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Addiction Recovery Blog

Building a Relapse Prevention Plan: Part 1

It takes a great deal of time and effort to overcome a drug dependence and cope with withdrawal symptoms. Once you’ve been abstinent from drugs or alcohol for a while, relapse is always a possibility. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40% to 60% of those who were previously addicted to drugs will relapse, and it’s critical to get a prevention plan in place that makes sense for you. While the threat of relapse episodes can be nerve-racking, a relapse prevention plan can reduce risk and put you at ease. Here’s what you need to do before you build a relapse prevention plan. 

Understand the Stages of Relapse

Relapse may begin weeks or even months before you use drugs again. It usually happens in three phases: emotional, mental, and physical. During emotional relapse, you isolate yourself and hold in your emotions. While you may not be thinking about drug use, your thoughts and behaviors may steer you toward it. 

In mental relapse, you fight a battle with yourself. On one hand, you want to go back to the drug but on the other hand, you don’t. You start to think about the good times you had when you were using the drug and plan to use it again. Physical relapse is when you actually start using the drug again. You may take one pill at first and eventually return to regular use.

Be Aware of Your Triggers

There are specific people, places, and situations which may motivate you to use drugs again. Since your triggers are unique, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with them. Once you do, try to avoid them as much as possible. Several of the most common relapse triggers include withdrawal symptoms, poor relationships, stress, loneliness, and visiting places where you used to use drugs. 

Write Down Your Reasons for Quitting

Take the time to think about why you quit in the first place, and remember the process you took to get sober. Maybe drugs impacted your health, interfered with your career, or damaged your relationships. Or perhaps they forced you to say and do embarrassing or hurtful things. Jot down all of your reasons for quitting and put your list somewhere you look at frequently like your fridge or mirror. When you have the urge to use, look at the list to remind yourself why you decided to recover. 

Seek Professional Help

Recovering from drugs and avoiding relapse requires professional support. Find a local recovery center and take advantage of all its resources, whether that’s here at Footprints of elsewhere. If you try to DIY it and quit cold turkey, your chances of long-term success can be reduced. Professionals can educate you on coping skills and help you deal with any negative thoughts that may persuade you to relapse and go back to square one.

Contact Footprints Beachside Recovery Center

At Footprints Beachside Recovery Center, we are here to help you with drug recovery and relapse. You can count on us to build a relapse prevention plan that is ideal for your unique situation.  Contact us today.

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(727) 954-3908