Relapse prevention plans are crucial to the sustainable success of any given recovery journey, empowering those in recovery to maintain their sobriety and the changes made in daily life. Slips and relapse are constant stresses for those in recovery, regardless of their stage of treatment, with those just beginning a detox program to those celebrating another sober year as an alumnus benefitting from a dedicated plan to prevent relapse. However, knowing the elements of an effective relapse plan is essential to ensuring its efficacy, and Hawaii Island Recovery’s dedicated Hawaii rehabilitation can help you plan for a sustainable sober future.
The Importance of a Relapse Prevention Plan
Each recovery journey will be unique, with each individual having personal challenges to overcome and a unique story with drugs and alcohol. However, nobody is immune to slips or relapse. Having a set of strategies to navigate stress, manage triggers, and overcome urges and cravings is essential. Slips or relapses can be incredibly difficult to overcome, and while experiencing a slip or release by no means suggests that a person is somehow beyond sobriety or a healthy future, they still come with a myriad of risks.
Some of those who reengage with drugs or alcohol may reengage at similar frequencies or intensities as before they began their abstinence, increasing the chances of overdose, alcohol-related health risks, or legal issues. Others may experience damage to their relationships, professional life, or trust, and engagement with drugs or alcohol can birth further feelings of anxiety, stress, guilt, shame, and much more.
Working with professionals and peers to individualize each relapse prevention plan can ensure that each individual can select the strategies that best resonate with their needs and goals and tend to unique stresses without returning to the use of drugs or alcohol.
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Creating Your Relapse Prevention Plan
An effective relapse prevention plan is unique and customized to the individual, with strategies to address the unique challenges, stresses, and goals that an individual sets out to overcome throughout their journey in treatment. Likewise, these plans are geared towards their current stage of recovery, with a relapse prevention plan in detox looking different than a relapse prevention plan for an individual who is about to celebrate a year as a successful, sober alumnus.
While the specific elements of a relapse prevention plan will differ between people, this is a major strength of creating a plan like this. Relapse prevention plans are intended to be malleable, adapting to the development of new goals, especially when recognizing new stresses that may not have been known beforehand. Working with professionals and peers can help an individual create a relapse prevention plan but also continuously update and refine these plans to stay effective over time.
Start With Self-Assessment
Effective relapse prevention plans must first begin by looking at the unique goals and challenges of each individual. Working with professionals at Hawaii Island Recovery can help each person identify potential and known triggers, as well as address situations that may otherwise impact a person’s use of drugs or alcohol. From feeling additional stresses in the workplace to having trouble navigating boredom, or recognizing how certain emotions like sadness, anxiety, or anger may impact substance use, knowing areas to focus on and how well an individual has navigated situations in the past can help create a plan for the future.
Employ Daily Coping Strategies in Your Relapse Prevention Plan
After identifying challenging situations, having several different possible coping strategies is necessary to address an array of situations. This can be replacing an urge to reengage with substances with a different activity to keeping a repository of phone numbers of supports to contact as needed. Hobbies, grounding strategies, mindfulness and breathing techniques, and plans to regularly engage in enjoyable self-care outlets are all part of preventing relapse, and ensuring each individual has access to these strategies every day is essential.
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Know Your Support Network
Relapse prevention plans also identify essential support networks – the individuals who can provide various methods of support when needed. This often begins with the professionals and individuals closest to an individual who understand the disease of addiction and the complexity of overcoming such a challenge. However, supports can also have other roles, with some individuals being best for engaging in a personal hobby instead of substance use.
Knowing which people are available, their various methods of support, and which one to contact in specific situations can be essential for accessing the right support at the right time. Sometimes, talking about vulnerable topics is necessary, while others may need a change of scenery and to relax with friends without drugs or alcohol involved, and each method of support plays an integral role.
Taking Action in an Emergency
Relapse prevention plans should also indicate steps to take if an individual does engage with drugs or alcohol or otherwise finds themselves in high-risk situations where drugs and alcohol may be present or encouraged. Knowing who to call, identifying the elements that led up to the situation, and having an escape plan as necessary are all essential, with professionals and trusted supports alike helping an individual refocus on their sobriety.
Lastly, relapse prevention plans should also have guidelines for self-reflection to empower those in recovery to look back on the challenges and successes of the day to determine what works and what doesn’t. Additionally, regular reflection can help refine elements of self-care, coping strategies, replacement strategies, and more to be even more effective in the future.
Relapse can be devastating, and having a plan to deal with stresses, challenges, urges, cravings, and more can make all the difference in maintaining your hard-earned sobriety. We at Hawaii Island Recovery champion the opportunity to help you begin your sober journey and create a plan for a sustainable and transformed lifestyle. We address the use of drugs and alcohol as well as the stresses, trauma, mental health disorders, and cultures that may inform their use for a holistic approach to sobriety, all while blending our unique Hawaii rehabilitation programs with spiritual healing and community building. For more information on how we can personalize a treatment program for you and your needs, call us at (866) 390-5070.