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How Often Should I Update My Relapse Prevention Plan?

As you know, a relapse is never out of the question, no matter how long you have been in recovery. This is why a relapse prevention plan is an important tool to have in your recovery toolbox. It can be easy to get into the mindset that everything is fine and you’re going to stay sober no matter what. However, you shouldn’t forget to use all the wonderful coping skills you learned during treatment. Those skills are included in your relapse prevention plan, which you can keep nearby as a handy reference.

This blog post will explore why it is important to update your relapse prevention plan regularly. It will also provide tips on how to update this plan and how The Guest House can assist you in creating an effective plan.

What’s So Important About Updating My Relapse Prevention Plan?

If you take several moments and visualize your time in treatment up to this present moment, a lot has happened to you. Life has had some ups and downs, but you have continued to work through things and prevailed even when adversity was present. You may not even realize it, but you have been using your relapse prevention plan.

While in treatment, you may have developed a relapse prevention plan that compiles all the beneficial resources you can use in recovery to keep you grounded and sober. Yet, just as you continue to change, your relapse prevention plan will continue to evolve. It is important to update this plan when any new life event happens.

A life event could include any of the following:

  • Marriage
  • Career changes
  • Divorce
  • A birth or adoption
  • Relocation
  • Illness
  • Death of a loved one

Any of these events could trigger a negative thought process. It is easy to want to believe that your recovery is permanent after completing treatment. Yet, recovery is hard work, not just for the person in recovery but for the support people who encourage recovery. The thought of all of that hope and effort being done in vain can be devastating. However, you have resources at your fingertips to ensure you prevent a negative outcome.

Simple Tips for Updating Your Plan

Updating your relapse prevention plan does not have to be a long drawn-out event. You can update it any way you wish. Whether you choose to update it as events occur in your life or every six months, the most important thing is to update it. Recovery is not black and white. Therefore, your relapse prevention plan will look different as you mature and change.

Simple yet effective tips for updating your relapse prevention plan include the following:

  • Add new support people: As you change, you will meet new people. You may want to include them in your relapse prevention plan.
  • Recognize potential stressors: Always add to the stress page, because inevitably there will be new stressors in your life.
  • Record any changes in your behavior: Have you changed anything? Your medications? Diet? Exercise? Isolation? Has anything happened that could interfere with your recovery?
  • Mental health: Are you taking medication? Attending individual therapy sessions? Are you being honest about your feelings and thoughts?

Updating your relapse prevention plan does not have to take hours. Instead, it can just be a quick and simple review. You may want to make this a scheduled event where you review and date it to ensure you did not forget to add anything. This could happen on a weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis. There is no definite timeframe for you to update your relapse prevention plan. It is more about you and what you feel comfortable with.

What Should I Include in My Relapse Prevention Plan as an Alumnus?

As we’ve been discussing, one of the most important pieces of recovery is your relapse prevention plan. Just as your life changes, so do your needs in recovery. Reflecting on all the things you learned in treatment can help you continue on the journey to a successful recovery. Developing a new relapse prevention plan is a commitment to yourself. It shows that you are dedicated to growth through recovery. Some aspects of the plan may include:

  • Daily gratitude statements
  • Any new positive support people
  • A list of what motivates you in recovery
  • Reflections on your “why” in recovery
  • Hobbies, recreational activities, or interests
  • A list of triggers
  • Long- and short-term goals
  • Goals you have accomplished

There is no right or wrong way to create a relapse prevention plan as an alumnus. The only thing you need to focus on is that you did it. As an alumnus, it is easy to get caught up in the thought patterns that you “should” already know all of this. It’s not true that you should already have everything figured out. Give yourself time and grace, and try to be kind to yourself during this journey as you work toward health.

How Can The Guest House Help With a Relapse Prevention Plan?

At The Guest House, treatment is our specialty. We understand the difficulty of trying to update your relapse prevention plan. You may be embarrassed that you’ve never updated it since being discharged from treatment. That is okay. After all, you are thinking about it now. At The Guest House, we go at your pace and never force you to go more quickly than you want. We have dedicated staff to assist you no matter where you are at in your journey.

Creating a relapse prevention plan as an alumnus can be difficult and frustrating. After all, you probably think you should already know everything about avoiding relapse. However, it is not about what you know; rather, it’s about reminding yourself of the many coping skills you’ve learned during recovery. Sometimes all you need is to hit the refresh button. At The Guest House, we believe that you can hit the refresh button as many times as it takes. You are our first priority and we will meet you right where you are at in your journey. Give us a call today at (855) 483-7800 to learn more about how we can help you thrive during recovery.