Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

5 Relapse Prevention Strategies and Techniques

Strategies and Techniques to Prevent Relapse

You’ve completed addiction treatment. Now it’s time to re-enter the world. You will want some relapse prevention strategies and techniques first. Maybe you’ve been drug-free for some time now and you’re just looking for tips. No matter what your circumstances, if you are in recovery, then knowing how to prevent relapse is essential. Let’s explore some of the most effective relapse prevention strategies and techniques.

What is Relapse Prevention?

What is relapse prevention? Relapse prevention is exactly what it sounds like. Adopting relapse prevention strategies and techniques in your life. Knowing how to prevent relapse is a critical part of recovery. Recovery is hard work. Most of us go through a lot of pain and struggle before we get recovery. The idea that we might lose what we worked so hard to get can be pretty scary. The right response to that fear is to build a relapse prevention plan. It’s not enough to make promises to yourself or anyone else. Every person who has relapsed with a substance use disorder (SUD) has made those promises. Most of them really meant it too. But addiction is a formidable enemy. Cunning, baffling, powerful as they say in the literature. To build an effective relapse prevention plan, you must understand yourself and be willing and relentlessly honest. Here are 5 core components of a solid relapse prevention plan.

Identify the risks and protect yourself from them

Start by identifying your triggers. Make a list of people, places and things which have triggered you to use in the past. Your list should include people and places you must avoid. It should also include emotions and feelings that you know have led to using in the past. These should become red flags for you. If you know you’ve picked up when you’ve felt humiliation or anger in the past, be aware of it! Develop ways to protect yourself from triggers. Make sure your sober supports are aware of your triggers too. If you want to know how to prevent relapse, you much first know what may trigger it.

Build relationships with sober supports

Building relationships in recovery comes easier for some of us than others. What is true for all of us is that relationships with people we can trust and confide in are an important key to a relapse prevention plan. It’s not enough just to go to meetings and slink out the door the minute it’s over. Sure, it can be a little uncomfortable to introduce yourself to new people. But a little awkward small talk never stopped you from getting to your drug of choice, did it? Don’t let it be an obstacle here either. You want to know how to prevent relapse? Having sober supports you can trust and open up to is a great way.

Find a new passion

It may sound a little cliché, but it absolutely works. Finding new, healthy ways to spend your time is one of the best relapse prevention strategies and techniques. Drugs and booze were a passion for us before. Or at least they sucked all of the oxygen out of the room and left little room for anything else. Now it’s time to fill that space with something healthy. Getting into working out and nutrition is an excellent option. Creative pursuits like art, music and dance can also perform that role. Healthy activities like this serve to better yourself. They make you stronger. Becoming stronger is how to prevent relapse.

Develop awareness and spirituality

One of the many beautiful things about recovery is that it is broad and inclusive. Awareness and spirituality are essential elements, but there are no hard and fast rules about how you attain them. If you have struggled with the higher power concept or spirituality in the past, start slowly. No one is going to insist you adopt religion. Understand though, that strengthening your self-awareness and sense of purpose and meaning is important. They are a key part of any good relapse prevention plan. Meditation, prayer and reading spiritual books are among the best relapse prevention strategies and techniques.

Embrace gratitude and kindness

You might not have expected to see this in a list of relapse prevention strategies and techniques. The fact is it is one of the most important items in the list. The attitude you have about life is a reliable indicator of the strength of your recovery. So is the way you treat others. The more you can live in gratitude and be kind and helpful towards others, the further you move away from relapse. That is a fact. Focus on what you are grateful for. Help others, especially people in recovery, with no thought of what you might get in return. You will find the rewards more valuable than you can imagine.


Relapse prevention strategies and techniques must be a part of your recovery toolbox. Recovery needs maintenance and protection, like any precious growing thing. Having a relapse prevention plan doesn’t mean you think you’re going to relapse. It means you recognize the value of your recovery. You take it seriously and you mean to protect it and make it stronger.

If you have questions about a relapse prevention plan or you or someone you know needs help, contact Long Island Rehabs.