Preventing a Relapse: A Cautionary Tale | Palm Beach Institute
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Preventing a Relapse: A Cautionary Tale

If you are a recovering addict, the most feared and dangerous word that is in your vocabulary is relapse. This word stirs up strong emotions and is often associated with weakness, failure, and shame. If you have relapsed recently, consider entering yourself into a medical drug and alcohol detox program. It is estimated that 90% of addicts will relapse within the first four years of recovery. The fear of relapsing back into addiction is definitely a frightening thought; those fears can be minimized with a relapse prevention plan. You will have the best chances at long-term sobriety if you attend a drug and alcohol rehab center.

There is no doubt that having a solid relapse prevention plan in place can help you stay on track with your recovery. However, the best laid plans are in vain if you don’t prepare for what life may throw at you. You need to have an awareness of situations in which your resolve is tested so you can be proactive. The following are some tips to help you stay sober when difficult situations arise.

girl putting joint in ashtray at crazy party

Avoiding Tempting Situations

There are many scenarios that can be experienced early in recovery; you may run into your old friends who still use substances and ask you to hang out, or you may pass the old corner tavern or other familiar hangout where you used to use drugs and alcohol. Transitioning back to your daily live and routine after treatment can cause a lot of stress, and the way to combat that stress is doing things and going to places that provide a sense of comfort— even if it leads back to substance use and addiction.

If you feel the strong pull associated with old friends and places that were tied to your addiction, change your routes and fill your day with recovery-based activities, such as Twelve Step meetings and hanging out with friends who are in recovery. If the stress of temptations and cravings become too much for you to deal with, contact your sponsor or supportive family and friends.

A goal without a plan is just a wish

Avoid Complacency— Be Proactive

A big reason why people relapse is because they simply quit working their recovery program. As people move from adult drug and alcohol rehab into their aftercare plan, motivation to stay in recovery can start to dwindle. If you are feeling a lack of motivation, you may find yourself saying the following:

“I don’t really need to go to a meeting today; I just don’t feel like it.”

“I am doing really well and have been sober for awhile… why do I need to talk to my sponsor?”

“My life is just so busy right now; I just don’t have time.”

 Addiction is a disease that is both subtle and cunning when it manifests. You have to work a program that fits you and your life, but you need to keep working your program, no matter what. Stick with it, and continue to make a recovery program part of your daily life.

Developing a Positive Support Network


It is a given that we need family and friends in our life to provide a sense of support and encouragement when we need it the most. In recovery though, it may be hard to break away from those old social circles of your using friends. There are those situations is which your old friends will call you up to hang out and socialize oftentimes they  will use drugs right in front of you even though you are in recovery. You need to realize that your using friends may feel resentment that you are no longer “part of the club” and want you to start using again.

You need to build a network of new friends who are supportive of your recovery and will be real with you when you are slipping or faltering. This network can consist of family and friends as well as your sponsor, counselor and those you have met at Twelve Step meetings. Plan your daily schedule around activities that involve those positive people and influences in your life.

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