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How Will a Drug Rehab Center Help Me Create a Relapse Prevention Plan?

creating a relapse prevention plan

Millions of people in the United States live with substance abuse or addiction to drugs and alcohol. Many people require treatment to overcome these conditions and to live healthy, sober lives. But even after completing treatment, 40-60% of people in addiction recovery will have at least one relapse–a return to substance abuse after a period of abstinence.[1]

A relapse can make people doubt their ability to live a sober lifestyle. Some may believe that treatment isn’t effective or that they simply aren’t ready to leave their substance use behind. They may feel that their addiction is too deeply-rooted or severe to work through.

Addiction is never “cured,” even with the best treatment. Instead, people in recovery must develop and follow an aftercare plan that includes the ongoing support and treatment needed to live without drugs and alcohol.

For most, the journey of addiction recovery is full of progress and setbacks. Learning from each setback and moving forward is the most important thing. Creating a relapse prevention plan during treatment can help you hit the ground running in recovery. Knowing how you will handle challenges and having support in place can help you avoid the pitfalls that can prevent you from staying committed to your new sober lifestyle.

What is a Relapse Prevention Plan?

Prolonged substance use and addiction can change the way your brain and body function, making it almost impossible to stop using drugs without treatment. Many people experience cravings for months–or sometimes longer–after completing a treatment program. And while life in recovery is very different from life with addiction, the people, places, and situations associated with substance use still exist.

Managing life in recovery comes with its share of challenges. Having the tools and support you need to address these challenges is critical. And since addiction isn’t cured, staying engaged and committed to sobriety for the rest of your life is essential.

This is where a relapse prevention plan is helpful. A relapse prevention plan can include specific forms of support and activities that will help you stay committed to recovery. Key aspects of a relapse prevention plan include:

  • Learning the stages of relapse
  • Identifying the signs of relapse
  • Identifying relapse triggers
  • Learning ways to cope with triggers
  • Creating a plan to set into action if you think a relapse is coming

How Will My Rehab Center Help Me With Relapse Prevention Planning?

Relapse prevention planning is likely to be included in your treatment plan during rehab. Your treatment team will help connect you with local support and resources and can guide you as you create your plan.

Your therapist and clinical team will help guide you through the steps of creating an effective relapse prevention plan. These include:

  1. Set goals: Decide what is important to you in your new life and what you’d like to work toward. These may be goals related to your health, relationships, work, education, or other personal needs.
  2. Identify your triggers: Work with your therapist and treatment team to identify which people, places, dates, and situations lead to cravings or threaten your progress in recovery.
  3. Think about self-care: Plan to take care of your health and overall well-being so that you can feel your best and have the energy you need to stay active in recovery. Build a healthy routine that includes time for exercise, regular nutritious meals, socialization, work, hobbies, and rest.
  4. Recognize the warning signs: Learn what happens to your body and emotions before a relapse.
  5. Develop new strategies: Learn and practice new coping skills. Improve your communication with others, learn how to dial down stress, and practice positive self-talk. Know which relapse prevention strategies work for you and when to use them.
  6. Have a list of actions you’ll take: Create an action plan of clearly-defined steps you’ll take when you’re triggered. You might call a friend or sponsor, attend a 12-step meeting, distract yourself with a hobby or exercise, or leave a triggering situation.

A rehab center’s staff can help you define your goals and outline actions to take when you feel overwhelmed. They can connect you to resources that offer the ongoing support you’ll need to manage recovery after completing your treatment program.

relapse prevention

Get The Care You Need and Deserve

Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment is a leader in the addiction treatment field, with proven success in facilitating long-term recovery. Our team of top clinical & medical experts specializes in treating addiction coupled with mental illness, ensuring that each person receives individualized care. Call us – we’re available 24/day, 7 days/week.

Find Help Now

You don’t have to manage addiction or recovery alone. At Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment, we know that the transition from treatment to your daily routine is not an easy one and that is why relapse prevention and aftercare planning are so crucial. Your treatment team will be there to guide you throughout treatment and you will work together to come up with an aftercare and discharge plan that is best for you.

Reach out to the Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment specialists today for help with relapse prevention planning or to learn about starting a treatment program.


Inessa Maloney, MS, LMHC
Clinical Director

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