When we are in recovery, we soon discover that the challenges of addiction don’t disappear overnight. We still face the same addictive urges and temptations. We still live with the stress and overwhelm that drove us to our addictions. One of the best ways we can maintain our sobriety is create a relapse prevention plan. When we are hit with urges, our instinct is often to respond with frustration, resistance and panic, which can make us more likely to run to our addictions to escape the painful emotions we’re feeling. Creating a relapse prevention plan for ourselves provides us with a useful and effective tool we can keep with us moving forward, to help keep us on track with our sobriety.
1. Create a Routine
One of the greatest threats to our sobriety is a lack of routine. If we are on vacation, are not working or in school, or don’t have another outlet for our time and energy, we are more likely to find ourselves swayed by the temptation of our addictions. Create a routine for yourself full of things you enjoy, healthy activities, and productive ways to spend your time. Make attending meetings, going to therapy and working with your sponsor part of this routine. Give your energy to keeping this routine and make it a commitment for yourself.
2. Find an Accountability Partner
When we have someone to be accountable to, we’re more likely to stay the course of our recovery. This partner can be a sponsor, another friend in recovery, a family member, therapist or mentor. This person should be someone with whom we feel comfortable checking in and giving regular updates on our progress. We shouldn’t be afraid to discuss with them any challenges, temptations or even relapses that may arise. Keeping track of our progress, even when we stumble, can help us keep ourselves on track.
3. Choose Calm
We commonly become stressed, anxious and panicked when we’re faced with an addictive urge. We worry we’ll relapse. We fear we’ll always be suffering in this way. When we practice mindfulness, we can more easily calm ourselves down, which can help us avoid some of the emotional overwhelm that can lead to relapse. Practice doing things that bring you feelings of peace and calm. Repeat calming affirmations such as “I will get through this. I am at peace. I am reaching my goals.” Use other calming practices such as meditation, journaling and talking with a supportive friend.
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