Relapse Prevention Techniques and Coping Skills to Use in Recovery

They think it is almost embarrassing to talk about the basics of recovery. They are embarrassed to mention that they still have occasional cravings or that they are no longer sure if they had an addiction. 1) Clients often want to put their addiction behind them and forget that they ever had an addiction.

  • This type of therapy helps by focusing on identifying and addressing triggers, as well as developing coping strategies to prevent future relapses.
  • Recovery involves creating a new life in which it is easier to not use.
  • Recovery benefits from a detailed relapse prevention plan kept in a handy place—next to your phone charger, taped to the refrigerator door or the inside of a medicine cabinet—for immediate access when cravings hit.
  • Your doctor or an addiction treatment center has treatments to control withdrawal symptoms.

Oftentimes, these loved ones can offer you support as you take new steps within your life. Having healthy coping mechanisms in place during recovery can act as distractions and will create healthy habits in your life that lead to long-term success. It is vital during difficult times that damage control measures are in place to prevent a relapse from occurring.

Types of Relapse

Specifically, RP was most effective when applied to alcohol or polysubstance use disorders, combined with the adjunctive use of medication, and when evaluated immediately following treatment. Moderation analyses suggested that RP was consistently efficacious across treatment modalities (individual vs. group) and settings (inpatient vs. outpatient)22. Using a wave metaphor, urge surfing is an imagery technique to help clients gain control over impulses to use drugs or alcohol.

One day at a time, one can learn to implement these coping skills to prevent relapse and live a life beyond their wildest dreams. Addictive substances often cause physical or psychological dependence to form. This dependence can lead to someone having strong physical relapse prevention skills cravings or thoughts of wanting to use drugs or alcohol. Chemical dependency is characterized by mental obsession and physical craving; an addict’s substance of choice can become more important than keeping a job, getting enough sleep or eating properly.


Calls to our general hotline may be answered by private treatment providers. We may be paid a fee for marketing or advertising by organizations that can assist with treating people with substance use disorders. This plan proposes five rules for a patient to live by – five recidivism prevention tips, which should significantly decrease the likelihood of relapse. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, relapsing in substance use disorders was compared to relapsing among those suffering from hypertension and asthma. Study results showed that 40% to 60% of recovering addicts suffer from it at least once, whereas worsening occurs in 50% to 70% of people with health conditions such as hypertension and asthma.

  • The purpose of this rule is to remind individuals not to resist or sabotage change by insisting that they do recovery their way.
  • If red flags can be spotted early on, the patient can roll out mitigating measures to stop progression to recidivism as soon as possible.
  • At Stages of Recovery, our continuum of care helps individuals struggling with addiction become the people they were meant to be.

Share it with the people you spend a lot of the time with, including those who have used substances with you in the past, so they can be aware. Relapse is the return to substance abuse after being drug- or alcohol-free. It’s not uncommon for people who struggle with addictions to relapse after completing treatment, and it doesn’t mean treatment failed. Instead, a relapse signifies that additional and/or a different form of treatment is necessary. Understanding relapse, triggers, and treatment are important steps toward relapse prevention.

Physically Abusive

To prevent a relapse, you will want to remove triggers, including places, people, or purchases that may bring about urges to use again. Some warning signs of a potential relapse, according to Gottlich, could include secretiveness, disengaging from treatment, and being overly arrogant about sobriety. Alan Marlatt, and outlined in the 1985 text published with Judith Gordon, RP is based not only on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for other psychiatric disorders, but also on Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory (SCT). Although the term «recovery coach» was first used in 2006, the service has not gained wide adoption in addiction treatment.

  • These mindfulness skills are intended to help the patient increase their awareness of cravings and other unpleasant feelings without judgment of the feelings as “bad” or necessitating a reaction.
  • 3) Clients feel they are not learning anything new at self-help meetings and begin to go less frequently.
  • Relapse after recovery can feel devastating, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your journey.

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