Relapse Prevention

male group on hike for relapse prevention plan

Recovery can be extremely challenging, as it can create an immense sense of mental anguish at times. When a person is in active addiction, stopping using is generally very difficult. This principle is especially true if the person perceived a sense of comfort while in active addiction.  Recovery can be followed by a relapse, which is why relapse prevention is imperative to one’s recovery.

Rehabilitative treatment is geared towards maintaining sobriety, meaning there is a need for an effective relapse prevention plan. At Transcend we understand how essential relapse prevention plans and therapies are to one’s recovery.  We’re here to help create relapse prevention plans for all of our clients.

What Is Relapse Prevention?

A relapse can throw a wrench into any successful recovery effort. Even when a client has gotten treatment and is slowly reacclimating to daily life, the potential for relapse can become a concern. This trend is most prominent in the first 90 days of recovery, as that is the most likely period for relapse.

Transcend believes that with adequate support, making a full recovery is a reality. We intend to help our clients recognize this, which is where our relapse prevention plans come into play. 

The idea of relapse prevention involves helping our clients to strengthen the required skill set needed to maintain sobriety. Of course, developing these skills and leaning on them takes some getting used to, but we provide the necessary support at every step.

Through proper planning and execution, we contribute positively to the recovery effort, which benefits the personal growth of the client. We understand the risk of relapse at any stage of recovery, and this level of understanding is what allows us to provide adequate aid.

What Type of Relapse Prevention Plan Does Transcend Offer?

Helping our clients to stay the course of recovery is a task that we aim to approach delicately. Therefore, it is an area in which effective planning must take place. A relapse prevention plan needs to be a roadmap as well as a strategy. We need to be able to set adequate guidelines and measure the effectiveness of our efforts.

Our plan revolves around the pillars of support and community. This focus is due to the importance of these factors in a sustained recovery effort. To this end, we promote various meeting types in an effort to create an encouraging environment. 

The goal is to get our clients to identify themselves as a part of a community, as opposed to feeling like they are the only ones experiencing these issues. Once this is achieved, the Transcend team can identify when a person may begin to struggle and can intervene before relapse occurs.

Relapse prevention is not impossible, nor is it the end of the road. Therefore, we support those who have relapsed with adequate outpatient rehabs and sober companions when needed.

What Is the Best Way to Prevent Relapse?

Transcend acknowledges and appreciates the sheer level of difficulty present when overcoming any addiction. There is a process of consistent patience and practice to create success on the road to recovery.

The best way to prevent a relapse is to make fundamental lifestyle changes. The exact definition of insanity speaks to repeating a single course of action and expecting different results. We do not believe in approaching life in this manner and aim to help our clients understand how fundamental lifestyle changes can help liberate them from their addiction. Here are some of the practices used in relapse prevention:

  • Modifying associations – There are many cases in which the type of friends our clients had before recovery was a massive part of the problem. The temptation and its associated lifestyle need to be removed from the equation for the best possible outcomes. Associations that feed into the addiction typically lead to trouble.


  • Altering outing locations – Apart from people, there are also physical places that can trigger a relapse. For example, if alcohol was the drug of choice, then it may be best to avoid settings such as bars or nightclubs.


  • Adequate planning – This aspect is where elements such as the relapse prevention plan are drawn upon. There must be a total understanding of what is to be done to achieve a state of recovery.

What Are the Stages of Relapse?

Relapse is not something that happens overnight. It occurs in somewhat measurable stages. At Transcend, we understand the inner-workings of relapse, which is how we can adequately plan to address it. The stages of relapse are:

  • Emotional relapse – In this stage, a person’s mind may not directly be partaking in the addiction. However, there are behavioral patterns that start to occur as a part of post-acute withdrawal. Some of the signs include meeting absenteeism, anger, anxiety, isolation, mood swings, and defensiveness.


  • Mental relapse – You can imagine this state as an intense level of mental anguish. It is as if there is an internal war that rages on. At this moment, there is the thought of going back to using. However, the recovering part of you fights against it. Signs of this phase include fantasies about the addiction, lying, seeing the “good” in the source of habit, and returning to old circles.


  • Physical relapse – This stage doesn’t require much explanation. If someone experiences the first two stages and isn’t adequately supported, this stage occurs when the person starts using again. For example, a recovering alcoholic starts drinking again.

What Are the Best Therapies and Plans for Early Relapse Prevention?

If relapse prevention therapy is presented at an early stage, it generally refers to emotional relapse. The most important things for a person at this stage are recognizing that it is happening and altering the associated behaviors. If it manifests as anxiety, relaxation techniques may be helpful. If it presents as isolation, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. The person who is struggling must move back toward the point of adequate self-care as quickly as possible.

Transcend aims to create a supportive and community-based environment to motivate our clients at this early stage before things take a turn for the worst. The meetings offered are safe spaces that clients can use to gain additional strength needed to tackle the issues of emotional relapse. 

In addition to peer support groups, many people in recovery have found that having a mentor has been instrumental in maintaining their sobriety. Mentors act as an additional form of support, providing newly sober people with encouragement and accountability to their sobriety. A good mentor has a deep understanding of the intricacies of addiction; in fact, many mentors have struggled with addiction in the past themselves and can relate on an empathetic level with their mentee. 

Ultimately, there is no need for clients to address these issues alone. They are never left to feel like their conflicts are foreign, shameful, or isolated; instead, they are empowered to share their experience. This information can be used to plan effectively and to address any potential deterrents to a full recovery.

Why Relapse Prevention Fails?

Relapse prevention strategies are necessary for a successful recovery. The problem is many of the developed strategies don’t optimally address the issues. It’s as simple as “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Note that this is not an indication that failures only occur if no planning takes place.

Relapse prevention most often fails due to poor planning. Additionally, people in recovery are not always treated as individuals. In order to avoid these pitfalls, Transcend emphasizes comprehensive planning as a part of our relapse prevention effort.

The less detail a plan has, the more likely it is to fail. We can attest to our planning workflow, which creates actionable strategies, as opposed to just concepts being laid out. It is important to remember that people look at these things to maintain their sobriety.

Personalization is another crucial element. The plan must be designed to work for the person it applies to. Recovery is a difficult journey, as it is also a highly personal one. We see our clients as individuals and always plan with that mindset.

Finally, even in some cases where planning is done right, commitment, and accountability to the plan is missing. Both the plan’s creator and the client must collaborate and stay motivated to see the plan through.

How to Implement Relapse Prevention Strategies

When planning for something, an implementation phase typically follows. Relapse prevention is no exception to this. At some point, the developed plan must be executed in order to achieve the desired results.

The best way to go about successfully planning and implementing is to have professionals in your corner who have a vested interest in your needs and your recovery. Transcend recommends that you reach out to us for your relapse prevention strategy implementation needs. We guarantee support, guidance, and motivation throughout your recovery. 

Call the recovery specialists at Transcend today at 800-208-1211 or use our contact us form to see how joining the Transcend community can change your life.