How to write a relapse prevention plan

How to write a relapse prevention plan

People often want to know how to write a relapse prevention plan when they first begin their journey of sobriety. Preparing for the possibility of slipping back into your old ways ensures that if something does pop up you won’t be surprised. Relapse will always be a possibility, whether you are at the start of a rehabilitation process, or years into it. When you learn how to write a prevention plan you reduce the chance of any potential relapse being a serious step back. A sensible plan consists of 5 different stages.

Here’s how to write a relapse prevention plan broken down into 5 easy stages:

Stage 1 – How to Write a Relapse Prevention Plan

Stage 1 consists of your personal goals for recovery, as well as what motivates you for productive and positive change. This should be as personalised as possible. You will need to identify exactly what you want to achieve by becoming sober. Whether this is holding down a job, keeping a healthy relationship with someone or something as simple as learning a new skill, you should always keep this in mind along your recovery journey.

Stage 2 – Potential Obstacles

Stage 2 should be focused on potential obstacles, which could prevent you from achieving your goals. The focus here should be on cravings and triggers. Similar to goals, everyone will have different environments and different people as triggers. Whether this is a place that you used to drink in or a certain person you used to take drugs with, every trigger will be personal to you. As many triggers as possible will need to be identified, before solutions or exit strategies are devised. An example of a trigger and a solution could be:

– When I am reminded of alcohol by walking past a pub I used to drink in, I should leave as quickly as possible and see a friend.

Stage 3 – Healthy Lifetsyle Focus

Step 3 deals with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, filled with plenty of self-care. This is important as it makes sure that you stay on an upward trajectory throughout your recovery. Finding hobbies which keep you both interested and occupied will be a key part of the rehabilitation process. It will also be key for self-confidence: having skills and interests will allow you to be sure of yourself when continuing your recovery.

Stage 4 – Strong Support Systems

Stage 4 is about setting up a strong support system, filled with supportive people who will all have a positive influence on your rehabilitation. Counsellors, friends, family and medical professionals are all good choices for your support system. They will be critical when you need to talk to someone or have someone help you through a difficult time.

Stage 5 – Keeping to the Plan

For the last stage, make a list of things that will help you keep to the plan. Things that you are thankful for and reasons for why you decided to quit your old lifestyle. Ultimately, these should keep you going during the darkest times of your recovery. On the flip side, it is also a good idea to make a list of consequences for if you fail to keep to your plan. Both of these lists, in different ways, should keep you on your path to recovery.

How to Write a Relapse Prevention Plan Conclusion

It is a good idea to write down everything you have come up with so that you can refer back to it at any time. The possibility of relapse is very real, but it does not need to be a part of your recovery. Having an effective relapse prevention plan will make sure that it is not. It isn’t hard to learn how to write a relapse prevention plan but it does take time and effort.

To learn more about relapse prevention plans check out our guide.

Taylor Holmes
Taylor Holmes
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