3 Steps of Relapse Prevention

Book cover for "Garden Your Mind"

Relapse Prevention Requires Self-Care

  • Garbage Rules will prod you to face your self-defeating thinking that’s keeping you addicted.
  • Ego will help you to understand and overcome the underlying problem in your addiction.


  • List and practice the ways and methods that I use to stay healthy.
  • For example, I make sure I take care of the basics: eat right, sleep right, exercise right, use my support system.


List and look for the signs and signals that I am getting unhealthy. For example, I use the HALT formula to get myself to return to healthy behaviors.

  • The HALT formula is, “Don’t let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.”


  • I write and out and verify an emergency backup plan in case I am on the verge of relapse.
  • For example, I have permission from some people who I know how to get in touch with to call them for support at any time if it is a real emergency.


  • Look into all four domains: spiritual, mental, social, biological.
  • Am I meeting my spiritual needs through prayer, meditation, worship, and reading?
  • Am I meeting my mental needs through reading, writing, learning, and exploring meaningful ideas?
  • Am I meeting my social needs by having family and friends who support, encourage, and exhort me on a regular basis?
  • Am I meeting my biological needs by eating live foods, sleeping soundly, exercising regularly, etc.?

Here is a longer version of the steps for relapse prevention.

It was taken from 35 Stages of Switching, which is why the numbering might appear odd here.

24. make relapse prevention plan

25. work at the maintenance-plan level

26. discouraged about working

27. stop working: change is short-circuited

28. relapse: lose change

29. motivated to recover change

30. apply relapse plan

31. recover change

32. motivated to maintain change

33. revise maintenance plan (e.g., include more motivations or rewards)

34. revise relapse plan if needed (e.g., add new practices or resources)

35. work at revised maintenance plan

Related Pages

Quotations from Various Sources

Organized Alphabetically

“And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.” —Luke 12:22

“Believe in recovery, redemption, and rehabilitation especially when the world wants to punish you instead of to help you.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Correct it or accept it.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Detach with love.” —Al-Anon

“Even though a number of people have tried, no one has yet found a way to drink for a living.” —Jean Kerr

“Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing.” —Chuang-Tzu

“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.” —Anonymous

“Guilt is really the reverse side of the coin of pride. Guilt aims at self-destruction, and pride aims at the destruction of others.” —Bill W., As Bill Sees It, p. 140

“I didn’t cause it. I can’t change it. I can’t control it.” —Al-Anon

“I’ve developed a new philosophy–I only dread one day at a time.” —Charlie Brown

“Recovery does not take care of itself no matter how old it is.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Recovery is the process of recovering who you were as a child.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Recovery requires conquering the seven-headed dragon: physical, mental, emotional, social, motivational, renewal, spiritual.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Resolve to be thyself; and know that he who finds himself, loses his misery.” —Matthew Arnold

“Suffering isn’t ennobling, recovery is.” —Christian Barnard

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” —Matthew 6:34

“The AA program can be summed up in two words: acceptance and surrender.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“The attitude of unconditional self-acceptance is probably the most important variable in their long-term recovery.” —Albert Ellis, Rational-Emotive Therapy with Alcoholics and Substance Abusers, p. 71

“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer somebody else up.” —Mark Twain

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” —Matthew 6:25

“Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.” —Buddha

“You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with courage and with the best that you have to give.” —Eleanor Roosevelt