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Changes Treatment Center


Relapse Prevention – Early Warning Signs and Coping Methods

Relapse Prevention Methods

So you’ve made a change. Now, how do you maintain it? How do you recognize when the chance for a relapse has increased?

Making a change in your lifestyle isn’t any easy thing to do. Preventing relapse is critical for maintaining a sober lifestyle. One of the most important actions one can take while in recovery is choosing to abstain in the face of triggers of relapse. Here are some tips to help you stay on track.


What factors can trigger relapse?

The triggers for relapse are different in each individual, but there are some important high risk factors that are often likely to results in a relapse. Some of these factors include:

  • Celebrations: parties and celebratory events can trigger the desire to use alcohol or abuse substances because they often went hand in hand at the time a user was addicted.
  • Peer pressure or friends: Being around people who you used to use drugs or alcohol with can cause a person to relapse. Sometimes friends directly pressure you to use but often the pressure can be subtle and nonverbal.
  • Major life changes: Death in the family, loss of a job, moving, or any other serious life change can stir up strong emotions that can cause someone to relapse.
  • Exposure: For some, simply seeing the focus of their addiction can cause a lapse in sobriety.


What are some effective coping mechanisms?

  • Avoid people you used to use with or who make you want to use
  • Limit exposure to the object of your addiction and walk away when there are visual reminders.
  • Exercise regularly to release stress and help keep the focus on a healthy lifestyle
  • Practice mindfulness and meditation to stay in the present and not the past
  • Attend group support meetings and lean on your support system
  • Remind yourself of all the negative consequences. Make a list of all the repercussions if you choose to use again.
  • Seek professional help. If you are not currently in treatment and find yourself near relapse, it’s a good time to reach out to a professional who is trained at helping you navigate these challenges.
  • Make sure to strike a healthy balance between work and fun to limit stress. Take part in hobbies you find enjoyable.
  • Visualization techniques can help. Visualize your urge to use as a wave that will pass.


You’re not alone in your struggle to remain sober. Getting clean is a process and relapse is often thought of as a natural part of the process. Don’t give up hope if you relapse. Changes Treatment can help you achieve the healthy, sober lifestyle yo