Stay on Track: How to Create a Drug Relapse Prevention Plan

drug-relapse

Laying the foundation for recovery requires planning. It requires working with professionals who’ve been there and who understand what is coming.

It’s more effective when you plan ahead for the obstacles knowing they will arrive at some point. The good news is that once you decide to go down a better road, there is help available.

Experts, therapists, and medication specialists are ready to help you work through the tough days. They want to see you succeed and have a healthier, happier lifestyle on the other side.

Are you ready to learn how to create a drug relapse prevention plan? Let’s look at some options that help others in similar situations.

Use Your Support System During a Drug Relapse

Your support system could be made up of a large family, or it might be one or two people who’ve been in your corner. Either way, let them know what you’re working towards.

Ask them if you can reach out on the hard days and talk about what you’re going through. Talk through your feelings instead of letting them take over. Often, the emotional aspect is one of the hardest.

When you know that some days will be tougher than others, you can plan ahead with your support circle on how to deal with them. Most likely, you took the long route to get to where you’re at. Correcting your path takes more than a single day, more than a single month.

It takes one day at a time, consistent steps towards a better result. It’s a journey, not a race. Surround yourself with individuals who understand that and want to be supportive to you.

Remove Yourself from Triggering Situations

The environment you find yourself in influences your decisions and activities. Make a point to identify and understand what your triggers are. Do you make bad choices when you’re stressed or under pressure? Do you feel less inhibited when you’re alone?

Is it more challenging to say no to unhealthy choices when you’re with a particular group of friends? Take a close look at your everyday habits and then give yourself options for those situations. Make an exit plan for each one, so you don’t feel like you’re helpless with your addiction.

Your support system can be helpful if you reach out when you’re having trouble making the right choice. Call or text them when you’re starting to feel like you could slip off track. If being alone is a trigger, plan activities with other people you enjoy being around.

Once you learn how to see yourself falling into a familiar trap, you’ll give yourself tools to avoid the same result as before. Instead, you’ll be focused on where you want to be in life, not where you’ve already been. Another great tool comes in the form of joining a wellness and recovery group.

These are often filled with peers who understand where you’re at and are headed the same direction as you. They encourage you to keep going and help you focus on healthier decision making.

Keep Your Goals in Front of You

Remember what you’re trying to achieve. Remember those in your life whom you want to achieve it for. Keep pictures of supportive family members and friends around you.

Share your motivation with your support system and ask them to remind you of those reasons from time to time. Put pictures up in your house about places you’d like to go. Carry motivational items with you that remind you of the value you’re replacing bad habits with.

When you have a goal, the important aspect is to remind yourself of it constantly. If it’s always in a place where you can see it, touch it, feel it, and focus on it, you’re far more likely to follow through.

Mindfulness Training

Stress, depression, and anxiety are difficult to deal with when you don’t have an addiction problem. In combination with an addiction problem, they can be crippling. One way to help yourself out of these feelings is mindfulness training. Deep breathing and circular breathing are ways to calm your mind.

Focus on the present, your breath, and the process, and you’ll feel your body start to relax. As muscles relax and calming hormones begin to flood your system, it will ease your anxiousness. Stretching or walking are other ways to help your mind calm down.

Make a point of using coping techniques like this regularly, so they become your go-to instead of falling back on addictive habits. The more you practice them, the more they become part of your routine. You would be surprised at how something as simple as coloring can help remove your mind from the anxiety and let it focus on the detail of the coloring process.

When you’re done, you have a piece of artwork that is likely quite expressive. These simple tools are very effective and can be practiced nearly everywhere.

The Calm of Nature

Nature is calming and offers a beautiful environment to relax your mind in also. Take a walk, listen to the breeze, and enjoy nature on its own.

Remove yourself from hectic environments where you feel yourself start to get amped up. Go outside and let the quiet of nature’s world help you relax. Use a writing journal to share your feelings and thoughts, even if it’s only for yourself.

This is a great way to look back later on and see what your journey felt like. Many times, when we achieve a goal, we forget everything it took to get there. If you write down a paragraph or two each day though, it gives you checkpoints and markers to look back on and reflect how far you’ve come.

You may even use that as a tool to help someone else later on by showing them how effective it was for you. There are no rules in a writing journal.

