Preventing Relapse: A Guide

Ways to Prepare for Relapse, Prevention

No matter how long you have been sober from drugs or alcohol, you always have a chance of a relapse. Preventing relapse is essential regardless of the state that you are in your recovery, no matter how much time it has been since you last used a substance. Addiction is defined by compulsive drug use, even despite any consequences. This leads to long-lasting changes in the brain, making addiction a chronic disease.

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There are ways to treat addiction, and this is through treatment programs and rehabilitation. For those in recovery, treatment is known all too well. Despite this, studies place the rates of relapse for substance use disorders anywhere between 40 and 60 percent.

Illustration of woman with her arms crossed, and drugs and alcohol around her head, to depict relapse prevention

Is it Possible to Prevent Relapse?


There is no cure for addiction, but there are various ways that you can work in preventing relapse. It not only takes a proactive effort but also an ongoing effort to counteract the disruptive effects of addiction on your brain. There are a huge variety of ways to prevent relapse, including building life skills and self-esteem, establishing solid sober support networks, and being active with an alumni program if you have such a resource available.


What are the Ways to Prevent a Relapse?

Addiction is difficult to battle, especially when doing so on your own. If you are struggling to quit using substances, then the first step is simply to admit you have a problem. Once you have gotten past that step, the next step is to get into an addiction treatment program.

Participate in a Comprehensive Addiction Treatment Program

Treatment is the best place to start if you are looking to stop using, but also the best place to have gone when you are trying to prevent relapse. Preventing relapse is all about the groundwork you have laid during your recovery. There are many different options when it comes to treatment programs, and you will simply need to find the right one for you.


Finish Your Treatment Program


It can be extremely easy to stop going to treatment or leave early. Although you might feel like you are better, the longer you stay in treatment, the more success you will have in recovery and preventing relapse.


The effort you put into treatment will set the pace for the rest of your life. Putting minimal effort into recovery is telling yourself that you are not serious about attempts to stop paying the cost of using. Treatment is a gift, and if you get the chance to go to treatment, make the most of it to prevent relapse.


A hand showing the acronym HALT, for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired, to help illustrate relapse prevention

Create an Aftercare Plan for Recovery Success

Most people do not realize how essential an aftercare plan is. Toward the end of your time in treatment, you will create one. This will give you guidelines on what to do after treatment is over. Adhering to your plan is the best way to prevent relapse.

If you were previously in inpatient care, then you might move to outpatient treatment during your aftercare. Another option is to commit to 12-step meetings or sober living facilities. Your aftercare plan may vary, but it will also be essential to your success.

Build a Sober Support Network

It can be extremely easy to fall back into old habits if your friends practice those habits as well. By having a good support system that is anti-drug or drinking, you can continue to stay sober. It can also be extremely helpful to have people to turn to if you are feeling alone and challenged by the pressures of living drug-free.

Group therapy is often included in aftercare plans. This is a good place to start building a support system, and also a group of friends to spend time with outside of treatment. It may feel intimidating to make new friends, while sober, at first, but it will become more natural after a while.

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Finding a Long-Term Therapist in Recovery

If your aftercare plan does not include ongoing therapy, you may want to include it. You can find a therapist on your own and go at least once per week. This will be able to provide you a sense of security and mitigate some of the difficulties you face when living life in recovery.

Therapy can also give you a safe place to work through your challenges and work through issues from your past. These might otherwise come up in the future, and cause you to relapse. Finding a long-term therapist is extremely helpful when it comes to preventing relapse.

A young man seeks help in group counseling for an addiction to Tramadol

Asking for Help is Crucial in Recovery

Preventing relapse might be as easy as asking for help. Asking for help can be extremely difficult, but if you want to work towards preventing relapse, it may be your best shot.

Asking for help might mean reaching out to someone from your treatment program, a therapist, someone in your recovery support group, or even family. Regardless of if you need another treatment cycle or a 12-step program, it never hurts to investigate.

Contact us at Find Addiction Rehabs to learn more relapse prevention tips. We can help you find a program that is right for you.

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