Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process of which the potential for relapse is a genuine possibility. Following successful addiction treatment, you must prepare to face the challenges of everyday life without resorting to old patterns of behavior that can lead to relapse. A successful addiction treatment program will include relapse prevention therapy. Along with individual therapy, group therapy is an integral part of relapse prevention therapy. A strong support network is crucial in maintaining sobriety, and group therapy can provide the necessary peer support.
At Spokane Falls Recovery Center, we know that relapse prevention therapy and having an individualized relapse prevention plan are essential to the recovery process. To learn more about the vital role of group therapy in relapse prevention, contact us at 844.962.2775.
Does a Relapse Prevention Plan Prevent Relapse?
There is no denying that relapse is relatively common, especially within the first year of sobriety. Relapse rates vary by factors like drug of choice, stage of disease, and co-occurring disorders. Research indicates that relapse rates across all substance use disorders are between 40-60%, with alcohol and opioids having the highest relapse rates.
Many who relapse experience feelings of shame, guilt, failure, and embarrassment that prevent them from reaching out for help right away. However, relapse does not mean that recovery is unattainable but is more an indication that a person has fallen back into old thinking patterns and needs support to get back on track.
Much like addiction, relapse does not happen overnight but rather is an observable and preventable progression of events that involves three distinct phases:
- Emotional relapse – While not yet thinking about using alcohol or drugs, individuals in this phase begin to engage in behaviors that could lead to relapse. For instance, these actions may include not participating in support groups, isolating, and not relying on new coping mechanisms.
- Mental relapse – Individuals start to romanticize the times they were using without remembering the negative consequences. They start reaching out to old friends or revisiting places they used to use. They experience cravings and fantasize about using.
- Physical relapse – Individuals have actively used their drug of choice.
By being aware of the possibility for relapse, paying attention to the warning signs, and adhering to a relapse prevention plan, it is possible to safeguard against relapse. Staying alert to potential triggers for relapse is vital, as there is a significant risk for overdose or death, especially with opioids and alcohol.
Using a Relapse Prevention Plan to Avoid Relapse
A relapse prevention plan is a written plan you create with your treatment team before leaving your addiction treatment program. The plan’s goal is to help you remember to rely on new coping strategies. Furthermore, you can avoid triggers, recognize the signs of relapse, and prevent returning to drug or alcohol use. A relapse prevention plan should be a flexible document that can change and evolve as you do.
Relapse prevention plans are based on individual needs and circumstances; therefore, each will look slightly different. However, a strong plan should include a few crucial elements such as:
- Goals for maintaining a healthy lifestyle
- A list of reasons you quit using
- A schedule for 12-step meetings and other support groups
- Time for reflection, mindfulness, and self-assessment
- A plan for dealing with cravings and temptations
- Contacts for your sober support network
- People who know your plan
At Spokane Falls Recovery Center, we know that you cannot prevent regular day-to-day stressors. However, you can develop healthy coping mechanisms that can stop you from turning to your substance of choice during times of stress. A strong relapse prevention plan is an essential tool, especially in the early stages of recovery.
Contact Spokane Falls Recovery Center to Learn More
At Spokane Falls Recovery Center, we will provide you with the tools you need to recover. Through these tools, you can maintain a lifetime of recovery, including a relapse prevention plan. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable, and you will face experiences that challenge your sobriety. During difficult times, relying on your relapse prevention plan can help get you through. For more information on relapse prevention, contact us today by using our online form or calling 844.962.2775.