tool that is used to overcome your demons by identifying personal behaviors that could lead you to relapse as well as finding ways to actively combat those potential problems. It ensures that you take responsibility for your past, present, and future.
Before building a relapse prevention plan, though, it’s vital to understand what leads a person to relapse. In truth, it is very rarely caused by a single moment and is likely to be caused by the following three-stage process:
Emotional Relapse – Linked heavily to Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), the emotional and psychological withdrawals lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, and isolation while also encouraging poor sleep and eating habits. While unlikely to be actively thinking about drugs at this stage, this is the start of a journey back to substance use.
Mental Relapse – Mental relapse involves reminiscing about the people and the activities that surrounded you during the period of addiction. This is an internal mental battle as part of you wants to stay sober while another part is tempted to use substances once more. Unfortunately, you’ll tend to glamorize the past making it even harder to resist unless you create a coping mechanism.
Physical Relapse – A physical relapse is when the temptation gets too much and results in the active use of drugs and alcohol once again. Even if it happens just once, this can be an incredibly dangerous situation to fall into. However, for many, a physical relapse may lead to months of dependence before finally regaining control.
Ultimately, a relapse prevention plan requires putting a strategy in place that will help youtake responsibility to stop the symptoms of emotional and mental relapses leading to physical relapses. From learning how to spot the early warning signs to finding coping mechanisms that work for you, the right tactics will put you in a far less vulnerable position.
It’s great to surround yourself with a supportive network, but being able to actively help yourself is what will keep you on the right road to long-term sobriety. Frankly, that’s something that every recovering addict deserves.
Building Your Relapse Prevention Plan
Understanding the threat of relapsing should provide clarity as to why equipping yourself with a winning strategy is so vital. In truth, the list of benefits is plentiful, and includes;
● Provide yourself with the reassurance that you’ll know how to act if a situation arises
● Give yourself a sense of mental structure and self-control
● Gain confidence from knowing you’ve taken accountability for your actions
● Encourage yourself to avoid negative influences
● Be prepared for the inevitable temptations.
A successful relapse prevention plan will essentially allow you to maintain control over your addictions even when things become difficult. To be truly successful, the plan will need to be tailored to your personality traits and potential weaknesses. Nonetheless, there are a number of crucial issues that should be considered throughout the creation process.
Here are six ways to ensure that your relapse prevention plan is built to work.
#1. Surround Yourself With Positive People
The road to recovery is a personal journey, but that doesn’t mean you have to face it alone. The sooner that you realize help is readily available, the better. Their support can bring light to your world, even at the darkest moments, and it will have a telling impact on your battle against addiction.
Friends and family can often provide that winning support network. However, not every recovering addict finds it easy to open up to their nearest and dearest. The Pomarri Drug Rehab Center is blessed with experts and counselors that can guide you through the tough times. Alternatively, you may find that reaching out to other recovering addicts is the best solution.
One way or another, positivity begets positivity. On a similar note, people that have caused a negative impact in the past are likely to do the same again. You owe it to yourself to stay away from those people. Otherwise, the probability of relapse will significantly increase.
#2. Be Prepared For Change
Changing your life for the better is never easy, and you cannot expect to alter one aspect without consciously paying greater attention to your life as a whole. This is even more evident when fighting a severe issue like alcohol or drug recovery. Therefore, your relapse prevention plan must be far bigger than merely focusing on not doing drugs.
A change of environment can breathe new life into your sobriety, even if those are only a temporary basis. Stepping away from the surroundings that previously dragged you into the situations you’re now trying to avoid is a very logical step, which is why Pomarri is a great place to step back and analyze life and your priorities. Of course, the short-term support is excellent too.
Even if you can’t escape a location altogether, a change of drive and focus can help you lead a more balanced life in which the temptations become greatly reduced. Whether setting career goals, bidding to get fitter, or embracing new hobbies is up to you. If it stops the cravings from surfacing to the forefront of your mind, this can only be a positive outcome.
#3. Invest In Self-Development And Awareness
The more you know, the more you’ll grow. It’s a very simple mantra to remember, and it can play an integral role in your relapse prevention plan. Educating yourself on the subject of relapses as well as your own personal behaviors can only give you a better chance of avoiding future temptations.
