When a person completes inpatient addiction treatment programs the next step is to attend outpatient treatment in whatever capacity is appropriate for each individual. This may include partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient treatment, traditional outpatient treatment, or support groups. Eventually, an individual will be able to return to their regular life, and in order for them to maintain sobriety, it’s important to receive relapse prevention training prior to being released from a treatment program.
For those who join one of AToN’s programs in San Diego, California, we provide comprehensive and personalized relapse prevention planning. We believe in helping our residents achieve life-long recovery from drug and alcohol use, so each of our programs includes relapse prevention activities. You can learn more about relapse prevention activities and planning here!
What is a Relapse Prevention Plan?
A relapse prevention plan is a guide that helps individuals in recovery maintain their sobriety goals. This plan includes a variety of information that can assist a person in recovery whenever they’re struggling. A relapse prevention plan is often a physical or digital document. With the help of a therapist and other addiction specialists individuals develop a personalized relapse prevention plan.
A relapse prevention plan may include the following:
Identification of Triggers
While in a treatment program, individuals work with a therapist or counselor to identify the triggers of their substance misuse. Triggers for addiction are any type of stimuli that encourage a desire or craving to use drugs or alcohol. Addiction triggers can be people, places, feelings or situations. For example, feeling anxious may trigger a craving for alcohol to calm nerves.
By identifying triggers and documenting these in a relapse prevention plan, individuals are able to avoid or manage these triggers in their daily life outside of a rehab facility. Understanding the causes of substance use can also enable an individual to have more compassion for themselves as well as more control over the addiction behaviors.
A detailed description of coping strategies is essential in a relapse prevention plan. Coping strategies are skills, techniques, and activities a person can use to manage cravings, avoid triggers, and prevent themselves from using drugs or alcohol. Coping can look different for every individual. At AToN Center in San Diego, we help you find strategies that work for you and are applicable to your unique situation.
Coping strategies include mindfulness practices, exercise, affirmations, skills, and other activities that encourage or help maintain sobriety. An individual will learn how to use all the coping strategies included in their relapse prevention plan while they receive treatment at a rehab.
A support system is a group of trusted individuals who know about your struggle with addiction and are able to offer advice and support for your recovery. A relapse prevention plan takes note of who these people are so that a person in recovery knows who they can go to when they need help.
A support system includes friends, family members, healthcare professionals, and other individuals who are in recovery. It’s important to have this network to help motivate you after you complete a treatment program.
The emergency plan in a relapse prevention plan instructs an individual on what to do if an unexpected challenge arises. Sometimes, despite planning, you may encounter a trigger that really causes you to struggle with your sobriety. In this instance or any similar crisis, the relapse prevention emergency plan may suggest who to contact for professional help. Other examples, of an emergency plan may be to participate in a support group or reach out to a friend.
AToN’s Aftercare Program invites alumni to return for group events often so that you always feel supported in your recovery. Our staff members may be a part of your emergency planning and are always willing to help you maintain your sobriety.
What Are Relapse Prevention Activities?
Relapse prevention activities are techniques and practices that help an individual avoid using alcohol or drugs. The purpose of these activities is to distract an individual or help them cope with urges to drink or use drugs. Common relapse prevention activities include:
- Physical exercise
- Support groups
- Counseling sessions
Our addiction treatment programs at the AToN Center incorporate many of these activities into our daily schedules for residents. The holistic healing program includes therapies as well as activities such as meditation and yoga to help manage symptoms of substance misuse. While in treatment, you may learn and love activities such as journaling, encouraging you to continue this hobby outside of treatment too.
Physical activities such as taking a walk or participating in recreational sports are great relapse prevention activities because you can do these in groups. This is beneficial because it enables you to make stronger connections with either or support system or even peers who you’re in recovery with.
Why Are Relapse Prevention Activities Important?
Addiction is a complex disease and even after treatment, it may be difficult to refrain from using drugs or alcohol. This is why relapse prevention activities are so important for those in recovery. Our discharge planning at AToN accounts for the three potential stages of relapse and prepares our residents for each.
The first stage of relapse involves participating in events that may trigger emotions that often lead to addiction behaviors. An emotional relapse may look like straying from healthy eating habits or failing to ask for help when an individual feels themselves struggling. Meditation and mindfulness activities can help reconnect with one’s mind, body, and spirit, which can in turn encourage healthy emotional responses to stressful stimuli that had previously triggered negative behavior.
The mental stage of relapse includes thoughts of using alcohol or drugs. Even though a person may not want to use substances, these thoughts can lead to a relapse when an individual remembers any positive feelings related to alcohol and drug misuse. Meditation can be beneficial at this stage as well.
Other relapse prevention activities that may help at this stage include reaching out to a support group to talk about these new thoughts and how to manage them. It’s also helpful to spend time on hobbies such as art or swimming, which may help distract from thoughts of alcohol and drugs.
The final stage of relapse is when an individual starts misusing substances again. At this point, the relapse prevention plan is essential to helping a person get back on track. Using the plan, individuals can determine what to do in the emergency that they relapse. Relapse prevention activities such as seeking professional help, attending support group meetings, and talking to a support system are very important at this stage of relapse.
Relapse prevention activities such as mindfulness and physical activity can also be very beneficial to a person, close to a physical relapse. While mindfulness can provide clarity and motivate a person to stay sober, physical activity can help release emotions as well as chemicals in the brain that boost the individual’s mood. It’s also important to celebrate your milestones during recovery to provide motivation and prevent an emotional, mental, or physical relapse.
How To Make a Relapse Prevention Plan
To make a relapse prevention plan it’s most effective to collaborate with a therapist or counselor. They will have specialized knowledge about the topic of drug and alcohol use and can take you through the process of developing an effective plan.
Here are the steps involved in creating a relapse prevention plan:
- Assess your history with drugs and alcohol
- Learn about the signs of relapse
- Identify triggers for addiction behaviors
- Build a support system
- Practice relapse prevention activities
- Develop coping skills and strategies
- Document plan
Relapse Prevention Planning at AToN Center
AToN Center developed aftercare and relapse prevention programs to improve the support we’re able to give every individual who comes through our detox and residential treatment programs. Relapse prevention planning with our AToN team provides continuous support from our experienced addiction specialists, opportunities to improve your coping skills, positive reinforcements, and the ability to connect with others in recovery.
Our goal for every resident is to help them stay drug and alcohol-free for the rest of their life after treatment. To do this we design a comprehensive relapse prevention plan for each resident.
Part of relapse prevention planning is being able to recognize the signs of relapse, which we teach residents how to do. We also incorporate relapse prevention group activities into our programs so that everyone who receives treatment at AToN is familiar with and understands how to use these activities to avoid drug or alcohol use. This includes education on identifying each stage of relapse, building social connections, managing stress, developing a daily routine that supports sobriety, and avoiding negative influences.
If you or someone you know struggles with alcohol or drug misuse, come to our rehab center in San Diego, California. We ensure each resident receives the highest quality of care by designing individualized treatment plans and providing comprehensive and continuous addiction treatment through our programs and therapies. Reach out to a team member today to learn more about how we can help you achieve life-long recovery.