Substance abuse and mental health expert Terry Gorski has a nine-step relapse prevention plan that can help you recognize and manage relapse warning signs. Alan Marlatt, PhD, developed an approach that uses mental, behavioral, and lifestyle choices to prevent relapse. When individuals continue to refer to their using days as “fun,” they continue to downplay the negative consequences of addiction.

Don’t be afraid to talk to family, friends, and support workers about what’s happened. A relapse isn’t something to feel guilty or ashamed about, and discussing it with someone you trust is an important step in your recovery. If you’ve begun using drugs and alcohol again and you want to stop, it’s best to get help from a medical professional rather than stopping suddenly on your own. A lapse represents a very short slip from abstinence to one’s formal addictive ways and then the person self-corrects their behavior and goes back to their recovery plan. One way to decrease the risk of a relapse is to consider finding new friends who can support your new lifestyle by either choosing not to drink around you, offering up activities that don’t involve alcohol or are in recovery themselves.

Careers and volunteering:

Probably the most common misinterpretation of complete honesty is when individuals feel they must be honest about what is wrong with other people. I like to tell patients that a simple test of complete honesty is that they should feel “uncomfortably honest” when sharing within their recovery circle. This is especially important in self-help groups in which, after a while, individuals sometimes start to go through the motions of participating. But clients and families often begin recovery by hoping that they don’t have to change. They often enter treatment saying, “We want our old life back — without the using.” I try to help clients understand that wishing for their old life back is like wishing for relapse. Rather than seeing the need for change as a negative, they are encouraged to see recovery as an opportunity for change.

Many physical relapses occur during times when the individual believes their use will go undetected. In working with patients in early recovery, providers need to ensure they have the skills necessary to recognize these high-risk situations and avoid alcohol relapse rate using. An emotional relapse may occur when a person remembers their last relapse, does not want to repeat it, and is not thinking about using. However, their emotions and resulting behaviors are laying the foundations for their next relapse.

Manage withdrawal symptoms

This will decrease your need to use substances again to feel comfortable. The resurgence of physical health symptoms after a period of well-being signifies a physical health relapse. Global self-management strategy involves encouraging clients to pursue again those previously satisfying, nondrinking recreational activities. In addition, relaxation training, time management, and having a daily schedule can be used to help clients achieve greater lifestyle balance. Cognitive restructuring can be used to tackle cognitive errors such as the abstinence violation effect.

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