If you are working to overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol, here\u2019s a basic truth: No one can do it for you. But here\u2019s another: Others can help. You\u2019re much more likely to make it to successful recovery if you have a strong safety net in place for preventing relapse. That means establishing connections to people and tools now that can help you later when challenges come. And if there\u2019s one thing you can count on when picking up the pieces after damaging substance use, it\u2019s that challenges will come. Think about your safety net. Is it strong? Will it support you when you stumble? Will it help you get back on your feet as soon as possible if you fall? Each person\u2019s safety net should be as individual as they are, but consider these key elements when building yours: Professional Support for Preventing Relapse Getting sober is only the first step. The hard part is changing behaviors and dealing with the triggers and discomforts that can spark relapse. That\u2019s where addiction treatment professionals, who can take the form of psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, counselors, doctors, nurses, recovery coaches and others, can help. For example: \tThey can educate you about the realities of addiction \u2014 that it is a brain disease that damages your ability to make good choices and control impulses \u2014 so that you can understand what you\u2019re up against and learn strategies for counteracting it. \tThey can connect you with the latest treatments and medications. With medication-assisted treatment, such as naltrexone, you can diminish alcohol cravings. Furthermore, neurofeedback to enhance brain function. \tThey can help you recognize and treat any underlying issue that may have contributed to the addiction or developed as the result of it \u2014 and which makes recovery harder. Depression and anxiety disorders are common, for example. Professional support can also help you develop internal motivation, and that\u2019s what you\u2019ll need most when the going gets tough. Social Support Essentially, anyone you think will be a positive influence on your ability to maintain your sobriety can be part of the social support in your safety net \u2014 family members, friends, religious or spiritual advisers, coworkers and others. These are the people who will cheer your efforts and be there when you need a reminder of all you\u2019re working toward. And don\u2019t just limit yourself to those you already know. This is a time to seek out others who know what you\u2019re going through because they\u2019re going through it too. There are countless places to turn: mutual support groups (both 12-step and non 12-step varieties), online support forums, and a whole range of organizations for those interested in sober activities, whether travel, sports, concerts, even sober tailgating. Just as important as who you surround yourself with for social support, however, is who you don\u2019t. Sadly, sometimes family and friends are part of the problem, not part of the solution, and the response must be to distance yourself as much as possible from the negative influence they can exert. Old friends you once used drugs with or drank with, for example, can trigger strong cravings to return to old ways. Protect yourself by keeping healthy boundaries as long as necessary. A Relapse Prevention Plan One of the best ways to prevent relapse is by creating a strategy for avoiding it. With a relapse prevention plan, you spend time analyzing yourself and your situation so you can recognize the things that are likely to challenge you in your recovery and react before things get out of control. Such a plan also includes specifics about what you\u2019ll do if you do relapse. While some may shy away from including such a pessimistic view, the reality is you\u2019re not planning for failure, you\u2019re planning for success. That\u2019s because having a plan for when you mess up means you are more likely to get back on track rather than give up in despair. A few key things go into making a relapse prevention plan: \tFirst, take a tough look at your addiction history. Seek patterns in your actions and ask yourself this crucial question: \u201cWhat did I get out of my substance use, and how can I get it in more healthy ways?\u201d For example, if your drinking helped you deal with stress, look into therapy, exercise, meditation or any number of other ways to address it. \tMake a list of red flags and triggers \u2014 things that indicate you are in danger of using. For example, what used to precede your substance use? Was it feeling lonely? Angry? Critical of yourself or others? If so, you now know to pay attention when these feelings return. You should also document anything that might act as a trigger and take steps to avoid it, whether it\u2019s a song you used to listen to when high or the neighborhood you once visited to drink. \tSpell out your emergency relapse plan. This is another time to turn to your social and professional support network. Perhaps you can select a family member or friend who will help you arrange a return to treatment if you relapse. Or you can choose a way for your therapist to be alerted. Spell out now what you know will help you at a time when you are likely to be confused and conflicted. These days, relapse prevention plans are a common part of addiction treatment and mutual support groups. If you\u2019d like to craft your own, a variety of templates and workbooks are available that can serve as guides. Crafting Your Plan Of those who try to overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol, an estimated 40% to 60% will relapse at some point, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. That means you need to take advantage of everything you\u2019ve got to beat the odds. Put together, these supports can become the basis for a powerful safety net, one that helps you focus on avoiding relapse but also one that acknowledges the reality of relapse and shows you how to keep it from beating you if it comes. If you need help preventing relapse, Promises Behavioral Health is here for you. We offer treatment programs for a variety of addiction, including: \tAlcohol addiction treatment \tCocaine addiction treatment \tHeroin addiction treatment \tMeth addiction treatment \tBenzo addiction treatment To learn more about how you can prevent relapse, contact us today at .