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Being Prepared—The Relapse Prevention Plan

Relapse is part of recovery but it doesn’t always have to be part of your story. Being prepared with a relapse prevention plan will help guide you through those difficult times when the cravings are strong. Relapse is not necessarily a one-time event but more of a gradual process. The stages of relapse can begin a few weeks before the physical relapse. They normally come in three stages:

1. Emotional: This is when strong negative emotions take hold and initiate the relapse process.

2. Mental: This is when thoughts about using bubble up.

3. Physical: This is when we physically use the drug.

While it’s important to define and understand each stage, let’s focus on the relapse prevention plan here. Before you leave treatment, you should have a solid plan for dealing with triggers and warning signs. This is vital in maintaining your sobriety. When you feel like you’re dealing with urges, here are some useful techniques to help you through this period:

1. Play the tape through. Urges to use can be overwhelming. When this happens, stop and breathe for a moment and play the tape through. This means visualizing that one drink and the next and the next one after that. Think about the feelings of regret and guilt. Do you really want to relive the past?

2. Call someone. If you are having cravings, reach out to your sponsor, a friend, or someone else you trust. Be honest and share with them your feelings and thoughts about using. Talking about it will help reduce the feelings of wanting to use.

3. Distract yourself for 30 minutes. Do something to keep your mind off using, such as going to a meeting, going for a walk, or doing some exercise. Focusing on something else will reduce cravings. It’s said each craving will normally last up to 20 minutes, so distract yourself for 30. It will pass.

5. Try a relaxation exercise. When anxiety is high, it can be difficult to try and relax. Relaxation for recovering addicts is something we have to learn and practice. Put together a list of relaxation techniques so that you have a few to choose from, such as: taking a bath, going for a walk, or meditating.

We cannot stress enough the importance of having a toolbox of techniques to help you through these difficult times. Remember you are never alone and ALWAYS reach out to someone if you are having thoughts or feelings about using. We want to see you succeed in your recovery. Our counselors will work to prepare a relapse prevention plan tailored to you. Call our team today and let’s change your tomorrow.

Villa Tranquil Recovery stands as a new staple in the women’s treatment community, offering gender-specific services for women between the ages of 18-65. Our beautiful home in Jupiter Farms, Florida provides a transitional living opportunity for women to continue their treatment process while regaining the skills they need to thrive in sobriety. Owned and operated by clinicians, we offer exceptional care so women can build exceptional lives of recovery. Call us today for information 214-799-3080.