Relapse Prevention Plan
One of the most important steps for a person trying to overcome an addiction is the development of a relapse prevention plan. When dealing with substance abuse, getting clean and sober is the first priority. However, once this is accomplished, it is vital that a relapse prevention plan be developed and implemented in order to reduce the likelihood that one will turn to the addictive substance again.
To begin, one should consider one's personal history of addiction and what triggered one to turn to the addictive substance or behavior. Identifying these factors can help one avoid them in the future. Similarly, understanding the warning signs of addictive behavior - those behaviors that preceded one's addiction, whether they are physical, emotional, etc. - can help one to avoid the triggers that might cause one to relapse.
Having a support system is critical to a relapse prevention plan. This can include individuals one knows from support meetings, sober companions, friends and family that are aware of one's addiction and supportive in one's quest for recovery, etc. Whomever is necessary to help one maintain one's sobriety should be included in this support network. It is also essential that one have ways to distract oneself, focusing on one's own interests and developing hobbies so as to keep one from returning to old habits.
Finally, a relapse prevention plan should also contain a plan for how to handle things if one does relapse. By talking to friends and family that can help one get back into a treatment plan, by keeping connections with others who have gone through similar circumstances, and by maintaining a sense of realism that relapse is a very real possibility for all recovering addicts, one can not only increase the likelihood of maintaining one's sobriety, but limit the ill effects if a relapse does occur.