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Powerful Relapse Prevention Strategies to Try

Powerful Relapse Prevention Strategies to Try

Going through our Chicago PHP is one thing, but staying sober after rehab is another.

After treatment, powerful addiction cravings can arise. If you do not know how to handle these drug cravings, they could be overwhelming and lead to relapse. Instead of letting them derail your recovery progress, good drug and alcohol relapse prevention strategies can help you stay on track.

The Reality of Relapsing

Addiction relapse prevention strategies are so important because drug triggers can come from almost anywhere and can arise even years after you are sober. They can range from relatively mild to so strong you struggle to combat them. While you may do your best to avoid certain environments or situations where triggers are common, dodging all addiction cravings is unrealistic. Some of these triggers may be physical objects or places, while others may have mental and emotional causes that you cannot avoid.

Common relapse triggers include:

  • Stress
  • Boredom
  • Anxiety
  • Hard times
  • Major life changes or events
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Certain people
  • Specific places or environments associated with your past addiction

Unfortunately, because of the prevalence of triggers out there, many people in recovery will relapse, but it does not have to be the end of their sobriety. Relapse may be a steppingstone in the recovery journey that helps you learn how to better handle certain triggers. If you do relapse, you should seek help immediately to keep this relapse from getting worse. Our stabilization program is a relapse recovery program in Chicago that helps people who stumbled in their sobriety get back on track and learn better relapse prevention strategies for the future.

The Best Relapse Prevention Strategies and Techniques

Because addiction triggers are unavoidable, it is important to have good coping strategies in recovery to help you combat them and avoid relapse.

Stop & Think

Sometimes negative thoughts can begin to cloud our minds and lead to irrational or overwhelming ideas. Because addiction can be tied to emotions, these negative thoughts may be a strong drug trigger. To quiet these dangerous ideas, take a moment to stop and analyze your feelings. In rehab, you may have done this with cognitive behavioral therapy, but these techniques are even more important now that you are on your own. Breaking down these negative thoughts and seeing the faulty logic in them can help you feel less overwhelmed and avoid relapse.

Breathing Exercises

Especially in times of stress, taking time to focus on your breathing can help you avoid relapse. When you are feeling overwhelmed, these breathing practices can help you feel a sense of calm. Once you are able to lower your stress levels, you are better able to handle the situation without resorting to drugs or alcohol.

Step Away

This is one of the most important relapse prevention strategies. When you come in contact with people or places that leave you feeling triggered, do not feel bad walking away. Just getting some distance and separating yourself from these physical triggers can help you feel much better and more in control.

Stay Busy

Especially if your boredom is a contributing factor to your addiction cravings, it is important to get busy. If you find yourself feeling like you might relapse, go do something. Clean, connect with friends, exercise, do some work, or go outside. Do anything you can to shift your focus elsewhere. You will find that if you can do this, the cravings will wane.


If your emotional state is the cause of your cravings, you need to work through them. One proven way to boost mood and help manage emotions is journaling. When you write freely about your feelings, you may gain new insight that can help you better understand why you are feeling the way you are and how to cope with these feelings without drugs or alcohol.

Seek Help

You should not have to go through your recovery alone. The support of close friends and family can help immensely, especially in early recovery. Any time you are feeling triggered, reach out to someone for help. Having someone there who can keep you accountable and support you when you are feeling down can help you stay sober.

As providers of substance abuse treatment in Chicago, we help people not only get sober but also learn how to stay sober outside of recovery. Recovery from an addiction is a long and trying process, but we want to be there for you and your family every step of the way.

To learn more about our programs at Banyan Chicago or to begin the journey to sobriety, call us today at 888-280-4763.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.