Even though I heard a lot of motivational quotes and touching stories in the meetings that I attended so far, only one managed to get stuck in my head:
ďRelapse may be part of my story, but it doesnít need to be part of my recoveryĒ
While it sounds great, I have to admit that policing your way into sobriety is no easy feat. This is why planning ahead could keep you on the right track.
Who can benefit from a relapse prevention plan?
Coming up with a plan to avoid relapse can be a good reminder for all of us who managed to abstain from alcohol for a while. However, I believe that those who are new to recovery and are currently facing challenges that seem small and easy for non-addicts are the ones who would benefit the most from a prevention plan.
Early recovery is a time when everything you knew crumbles around you and your whole world changes. Itís a period when you need structure and support in your life the most. Itís a tough point in time when you have to accept the fact that youíre not and cannot act like a non-addict. You have to admit that you have a real problem and that abstinence is part of the solution.
How does the prevention plan work?
I began working on my prevention plan by getting to know myself. One the most important realizations you can make during early recovery is that alcohol abuse is a life-long issue. Because the medical community has yet to unravel the roots of alcoholism, there is no cure other than abstinence. Therefore, knowing myself implies recognizing who I am and what Iím up against on a daily basis.
Admitting who I am wasnít enough to prevent a relapse. To avoid a return to addiction and all the pain it brought me, I had to accept my weaknesses and make some changes in my life. It didnít only imply letting go of people, places, and things, but most importantly it referred to the changes I had to make inside.
Itís impossible to shun the people youíve known forever. Furthermore, keeping alcohol from your proximity for the rest of your life is unfeasible. Because you canít ignore them, your only solution to staying clean and sober implies being aware of whatís going on and knowing what to do.
I used to enjoy the talks I had with my uncle after dinner during family get-togethers, particularly because they implied smoking a cigar and drinking neat whiskey until 1 am. Now that Iím sober, I still find our discussions pleasant, although they are a lot shorter; when the whiskey bottle pops open, thatís my cue to leave.
Where can I find a relapse prevention plan?
As with the road to recovery, I canít talk about an universal relapse prevention plan that will magically make your problem go away. Even though there isnít any one-size-fits-all solution you can download from the internet, there are certainly good forums you can check out for this purpose.
The plan Iím talking about is the one you need to create for yourself according to your own needs. Itís a chart you have to create on your own and although it sounds like hard work, it beats having to admit drinking to your sponsor and starting over all over again.