Should I have a relapse prevention plan?
The above is a good question for those of you who have recently stopped using or drinking, and a good reminder for those of us who have been abstinent for a while. Keep in mind that it’s better to plan ahead of yourself, than to have to admit drinking to your sponsor or to go through the process of starting over again in recovery. We’ll review the major principles behind this plan and discuss who relapse prevention programs can help here.
What is a relapse prevention plan?
1. Know yourself.
2. Make changes.
3. Be honest.
4. Know what to do during crisis moments.
1. Addiction is a disease but in remission by abstinence.
Relapse prevention starts with the realization that the use and abuse of substances including alcohol is a life time issue. A true addict or alcoholic never is “cured” of their disease. Abstinence keeps addiction in remission but we have all seen the results, often fatal, of those who believe themselves to be bullet proof over time. A relapse prevention program is a daily recognition that we are, on a daily basis, one using occasion away from a return to active addiction and the pain that brings.
2. Do the hard work of recovery.
A relapse prevention program includes changes in people, places and things and the hard work needed to make changes inside of you. We all want to have a life, and in fully engaging life, it is impossible to avoid people and places where the drug of your choice, or a substitute, is available. Getting clean and sober is different than staying clean and sober.
3. Be honest when you have cravings or an urge to use.
Relapse prevention involves an awareness of your condition at all times and being honest with yourself when you feel an urge. You need to identify what is going on in your mental process and be honest with it in order to stay away from old behaviors.
4. Know what to do if you want to drink or drug.
Finally, you must know exactly what to do when a situation occurs. It may involve simply getting away from the place or people; it means having phone numbers you can call when you get uncomfortable or having a trusted person within range at a social or business occasion. It does mean staying fit spiritually on a very frequent (daily) basis.
Everyone needs a relapse prevention plan
None of us are bullet proof. No matter how long you have been clean and sober, don’t take it for granted. The insanity can jump out and bite you in the ass at anytime; don’t get cocky!
Bottom line, everyone needs a relapse prevention plan and conscious awareness of their condition and that includes “old timers” like me.