How to Prevent a Relapse

It seems as though as soon as you step into a substance abuse treatment center, they start warning you about the dangers of relapse.

This is a serious issue and unfortunately many people who successfully complete treatment eventually relapse at some point.

The best way to avoid a relapse is to have a plan in place to prevent it.  These are the items that should be on your plan.


Attend the Longest Term Treatment Program Possible

Experts agree that the longer the treatment, the more likely you are to build a solid foundation.

Find a Support Group

The type of support system you have is different for each person.  For some people, it will be their family while others will count on a close group of friends.  Clergy, co-workers, teammates and AA are other common options.

Whoever you choose, make sure you establish this connection BEFORE you need them.

It is important that your support group help you focus on finding solutions to your problems.  Too often, people think they have a support group, but later find out that those people are really just interested in helping to dwell on the problem.

Find a group that is really ready to support you if needed.

Stay Away From Your Drug-friends

A common mistake people make is to complete their drug treatment program and then immediately going back to hang out with their “friends” who they used to do drugs with.

This won’t work.  Those are the people who helped get you into trouble in the first place.  Hanging out with them will only pull you back into the life you just worked so hard to get away from.

Find Drug Free Activities

Since you can’t hang out with your old, drug-friends, it’s important to find other activities to keep you busy that don’t involved drug use.  This can include church activities, a new hobby, joining a team sport or looking around for other activities in your community.  There are hundreds of options out there, you just have to look for them.

Stay Away From Bars

Regardless of what substance your treatment was for, it’s a good idea to avoid places that are likely to have people abusing any kind of a substance.  If you’re trying to build a new life without drugs, don’t put yourself into a position to start abusing alcohol.

Avoid Prescription Drugs

Similar to staying away from bars, you should also avoid any prescription drugs that have the potential to be abused.  This includes things like sleeping pills, anti-depressants, pain killers, etc.

Take Care of Your Health

Good health is important for just about everything and this includes maintaining your sobriety.  Make sure you eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep and exercise.  The better your overall health, the less likely you will be to succumb to a relapse.


The most important thing is to be aware of potential triggers and avoid them as much as possible.  If you see signs that a potential relapse in on your horizon, contact your support group immediately and seek help, even if that means reentering treatment.

Remember, getting help too early is much, much, much better and easer than getting help too late.

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