You can build your own personal relapse prevention plan. This workbook is your guide to creating your plan and putting your plan into action. If you have completed a withdrawal management program and are not actively using drugs and alcohol, you are ready to take immediate action to:
1. Reduce the number of slips or lapses
2. Prevent full relapse or a return to regular using
3. Plan and achieve your life goals.
The book teaches specific coping skills for relapse prevention, general life skills, and skills to improve health. To create your comprehensive relapse prevention plan you will need to complete:
• A clear commitment statement and written life goals for the
year ahead with compelling reasons for each goal
• A stress inventory with strategies
• A guilt and shame inventory with strategies
• A defined support network with strategies for connection
• A clear boundary-setting plan
• A communications skill improvement plan
• An exercise, recreation, and social activity plan
• A cues and a craving management plan
• A detailed schedule of daily activities for your first three months following withdrawal management (detox) and/or attendance at rehab.
The relapse prevention plan components are based on research about what causes relapse and what reduces the risk of relapse. Relapse is a return to using drugs and alcohol at the level of using that existed prior to the period of abstinence. Experts in relapse prevention found relapse is not generally triggered by physical cravings. People,
who have been addicted to alcohol and drugs of all types, relapse in response to: stress, feelings of anxiety, fear, anger, frustration or depression; social pressures to use; and interpersonal conflicts (Marlatt, & Gordon, 1985, 2005).
Successful relapse prevention is a process of learning, developing, and using new skills, attitudes, beliefs, and values that support you to achieve your new life goals. Relapse prevention begins with you taking the time to describe how you truly want your life to be. The first step is committing to a life that is self-care centered. To get a sense of what this means, read the following statements out loud.
• I am committed to taking care of myself.
• Achieving the best possible physical and mental health is my first goal.
• Living my life with integrity and to the best advantage for me and those I care about is my second goal.
• I want this above all else because I want to know that when I die I will have lived a life of value to myself and the people I care about. I want to be proud of myself.
How did that feel? Now in your own words, write your commitment to yourself and why you want this above anything else in the world. Work on your commitment statement frequently over the next few days until you have the one you would be willing to sign and have your closest family and friends sign as witnesses. Put it on the wall of your home for all who enter to see.