You can find a plethora of material from an array of locations including public libraries, group support activities, and online forums. Personal development will involve getting to the source of your cravings and triggers as well as understanding the healthy habits that tend to work best in the battle to stay away from those negative elements.
This proactive approach to the ongoing battle should also leave you feeling in control of the situation. In truth, when you are on top of the addiction, the chances of falling back into the old and troublesome ways become greatly reduced. Investing in your education on the subject will also naturally aid your mindset too.
#4. Focus On Short-Term Goals
The relapse prevention plan is a tool that is designed for lasting results. Nonetheless, the thought of staying sober for life can be a little daunting despite the fact that it is clearly your intention. Sobriety is a marathon, but breaking it into daily milestones transforms everything. Rather than thinking about the finishing line that’s way off in the distance, you can focus on getting to the next checkpoint.
When you think too far ahead, it’s likely that the cravings and triggers will sneak up on you. Taking the challenge one step at a time protects you against those immediate threats while each daily success feeds into the idea of positivity breeding further positivity. From making the process seem less scary to boosting your personal mindset, taking this approach is vital.
Short-term focus also encourages you to spot the symptoms of emotional and mental relapses far sooner, which enables you to take action far sooner. By banishing the demons before they take control, your health will be in a far stronger position.
#5. Appreciate The Positives
Even if your drug taking started out as a recreational habit to enhance leisurely activities, the daily dependence was borne out of unhappiness in life. Whether those perceptions of underachievement were conscious or subconscious, there is no doubt that those elements were integral to the development of your addiction. But this isn’t the only aspect of your world.
Life will never be perfect, and it’s very easy for our minds to focus on the negatives. Training your mind to embrace a more positive outlook on life can have a telling impact. Keep a list of all the things you’re grateful for, and use it to brighten your mood when depression and other symptoms of emotional relapses surface. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it works.
Looking at this list periodically will also help you maintain focus and drive. Sadly, it’s not easy to resist temptations when you feel that there is nothing worth fighting for. By having this list of positive features at your disposal, this no longer has to be an issue.
#6. Make A Record Of Your Action Plan
Putting the foundations of a successful strategy in place is a largely internal matter. After all, only you can truly take responsibility to keep yourself on a positive pathway. Nonetheless, speaking to an addiction recovery counselor may be very useful as you look to cement your plan of action.
A counselor can help discuss everything mentioned above from triggers and symptoms to the coping mechanism and proactive steps that can be taken to keep yourself away from potential trouble. While this is still a personal journey, their experiences will help you understand which ideas are most likely to work or fail.
Vocalizing the elements of the relapse prevention plan can be hugely beneficial while writing them down is also a great solution. If nothing else, this enables you to easily analyze the strategy and make any necessary adjustments that could provide a further source of strength on the road to recovery.
Addiction recovery shouldn’t stop you from living your life or interfere with your career or personal development on a long-term basis. Whatever you do, having a personalized relapse prevention plan in place gives you the best shot at ensuring this won’t happen.
The addition is a significant part of your life, but sobriety is only one aspect of a healthy and happy lifestyle. By building a strategy that tackles the problem directly while additionally supporting your general happiness, you’ll be sure to stay in control of those temptations.
What Happens If I Relapse?
Staying sober is immensely difficult, not least when life throws testing moments at you. Unfortunately, then, even the best intentions and a strong relapse prevention plan might not be enough to steer you clear from future drug abuse. While prevention is the best form of protection, a slip-up needn’t spell the end of your road to recovery.
Whether it’s your first or 21st relapse doesn’t matter. You know that you’re capable of becoming sober once more. You’ve already taken the first step by realizing and accepting that you’ve made a mistake. The next challenge is to get back on track by taking it one day at a time.
Once again, your relapse prevention plan can provide direction and confidence while encouraging you to take accountability too. Take time to analyze your strategy to see whether it was previously flawed. Even the most subtle of changes could make all the difference in your bid to stay sober in the future.
The Final Verdict
The harsh reality of life is that once you’re an addict, you will never truly lose that tag. The threat of relapse will always hang over your head, even after years of sobriety. Therefore, no matter what stage of recovery you’re at, it’s never a bad time to create a relapse prevention plan. After all, keeping your brain focused and in the right frame of mind will establish the foundations for sustained success.
You can do this! And with the right relapse prevention plan in place, your future is a whole lot brighter. If and when required, Pomarri is there to provide that helping hand too.