Relapse Prevention in Recovery

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Relapse prevention (RP) is a cognitive-behavioral approach to relapse with the goal of identifying and preventing high-risk situations such as substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive behavior, sexual offending, obesity, and depression.[1] It is an important component in the treatment process for alcoholism or alcohol dependence.[2][3](Wikipedia)

Hi, it's Dermot again. If you read my last blog from 8th May, you will know that this is a follow up to that blog and part of a "Recovery from Addiction Series", If not read on:

Relapse Prevention

-Relapse Prevention
-Relapse Management


-A Brief Slip
-Backslide in Motivation – “loss of interest in recovery, disheartened, complacent”
-One Off Situation, Initially
-Happens at a Subconscious Level on many occasions & is NOT premeditated or planned.


-A Reinstatement of former unhealthy behaviors: “e.g. Staying in bed all day, poor self-care, isolation”
-A collapse in motivation: “e.g. Not wanting to attend aftercare or meetings”
-Return to active addiction: “e.g. drinking, using or gambling again”
-A Premeditated Process: e.g.” Once the negative signs are noticed and action is taken, a relapse
can be stopped”


-A Therapeutic Process for interrupting the Behaviours, Beliefs & Negative Self Talk, that lead to a resumption of prior negative patterns.
-Daily maintenance of a Balanced Lifestyle: “e.g. Regular eating pattern, good daily routine, a balance in work, rest & play”
-Open & Honest Talk.


-The actions used to work against the worsening of a Relapse and/or re-establish sobriety: “e.g. relapse groups, 1-1’s, post-relapse groups(Aftercare)”.
-Accept Relapse as a part of Recovery – A Learning Experience/ NOT a Failure!!: “e.g. If you learn from it & get through it, it will strengthen your self-efficacy”.


-Relapse is part of recovery and most people in recovery will or have had a relapse at least once.
-Although traditionally talking about relapse is frowned upon, it is NOT Taboo.
-It is a part of the recovery process & needs to be talked about without the fear of it happening again by doing so.


-Do NOT beat yourself up or Give up.
-Talk about the risks to you of a possible lapse, when you are craving or thinking about a future lapse, with family, AA, support groups e.t.c.
-If at first, you don't succeed, Try & Try Again.
-Learn from your mistakes & turn your relapse into a Pro-lapse.


-Every Lapse & Relapse begins with a choice (Thought).
-That choice may be conscious or subconscious.
-Decisions we make NOW, affect what we do next.
-Relapse is a process, Examine It!
-Focus NOT on the cause & effect, but the reason for continuing.
-Every Lapse results in a negative emotional response: (Guilt, Shame e.t.c)
-You can turn it Positive: “I Need To Stop NOW and get Support”
-Or it can stay Negative: “I was stupid to even THINK I could stop in the first place” “This proves that I am useless & can't do anything right, so I might as well continue…”


-Advance preparation can turn a lapse into a Prolapse.
-By being prepared for the possibility of a lapse and have a "plan of action" as what to do if it happens.
-Although no one consciously wants to relapse, being prepared for the possibility is better than not: “e.g. Fire Drills”


-Thoughts, feelings, behaviors, physical sensations & situations, are ALL linked.
-We all have control over our thoughts, thus our awareness.
-If you find you are feeling bad/ sad – Think Happy, Let Go of the bad feeling.
-If you're aware that you have slipped into old behaviors - Change Them.
-If you have a physical craving- Remind yourself that it will pass.
-If you are in a dangerous situation- Move or get away.


-Sitting on the fence.
-Every day we are ambivalent on many decisions we make.
-This includes our Addiction and ongoing recovery.
-It's very important to: "play the tape untill the end".
-Write up both Pros & Cons of both lapsing or not, NOW & in the future.

My Next Blog is Self Esteem

The articles in "Recovery from Addiction" Series, are the opinion of the author and if you would like to contribute to it, please leave a comment in the comment box below. If you want to subscribe, for free, to any further blogs of mine please leave your email in the blue box below.

Recovery is about growth and everyone does grow at a different pace. My advice to anyone in early recovery is to wait at least 2 years before making any major life-changing decisions that might have emotional ramifications. An example: get a mortgage, get married, change career, emigrate. In light of this everyone has dreams and we all do want to better our lives in one way or another, so it is important in early recovery to start to put those dreams into reality by creating achievable goals which can be reached in time. I found in my early recovery, although I had dreams, I wasn’t aware of creating goals and my life unfolded by default. It turned out well for me, but had I had clear goals, I do feel that it would have been even better.

I do try to learn from my mistakes, and that is why they are little miracles in themselves that happen for a reason. I am a growth-seeking being I will continue to seek change in myself. What motivates me is the Pain – Pleasure, which moves me away from my pain points (a lack of finances, time & peace of mind) to my pleasure points (freedom of finances, time & peace of mind). The way I have found to achieve this freedom and to move away from the “Groundhog Day” of life is through online marketing. I have taken this step into the abyss, I’m not tech savvy at all, and with the support of SFM, I am working my way through it. The internet is here to stay and is the future for all of us, so don’t get left behind because it is gaining momentum. If you want to learn what I am learning and are in a point in your life where you want change, then I offer you, through my mentors, a no obligation FREE 7 day video series to watch.


How to make your first 10K online!