Going through addiction recovery presents many challenges, including avoiding relapse after the process. During treatment, relapse prevention therapy offers many methods for patients to avoid substance use when they leave the program. However, regular reminders of relapse prevention techniques and practicing them are also important, which patients may get through continuing help from an alumni program or another support system. At Baltimore Detox Center, our team firmly believes that relapse prevention therapy prepares people for long-lasting recovery. Also, we have composed a list of a few effective relapse prevention techniques.
5 Helpful Relapse Prevention Techniques
Create a Self-Care Plan
Relapse can happen in one of three ways – emotional, mental, and physical. The first happens when the individual does not handle feelings that triggered substance use appropriately. For instance, feeling bored, tired, angry, depressed, or frustrated with a situation could lead to drug or alcohol use. Therefore, a self-care plan should include ways to prevent these feelings and deal with them appropriately.
Self-care can include several of the following ways to improve physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing:
- Getting adequate sleep to prevent feeling tired
- Taking up a hobby to avoid boredom
- Eating well to avoid fatigue
- Exercising to release stress
- Maintaining hygiene to prevent depression
The self-care plan will look different for everyone. Therefore, individuals who create these need to work with a therapist in a relapse prevention program to identify steps that will work for them.
2. Identify Triggering Events, Situations, or People
Individuals can also prevent relapse by identifying situations, events, or people that may trigger their substance use. For example, some people may have a history of only using substances with a specific group of friends or drinking at parties. Recognizing these triggers is one way to help with staying sober for life.
The other part of identifying triggers is planning on how to respond to them. Avoiding the situations may be one choice. However, individuals also need to know what to do if they cannot avoid those triggering events, situations, or people. During relapse prevention, a therapist can help with discussing ways to handle triggers. A group therapy support program can also provide help by getting input from others with similar issues in staying sober both during and after recovery.
3. Plan Alternative Activities for Staying Sober at Holidays and Parties
To avoid triggering situations, relapse prevention techniques should include finding alternatives to these. For instance, instead of going to a bar after work, the individual could find a sober partner and go to a bowling alley or the movies.
During the holidays, those working to stay sober can bring their own alcohol-free drinks to events and avoid parties where they know drug use may occur.
4. Recognize Signs of an Addiction Returning
Another relapse prevention technique those after recovery may need is recognizing signs of emotional, mental, and physical relapse. Emotional relapse happens when the same emotions that led to substance use return. Mental relapse happens when thoughts of drug or alcohol use emerge. If the individual cannot combat these cravings or thoughts of substance use, they may go onto physical relapse, which is using drugs or alcohol again.
Those in recovery should let their friends and family know about these signs of relapse, too. Their loved ones can inform them of when to get help or return to a substance abuse treatment program.
5. Choose Reliable People When Temptations Arise
Individuals in recovery need to know who to talk to when they face temptations. Plus, they need to know where to go if they experience a relapse. The need for relapse does not mean that recovery failed. In fact, staying sober is a lifelong effort that is not a straight path. Sometimes, slips back into old addictions may happen. However, with support, those slips can be reversed.
Maintain Your Recovery with Relapse Prevention Techniques from Baltimore Detox Center
Completing an addiction recovery program is not the end of the journey. Staying sober requires lifelong work and regularly practicing relapse prevention techniques. For those who need substance abuse treatment or need extra support for maintaining sobriety, connect with us at Baltimore Detox Center.
Call our facility at 833.714.1575 or complete the contact form on our website. With help from our recovery and addiction recovery alumni programs, our patients get the support they need during and after their stay with us.