Relapse Prevention for Addiction Recovery

At Discovery Transitions in Los Angeles, we believe that recovery is a continuing process and that it is our responsibility to provide the tools to not just get clean and sober but also to remain clean and sober by developing effective rehabilitation services that are life-changing. Addiction relapse prevention is a vital tool for maintaining the benefits of treatment and avoiding the pain of repeating the fatal cycle of addiction. elapse prevention is a vital tool for maintaining the benefits of treatment and avoiding the pain of repeating the fatal cycle of addiction.

Relapse generally occurs when the fundamentals of addiction therapy are forgotten or have become a lesser priority as the addict or alcoholic begins to feel better. Recovery is about approaching the world and its people—and one’s own self—from an entirely different perspective. If the recovering person loses sight of their new recovery perspective and reverts to “old thinking,” a drink or a drug is the likely outcome. The thought that “I deserve it,” or “I can handle it now” can re-assert itself in spite of massive evidence to the contrary. The term relapse is defined as returning to a previous state. At Discovery Transitions, it is our goal and objective to enhance effective addiction relapse prevention skills needed for success. 

Table of Content

Relapse Prevention Therapy

As you know, there is no cure for the chronic disease of addiction. Therefore, occasional reoccurrences of symptoms are common. Drug and alcohol relapse prevention therapy provides tools for recognizing the signs of relapse and implementing appropriate preventative strategies. Counselors and loved ones will usually recognize the shift in attitude before the “slip” actually occurs. The goal of relapse prevention therapy is to minimize the frequency and severity of the symptoms of addiction.

The Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington has provided excellent material on Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP), incorporating cognitive-behavioral techniques and mindfulness meditation to prevent relapse.

The following information on the primary goals of MBRP is directly from their published guidelines:

  • Increase awareness of triggers
  • Develop skills for coping with cravings
  • Become more familiar with patterns of the mind and how it relates to relapse
  • Changing our relationship to discomfort, learning to recognize challenging emotional and physical experiences, and responding to them in skillful ways.
  • Foster a nonjudgmental, compassionate approach toward ourselves and our experiences.
  • Learn to stay present with and respond differently to all experience (stress, anxiety, depression, craving), rather than react in harmful ways, as a strategy for addiction relapse prevention.
  • Build a lifestyle that supports both mindfulness practice and recovery.

Common signs of potential relapse include:

  • Irritability,
  • Dissatisfaction with how things are going
  • Anger and resentment
  • A tendency to blame others for the ongoing conflict
  • A lack of gratitude
  • Impulsiveness (with unsatisfactory outcomes)
  • Fear

Depression, anxiety, and hopelessness generally follow unhealthy behaviors , which is why drug and alcohol relapse prevention is crucial leading to relapse. Some people leave treatment and everything seems to be going well. As a result, they feel cured and—absent any of the above symptoms—find themselves at a party or event where alcohol or drugs are available. The consequences of relapse don’t come to mind. Then, the first drink or drug initiates the entire cycle that brought them to treatment in the first place.


Staying sober in the protected environment of rehab is relatively easy. At Discovery Transitions, we want to ensure that you have the skills to maintain long-term sobriety outside of rehab. Our relapse prevention addiction program will help you gradually change self-defeating behavior. When you leave our outpatient drug rehab in Los Angeles area based program, we want you to be prepared to lead a lifestyle that supports your well-being and your recovery.

How Common is Relapse After Leaving Rehab? 

It’s important to know the statistics about relapse so that you can understand how easily it can happen and that the mental and physical effort to stay clean must become a priority after leaving rehab. It is estimated that roughly 40 percent and 60 percent of all alcoholics and addicts will inevitably relapse. 


However, don’t let that make you feel hopeless. Once you understand the high probability of relapse and have the right tools to maintain sobriety, you have a fighting chance to stay on track — and that is what we are here for. You are not alone. 

The Importance of Learning Relapse-Prevention Skills 

Someone puts their hand in the way of a line of dominos falling, simulating the experience of preventing the vicious cycle of drug and alcohol relapse

Stopping the domino effect concept for business solution, strategy and successful intervention


Addiction can have a devastating impact on your ability to maintain coping skills. After in-house rehab, it’s important to redevelop skills that can help you navigate triggers successfully. Some of the most common triggers that lead to relapse include relationship problems, health issues, financial concerns, stress, boredom, fear, and falling back into old patterns. 


Some of the most useful life skills to learn include: 

  • Learning self-care and compassion 
  • Mindfulness meditation and deep breathing 
  • Knowing your triggers 
  • Join a support group 
  • Learning grounding techniques 
  • Draw up an emergency contact list 
  • Imagining what will happen when you use it again (play through the consequences) 
  • Knowing when to ask for help 


Relapse Doesn’t Always Have to Be a Part of Recovery 

A partial or full-blown relapse is so common that it is often viewed as part of the recovery process. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. When you learn healthy behaviors, you can protect yourself from a relapse. 


We understand that facing the world with all of its problems and triggers can feel overwhelming, and that’s normal. That is why, at Discovery Transitions, our experienced team is ready to make sure that you get through the day and get the most out of life. 


Step Onto The Path To Recovery Today!