Relapse prevention is possible with the right focus and intention. Learning to cope with cravings is only one piece of a bigger puzzle around resolution of old feelings which can lead to relapse. Find out some tips and suggestions for how to prevent relapse back into old addictive patterns.


Relapse vs. Setbacks

A simplified term for relapse is a setback. People progress into negative behaviors for a variety of reasons, many of which cannot be easily considered relapse. The difference lies in the following:


More subtle mistakes, obstacles and problems which arise in recovery.

Setback: something which happens to hinder or impede the experience of sobriety


Managing Setbacks

Referring to digressions as setbacks takes into account the ups and downs most people face when struggling to overcome substance use disorder. Not every situation is a setback and not every situation is a relapse. It takes discernment about what small pitfalls a person can get caught up in (setbacks) which may then lend itself to even bigger issues down the road (relapse).



The following are some tips to help an individual get aligned with what is important in sobriety (staying clean) and staying away from any situation where cravings and triggers may arise which lead to relapse.

Get honest

Determine whether or not the setback was a mistake or whether it was a lack of readiness to change. Often the real reason people go backward after a period of progress is not due to a relapse but rather a period of progress, especially early in recovery. It is worth discussing with an open mind to put prevention planning into place.

Do not give up

The single most important principle for eventual success in recovery is to not give up. Going backwards does not mean a person is not having some success overall. The process involves learning from mistakes.

Don’t feel discouraged

Discouragement saps strength and power from the process of recovery. Learn to get over discouragement and feel hope about the process working itself out over time.

Setbacks happen

Setbacks, relapses and other issues are part of life. Someone who is sincere in a desire for change will find relief in the fact setbacks are part of the process. Get honest about progress and decide what the focus of sobriety will be. Will it be to feel discouraged or empowered when things do not go as hoped.

By learning to deal with setbacks, it can help alleviate stress and anxiety about potential relapse. Life throws more at a person’s way than feels comfortable sometimes but it is possible to abstain from drugs or alcohol through the trials. Learning to cope more effectively will help the process feel less daunting and more encouraging that change doesn’t happen overnight and all hope is not lost.

If you are tired of setbacks and relapsing, call Hired Power. We can help get you on the right path to making better choices for your sobriety.


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