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How to Write a Relapse Prevention Plan

Person on laptop writing relapse prevention plan

You may have heard the expression, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This age-old wisdom is especially true when it comes to creating a relapse prevention program.

A strong relapse prevention program is how you take the offensive against the threat of relapse. A relapse prevention plan gives you the opportunity to identify threats before they occur and have strategies in place for reacting in a healthy way.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, the experienced mental health professionals at Woodland Recovery Center can help. Contact our team today by calling 662.222.2989 or completing the online form.

Steps to Creating a Relapse Prevention Plan

Reflect on Your Substance Use

The first step in creating a relapse prevention plan is to pause and reflect on your substance use. Identify how you began using and what people or situations contributed to your decision to use.

This crucial step creates self-awareness around your using patterns. Armed with this knowledge, you can begin making the changes and preparations necessary for success.

Make Big Changes

The directive to change people, places, and things is a common piece of recovery wisdom, and it’s often repeated for good reason.

Changing the people in your life can be difficult, but it’s often necessary. It may mean cutting ties with friends in active addiction or reducing time spent with unsupportive family members.

You may want to consider making major life choices, like moving to a new city or home or changing your place of employment. Enacting significant changes has the psychological effect of reinforcing that you are in a new stage of life and free to make new, healthier decisions.

If big changes aren’t possible in your situation, find small ways to support your new lifestyle. If you used to use during your lunch break at work, your drug relapse prevention plan might involve eating with a supportive coworker or taking a walk instead.

Identify Possible Triggers

Part of creating a relapse prevention plan means recognizing that triggers will be unavoidable. You can increase your success by anticipating them. When you know what to expect, it can be less overwhelming when you do feel tempted to use.

Triggers can be large or small, frequent or occasional. Common triggers include:

  • Family gatherings
  • Holidays
  • Weekends
  • Depictions of substances in media
  • Arguments with friends or family
  • Emotions like disappointment or sadness
  • Boredom or alone time

Anticipating when triggers might arise is a powerful tool for handling them without relapse.

Have Substitutes in Place

Substance use is often motivated by the desire to change how you feel. Perhaps the most important aspect of a drug relapse prevention plan involves having alternative ways to achieve this while remaining substance-free.

When you’re grappling with the strong desire to use, remind yourself that the feeling is temporary. Then choose a different activity that supports your recovery. The choices are virtually endless. Some common options include:

  • Communicate: Call a supportive friend or loved one for connection
  • Exercise: Choose yoga, running, or a workout for natural endorphins
  • Create: Draw, paint, or rearrange your room for a sense of accomplishment
  • Feel: Call a counselor or write in a journal to process your emotions

Your relapse prevention plan will be as unique as you are. What matters is taking the time to anticipate the desire to use and preparing alternative options.

Triggers are common in recovery, but they shouldn’t be overwhelming. If you’re struggling, consider a relapse prevention program in Mississippi. The extra support and planning offered by a program can make the difference between relapse and long-term recovery.

Need a Relapse Prevention Program in Mississippi? Woodland Recovery Center Can Help 

Remaining substance-free can be challenging, but it shouldn’t be lonely. With the right support, success is possible. If you need the additional support provided by a relapse prevention program in Mississippi, Woodland Recovery Center can help.

Contact Woodland Recovery Center and speak with an experienced mental health professional by calling 662.222.2989 or filling out an online form.