Relapse Prevention Plan: What Is It and Why Should I Plan For It?
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Having a plan in place for how you are going to stay sober is crucial. Going through detox and treatment only to relapse is not an effective use of your time or energy. Planning for aftercare following your initial treatment helps you transition back into your life in a healthy way. By taking advantage of aftercare planning during residential treatment, you can prepare to prevent relapse and have success in your recovery.

What Is a Relapse Prevention Plan?

Investing your time in treatment is the beginning of your recovery journey. From there, you will still need to continue to work to prevent a relapse throughout your recovery. Making a plan to prevent relapse will be key in those moments when you face a trigger or a craving hits. A relapse prevention plan consists of continued education, aftercare treatment, support, daily routines, and coping skills and strategies that will help you through those difficult days and moments. This plan is designed by you to be used for you when you need it most.

What Is Aftercare Planning?

Following your residential treatment, you have the opportunity to make plans for aftercare. This can include an outpatient (OP), intensive outpatient (IOP), or partial hospitalization (PHP) program, depending on your needs and means. These programs range anywhere from about 10 hours per week to 30 or 40 hours per week, but you will live at home during the full length of the program. Programs like these help you transition from the more restrictive, fully residential care to an increased level of independence while still receiving education and support.

Planning for aftercare can make a significant difference in the success of your recovery; that is why we make sure to help you make plans before you leave treatment. Planning for these programs happens during your residential program. At The Ho Tai Way, we help connect you with an outpatient program that meets your needs and give you the opportunity to select a program after speaking with someone there.

Do I Need Aftercare After Treatment?

During residential care, you will be able to detox and then learn and process as much as you can within your initial 30 days. Because you reside at the facility, you will have around-the-clock observation access to the care you need throughout each day. Making that transition home can be difficult during early recovery. Most people benefit from the support of aftercare.

Aftercare in the form of an outpatient program can provide you with continued support while still allowing you to begin to transition back into some normal, independent living. Aftercare aims to reinforce what you have learned in treatment and help you prevent relapse. Most women who attend an aftercare program have greater success without relapse. In contrast, those who do not attend an outpatient program may fall on the other side of the relapse statistic. The support of aftercare can significantly lower your risk of relapse as you transition back home in a healthy way.

Developing Coping Skills and Strategies

Another part of your relapse prevention plan involves developing coping skills and strategies. These skills are initially learned in treatment, and you can continue to learn and practice them indefinitely throughout your recovery. Some of the more common strategies include:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Distraction techniques
  • HALT (avoiding being Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)
  • Urge Surfing
  • Sensory grounding techniques
  • Exercise

Practicing these strategies helps to prepare you for a craving or a trigger. The more skills you have, your resolve will be stronger when an actual craving hits. Learning to be still simple can be challenging, but you gain more control over your mind when practicing these skills. The more strategies you have, the more tools you will have to try when you are mid-craving and none of your other strategies are working.

Creating a Support Network That Works for You

Another aspect of your relapse prevention plan is your support network. This includes your friends, family members, peers, neighbors, coworkers, therapists, clergy members, and anyone else you can think of in your life that can be there and offer support for you. Creating this support network allows you to always find someone available to call whenever you are struggling mentally, emotionally, or physically with potential relapse.

Your support network should be built with people from many walks of life. You should also stay in touch with your sponsor, if applicable, and attend your support meetings while in recovery. This will only strengthen your resolve in recovery and increase the size and scale of your relapse prevention plan.

What is a relapse prevention plan, and why should I plan for it? By making a relapse prevention plan, you are planning for your success in recovery. Taking the time to make an aftercare plan demonstrates your commitment to your recovery, and adding coping skills and strategies as well as a support network will help solidify your relapse prevention plan and strengthen your recovery. At The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women, we help you make your own relapse prevention plan and also help with your aftercare planning. Our detox and residential treatment center for addiction and co-occurring disorders are located in Costa Mesa, California. We use evidence-based practices and trauma-informed care to support your healing. You already have the tools inside you to achieve sobriety, and we help you use them. How can we help make your relapse prevention plan? Call us today at (714) 581-3974.