5 Things that Can Help You Prevent Relapsing

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5 Things that Can Help You Prevent Relapsing

Most people seek addiction treatment because they have already tried to quit on their own but relapsed a couple of times and are in search of a better solution.  If you are looking for a better way to overcome addiction and want to know how to prevent relapsing, you should understand the distinct phases of the relapse process.

When you first enter a treatment program, you are taught how to recognize the early stages of relapse.  As treatment progresses, you go through a period of personal growth. You’ll also learn healthy coping skills, relaxation techniques, and cognitive skills to help you know how to prevent relapsing. You have to change negative thinking patterns that contributed to your addiction.

If you haven’t been through rehab yet, these are some of the things you’ll learn about:

Recognizing the Stages of Relapse

The important thing to remember is that relapse happens gradually.  Subconsciously, you may have been thinking about taking that drink or drug weeks or months before it finally happens.  With that in mind, knowing how to prevent relapsing comes with knowing the early warning signs and stages.

The stages of relapse are:

  • Emotional Relapse – Denial is a significant part of emotional relapse.  The individual isn’t consciously thinking about using, but their emotions and behaviors may be setting them up for relapse eventually.  Behaviors such as holding in emotions, isolation, not attending meetings, focusing on other people’s problems, poor eating habits, and erratic sleep habits are a few of the early warning signs.
  • Mental Relapse – In mental relapse, the urge to use battles with the desire not to use.  Over time, the person’s resistance weakens. Signs of mental relapse include 1) thinking about people, places, and things associated with their past drug use; 2) glamorizing their drug use or minimizing the consequences; 3) thinking of ways to use again but control it better, and 4) lying and bargaining about ways to use again.  When these warning signs change and become more intense and frequent, relapse is a possibility.
  • Physical Relapse – This is the stage when an individual actually starts using again.  A physical relapse can occur when the individual thinks they won’t get caught.  In most cases, the person doesn’t understand that saying “no” should begin before they are faced with an opportunity to use again.

Now that you know some of the causes and stages of relapse, let’s take a look at some prevention tips that will help you stay on the path to recovery.

How to Prevent Relapsing After Rehab and Forever

Some of the following ideas can be found easily online, but we want to save you a little time by adding them here.  Our goal is to help you or a loved one avoid relapse and continue living a sober lifestyle from today forward.

5 things that will help you avoid relapse:

  • Reach out to others – Surround yourself with a trusted support system, a group of sober friends, others in recovery, and organized groups such as SMART Recovery or AA/NA groups.  After rehab, try to take your time transitioning back into the community. The key is to keep from feeling overwhelmed or setting unrealistic goals. Avoid feeling bored or isolated, call a friend if you’re feeling down.
  • Recognize and avoid triggers – Remember what you learned in rehab about how to identify high-risk people and situations.  Also, have a plan for how to handle these triggers if you are faced with them unexpectedly. You can also have an “escape plan” to revert to in case you get caught in a tempting or awkward situation.  Try to remember that cravings come and go. Don’t give in. Each time you succeed in fighting the urge, you’ll become stronger.
  • Develop psychological strength – If you relapse, don’t see it as a failure.  Seek help right away, and get back on track. Don’t be ashamed.  You only fail if you stop trying. Relapse is not a permanent obstacle, but it may cause you to have to work a little harder.  Remember, relapse is a work in progress and you must stay focused on your goal of improved health and a more rewarding lifestyle.
  • Set goals and reach them –  The key is to set realistic goals.  If you aim too high, it will be easier to fail.  When you reach a goal, celebrate or reward yourself for making progress.  Think about how a baby learns to walk. He takes a step or two and falls. But, he gets up and tries again and again.  Small victories equal big wins.
  • Living a sober lifestyle – Stay busy with work, exercise, counseling, hobbies, and relationships.  Staying occupied is a great way to keep you on track. You should also eat healthy meals because when you feel good physically and mentally, you are less likely to crave drugs or alcohol.  You’ll find plenty of positive, healthy things to do now that you are sober and seeing life through different eyes.

Contact Us at A Forever Recovery

If you would like more information about how to prevent relapsing, please contact us at our toll-free number today.  One of our representatives at A Forever Recovery will be available to assist you any time day or night.


  • ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Relapse Prevention and the Five Rules of Recovery
  • health.gov.au – Relapse Prevention/Management

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