What is a good relapse prevention plan for addiction and recovery? I will tell you what has worked for me and what I see working for others. I am in a unique position where I get to see a lot of people fail in their recovery. I do not like watching people relapse but it has taught me a lot.
If you go to a treatment center and stay for a few weeks, they might give you a relapse prevention outline and sort of throw it in your lap when you have 1 week sober. This is a bit overwhelming in my opinion and it is not the right timing. At one week sober you need to focus on staying clean and sober each day as it comes and not get too far ahead of yourself. The emphasis should be on learning how to live a sober life and on networking with others in recovery.
A relapse prevention plan is a strategy. It is a strategy for long term sobriety. It is out of place when you have 7 days sober. In early recovery you need action, networking, and overwhelming force to stay clean. You need action every day. A good plan for early recovery is to live in long term rehab. A good plan for early recovery is to go to 3 meetings each day for the first 90 days. These are not sophisticated relapse prevention plans, these are brute force tactics that will keep you sober when it is hard to do so.
Later on in recovery, after you have a few months of sobriety under your belt, that is when you can start thinking about strategy. And in fact you should at this point. Many people fail to make the transition into long term sobriety. It is not the same thing as the brute force tactics that we used to make it through our first few weeks of sobriety. Instead, we need to focus on personal growth, holistic health, exercise, long term growth, spiritual growth, and so on. Our strategy has to shift because we are changing and growing in recovery. The old tactics no longer work for us. This is normal. Grow in recovery or face relapse. Simple as that.
So what is a good strategy? The creative theory in recovery seeks to answer that. Create a new life for yourself based on personal growth, helping others, positive action, and the push for holistic health. These are the basics that can lead to long term success.
The main idea behind relapse prevention should always be building self esteem and self worth. Why? Because doing so automatically protects you from relapse. We do not throw away that which we treasure. So you will have a tendency NOT to throw away your recovery on a relapse IF you start to value your life.
This is the key. You have to achieve stuff in your life and build something of value. It is then that you are most protected from throwing it all away on a relapse.
Relapse prevention is building self esteem. The two are synonymous. They go hand in hand.
You build up your self worth, you protect yourself from relapse. Simple as that.