The Top 10 Relapse Prevention Skills


Therefore, they feel it is defensible or necessary to escape their negative feelings. The cognitive challenge is to indicate that negative feelings are not signs of failure, but a normal part of life and opportunities for growth. Helping relapse prevention clients feel comfortable with being uncomfortable can reduce their need to escape into addiction. Creating a good relapse prevention plan may take some time and thought, but it will help your recovery during treatment immensely.

What are some skills for preventing relapse?

  • Self-Care. Common post-acute withdrawal symptoms when recovering from addiction include insomnia and fatigue.
  • HALT.
  • Mindfulness Meditation.
  • Know Your Triggers.
  • Join a Support Group.
  • Grounding Techniques.
  • Deep Breathing.
  • Make An Emergency Contact List.

This can be a helpful step in relapse prevention to understand the long-term effects of your actions and how relapse will affect you. Lack of sleep and other poor self-care habits have been linked to addiction relapse. Poor self-care can also serve as a relapse warning sign to loved ones, as people in active addiction often let hygiene, nutrition, and other healthy habits go by the wayside. Obtaining a sponsor will decrease your chances of relapse and will help keep you accountable to your recovery. A sponsor is someone that is knowledgeable of the 12-step program, as well as that of a life of recovery. Oftentimes, the sponsor is also in recovery, and can offer you guidance and support for difficult times. At Bluff, support in maintaining sobriety doesn’t end when a patient leaves our residential treatment center or completes PHP or IOP.

How Do I Know If I’ve Relapsed?

Whenever feeling a craving to use, or in general feeling anxious or “off,” ask yourself if you are feeling any of these symptoms. The most common triggers for many recovering alcoholics and addicts are hunger, anger, loneliness, and feeling tired. By doing a regular inventory of HALT, one can help prevent the risk of relapse. Relapse prevention skills are essential to learning to live a happy life in recovery. One day at a time, one can learn to implement these coping skills to prevent relapse and live a life beyond their wildest dreams. Everyone who has suffered from addiction has people, places, or types of environments that make them think about using again. The best way to deal with this is to identify your triggers so that you can avoid them.

Your plan for preventing relapse can have coping mechanisms that you know work well for you. These coping strategies become like a toolbox that you rely on when you need to. Have goals for self-care and an overall healthy lifestyle. The healthier you are in general, the more you can reduce the likelihood of relapse because you’ll have a good quality of life. For many people, relapse is a part of addiction recovery and should be viewed as an obstacle on the path rather than the end of the road.

Mental Health

Setbacks can set up a vicious cycle, in which individuals see setbacks as confirming their negative view of themselves. This can lead to more using and a greater sense of failure. Eventually, they stop focusing on the progress they have made and begin to see the road ahead as overwhelming .

relapse prevention skills in recovery

Developing healthy lifestyle skills is essential for recovering individuals. If they don’t, they might not feel happy or fulfilled in their lives, leading to relapse. At this time, individuals can deal with past trauma or issues in their family of origin.

Support Groups and Programs

The goal is to help individuals move from denied users to non-users. A missing piece of the puzzle for many clients is understanding the difference between selfishness and self-care. Clinical experience has shown that addicted individuals typically take less than they need, and, as a result, they become exhausted or resentful and turn to their addiction to relax or escape. Part of challenging addictive thinking is to encourage clients to see that they cannot be good to others if they are first not good to themselves.

If you go into the situation unprepared, you’re more likely to relapse. People who struggle with addiction frequently lose their capacity to know when to stop.

Relapse Warning Signs

A trigger can be anything, including a person, event, or a certain experience that causes you to use substances. Triggers can be stressful situations but they can also be happy things or celebratory occasions.

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