Relapse Prevention:
Relapse & Flare-Up Action Plan

Dual Recovery Anonymous™ is an independent, nonprofessional, Twelve Step, self-help membership organization for people with a dual diagnosis.

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Relapse & Flare-Up Action Plan

SLIP = Sobriety Lost Its Priority.

No matter how hard you work a program of dual recovery, there’s always a chance that you will face unexpected cravings, a relapse of your chemical dependency, or a flare-up of psychiatric symptoms.

Having a plan of action thought out and written down ahead of time to help cope with these situations can be extremely beneficial. Below are several example forms that may help you identify resources and create your own action plans. It’s good to be prepared for emergencies ahead of time.

Unexpected cravings happen to just about every person recovering from chemical dependency. They can be triggered by something seen on TV or in a magazine, a smell or sound that you might associate with drinking or using, a particular feeling or mood, and sometimes they just seem to come out of nowhere.

Sometimes they can be so powerful that you almost feel the taste in your mouth or swear you are smelling marijuana.

Nine times out of ten these sudden urges hit when we ‘are’ in a position to act on them. No one is around–no one is watching. It is very important to have a plan for these times. In the first months of recovery our most natural inclination will probably be to satisfy our cravings–that is a symptom of the disease of chemical dependency. Will-power and good intentions are not enough.

We need to take an alternative course of action. To sit and wrestle with the cravings is an unbearable situation for an addict or alcoholic. Instead, we have learned that immediately calling another recovering person is very helpful.

Getting yourself to a meeting or recovery club can be a life-saver. Other times going for a walk or vigorous exercise does the trick. We can reach out to our higher power for assistance and strength.

Over time these cravings diminish in intensity, however, people who have achieved long-term abstinence have learned to always take them seriously.

Though lapses in our abstinence aren’t desired, all need not be lost if and when they occur.

Though painful we can learn from our experiences in hopes to not repeat them. It is best to get right back into recovery and regain our abstinence as soon as possible.

The disease of chemical dependency is cunning, baffling, and powerful.

If we are prepared for the possibility of a lapse ahead of time it is more likely that we can keep it from becoming a full blown relapse.

At times, a flare-up of symptoms can render us incapable of making sound choices for recovery. This can happen in spite of our best efforts and all the progress we’ve made in dual recovery.

Sometimes our job is just to weather the storm in the most constructive way we can and keep in mind that these are no-fault illnesses.

Some members have found that having a plan of action in place before such a flare-up happens can be a great comfort and powerful recovery tool. They discuss a plan of action ahead of time with professional helpers, their sponsor, family, and friends.

Such a plan may make the difference between a mild flare-up of symptoms and a full-blown relapse of our addiction and psychiatric illness.

At times certain psychiatric problems and serious relapses can cause affected individuals to deny the problem and refuse help.

These situations can lead to emergency or involuntary hospitalization. It helps to discuss these possibilities ahead of time with our sponsors, supportive friends, concerned family members, and our helping professionals.

By sharing your concerns you can let your support network know how they might best help you if ever the need arises.

“Most things can be preserved in alcohol; dignity, however, is not one of them.”
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