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Relapse Prevention Guide

a person gets ready for an outdoor run after making a relapse prevention guideIt’s helpful to have a relapse prevention guide to refer to once you begin your recovery journey. With the help of an experienced addiction professional, you can sketch out what your recovery will look like so you can avoid using drugs or alcohol.

At Northpoint Washington, we help our patients succeed in life by helping them develop relapse prevention plans. We also offer addiction resources in Washington state, like coordinated 12-step meetings and alumni group activities, to provide lasting support. Learn more by calling 888.450.2153.

A Sample Relapse Prevention Plan

Sometimes people learn best by looking at an example. Take a look at the sample relapse prevention plan below for ideas on how to implement one for yourself.

Name: Bob Smith

Date: July 3, 2017

Recovering from Alcohol Addiction

I will prevent relapse and promote my success by taking the following steps:

  • I will prevent using alcohol by going to at least one Alcoholics Anonymous meeting per week.
  • I will avoid using alcohol by following up with all of my appointments for outpatient rehab.
  • When I feel the urge to drink, I will immediately talk with my sponsor.
  • I will look to friends and family to support me during times of temptation to drink.
  • I will remind myself that I am surrounded by people who love and care about me. They want me to be successful.
  • When I experience a craving, I will do one of the activities on my activity list instead.

I will be proactive in my recovery by:

  • Continually reminding myself how important my family is to me.
  • Becoming involved in my children’s school activities by volunteering regularly.
  • Spending time with friends doing things that I enjoy doing.
  • Finding ways to spend time with family and doing things we all enjoy.
  • Journaling every day about my recovery journey as a way to keep track of my success.

There are many people I can call if I need help. Their names and numbers are:

  • Joan Miller – 555-555-1212
  • Bill Jones – 555-555-1213
  • Sarah Thomas – 555-555-1214

The Pros and Cons of Drinking Alcohol

I understand that alcohol was a significant part of my life, but it also caused me a lot of pain. This pros and cons list helps me reflect on my choice to recover.

The Pros

  • Makes me forget about my problems
  • Calms me down
  • Makes me feel happy

The Cons

  • My problems never really go away completely
  • I had withdrawal symptoms when I stopped drinking
  • My family stopped talking to me or wanting to be around me
  • I lost my job
  • I got a DUI
  • My friends stopped wanting to spend time with me
  • Legal problems cost me a lot of money
  • I felt bad about my inability to control my drinking
  • I felt guilty about what I was doing to myself and my family
  • I developed medical problems because of alcohol

Recognizing Relapse in Sober Living

When I’m getting close to relapse, I know there are some recognizable feelings that I can take stock of.

  • Very anxious and nervous
  • Like I can’t breathe very well
  • Like I can’t think about anything but drinking
  • Like I need to get a drink in order to feel better
  • As though just one drink would make everything I’m feeling go away

But I know these feelings aren’t true. I know these are lies because:

  • Alcohol has never solved anything for me
  • Drinking alcohol has only ever made my life worse
  • I am not able to stop with just one drink
  • I do not have to give in to anxiety and nervousness
  • I am in control of what I decide to do, and I can decide not to drink

When I recognize these thoughts and emotions, there are a few things I can do to avoid making them stronger.

Activities I Enjoy Doing Can Prevent Relapse

This is a list of hobbies and activities I like to do:

  • Scrapbooking
  • Photography
  • Working out at the gym
  • Going for walks with my husband
  • Taking my kids to the park

While I enjoy these things, there are always going to be stressors in my life, like:

  • Financial stress due to lack of income
  • Relationship strains because of my drinking
  • Worry that I won’t be able to stay sober

As these stressors arise, I know I can use the things I like to do to make an action plan for staying sober, like:

  • Taking on odd jobs to contribute to the family’s income
  • Giving the people I love the time they need to reconcile with me
  • Reminding myself to take each day one day at a time

But I won’t always be able to calm my urges easily. If I get the urge to drink, I will contact:

  • My sponsor
  • My counselor
  • My husband
  • My best friend

This will allow me to talk things through with someone who cares about me. They will give me the help I need to get through the cravings.

Personalizing Your Relapse Prevention Plan

All relapse prevention plans look a little bit different. This example can give you a rough draft of something easy and effective you can make on your own. Just remember to include:

  • Your stressors
  • Your support contacts
  • The things you like to do
  • The feelings of being in recovery and during your addiction

Finding the help of an addiction counselor can provide additional guidance when making your relapse prevention guide.

Relapse Prevention Planning at Northpoint Washington

Creating a personalized relapse prevention guide is key to avoiding substance abuse and staying on track with your recovery journey. At Northpoint Washington, we’re here to help you create an actionable plan that works for you so that you can stay sober and reach long-term success. If you or someone you know are struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to contact us today by calling 888.450.2153 or visiting our website for more information about the resources available in Washington State. We’re committed to helping individuals reclaim their lives and find lasting recovery within our supportive community of alumni members.