As you progress through this book you will have all the information you need to write your balanced life plan. By carrying out your plan you can:
• Improve Physical and Mental Health
Relapse prevention requires physical health and stamina, and mental health and stamina. As part of your relapse prevention plan you will set goals to develop skills and to take actions to improve your mental and physical health. Mental and physical health are critical components in your plan for successfully remaining abstinent and achieving your goals.
• Manage Cravings and Cues to Use
You will create your plan for managing cravings, cues and your responses to cues. Taking immediate action to reduce cravings and manage cues will help keep you safe from drugs and alcohol while you write your total plan and put the other parts of your relapse prevention plan in place. For some this means attending an abstinence based program while getting the rest of their plan working. For others, it is possible to carry out the planning process at home in an alcohol and drug free environment with the support of non-using family and friends.
• Use Coping Skills to Reduce Stress and Negative Emotions
Relapse prevention requires learning and practicing positive coping skills. Coping skills will help you to manage craving, stress, anger, depression, and anxiety. There are resources and techniques that are perfect for your individual plan. A written plan is essential so when you are stressed or experiencing negative emotions you can just look at your plan and use one of the techniques.
• Set Boundaries With Other People
The skill of setting and maintaining boundaries is essential to relapse prevention. Social pressure to use is a main cause of relapse. It’s the people you allow in your life who will either support you in your new life goals or pressure you to use through their behavior or by providing access to drugs and alcohol. To keep yourself safe, you will need to complete and follow your boundary setting plan.
• Develop a Positive Social Support Network
Relapse prevention always requires a supportive ring of friends, family, and professionals in your life. They will assist you in meeting your goals and provide meaning, help, guidance, fun, and friendship in your life.
• Develop Communication Skills
Relapse prevention requires effective communication skills to manage interpersonal conflict and social pressure to use. Also, these skills will help you to achieve the life goals that are your incentive to remain abstinent. Your ability to communicate well can decrease your stress and increase your work and social opportunities.
Communication skills can also increase your ability to maintain and build a positive support network of relationships. They can increase your success in maintaining positive and healthy intimate partner relationships. Most importantly they can increase your success at relapse prevention. It’s easy to see why communication skills are so
important to your plan.
• Put Positive Structure into Your Life
Positive structure and time-management is core to any successful relapse prevention plan. Boredom, loneliness, empty slots in your day, and lack of positive activities to replace drug and alcohol activities leads to relapse. Relapse prevention requires clear, concrete structure and positive activities for every day. They must be planned well in advance.