It’s a tool to express everything you’re thinking and feeling in a safe way that doesn’t give you the opportunity to take up bad habits again. It’s also something you can keep private if you wish, but still helpful daily.

Medication Management for Recovery

Some medications help you manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. These are prescribed by either a primary care physician or sometimes a psychiatrist. If you seek out this type of help, they help you understand how particular medications work better for certain symptoms than others.

If you understand how to work with these professionals on your medication management, you may find this is an incredible tool. Sometimes, substance abuse can damage the brain and actually change how the brain works permanently.

Medication might be able to help in these cases giving an individual more power over their choices and decision making faculties. As these doctors are familiar with addiction problems, they can also steer you away from addictive substances that might have given you problems in the past.

Rather they will prescribe a medication that is non-addictive but still helpful towards reducing overall symptoms. Make an appointment with a health professional and ask them to give you an evaluation. Let them know what your goals are, where your thoughts are, and what plan you have in place.

This is a healthy partnership to maintain through the process, and after a significant amount of recovery has taken place. It’s the same concept as “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” except, in this case, it’s management regularly to keep you from falling back into old habits.

Residential Treatment as an Option

For some patients, the thought of doing this work on their own seems too daunting. They may prefer the camaraderie of a group where they are constantly focused on getting healthier. These types of programs offer residential spaces for clients to come work through the program surrounded by specialists.

Therapists and other health professionals are on-site to help with medication, mental health, therapy programs, and coping tools. If there is a cost associated with the program, find out if your insurance will cover it. In fact, some of these programs are sponsored by insurance programs in hopes that a healthier community will be far less expensive over time.

Check-in with your treatment specialists locally to see what they recommend if you’re interested in a program like this. It’s worked as a recovery tool for many others and can help you achieve your goals as well.

Reward System for Achievements

Every good recovery plan has an award system built-in. It’s not all about doing the work. Sometimes, you need to have some fun! Wellness and recovery groups, as mentioned above are great about planning fun trips and activities that show clients even more reasons why they want to succeed.

If you’re doing this on your own, then set up a time with friends or family members where you visit a special place. Fun activities could be mini-golf on a night out, dinner and a movie, a baseball game, or even a cooking class that you take with friends.

Any of these will work as a motivation award if it’s something you enjoy. Make a list of items that would help keep you on track during the hard days. Plan ahead like this to avoid slip-ups and give yourself options as noted above. This is why you want to work with professionals when you create a plan like this.

They understand, sometimes from personal experience, what it takes to get through this process. Their help is invaluable in ensuring your eventual success. They can also teach you new techniques and skills you might not have thought of before.

Don’t Stop for a Bump in the Road

Recovery is not easy all the time. In fact, there may be times when you fall off the wagon. This doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It doesn’t mean you have to quit. It doesn’t mean your goals are worthless. It does mean you’re human, just like everyone around you. It means that you can pick yourself up and keep going.

A relapse prevention plan expects this type of event and helps to plan for it ahead of time. Don’t get down on yourself because you lose the battle one day. Focus on the war ahead and keep moving forward. Clear your mind, recognize the trigger that caused you to slip and then work to overcome that.

This process can be used no matter whether it’s personal, relational, or financial stress that put you in a difficult time. It’s important that you recognize the hard work you’re doing every day and not just the main goal. Every step forward matters.

Every day you wake up and keep going is a major jump in the right direction. Every victory should be celebrated, whether it’s a small group or a large party.

Recovery is Possible

A drug relapse prevention plan is one of the best tools you can set up to help achieve success. It’s important to understand that this process doesn’t go well alone. There are too many factors and opportunities to give yourself room to slide this way.

Bring in people who want to see you succeed and will push you to get there. Have a team who understands what you’re going through so they can relate to your thoughts and feelings. Work with experts who have a passion to see people live healthier and happier lives.

Ask questions along the way and reach out for help when you need it. There is no weakness in letting others know you’re struggling. It’s a sign of maturity and strength of your part rather and inspires others to do the same. When you’ve decided you want to have a higher quality of life, contact us, and let us assist.

We are here with answers to your questions and tools to put in your toolbox. As an individual, you have every right to a healthy life that is addiction-free, and we want to be with you every step of the way.

 

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.