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

Recovering from any addiction takes time. You did not develop your addiction over night and it will not go away that quickly either. It is important to remember that no one can recover perfectly and there will be slips and relapses during the recovery process. This is normal and it is to be expected. The Relapse Prevention Plan is something that may be helpful to you in preventing a relapse.

Things Which May Cause Slips and Relapses

bulletDealing with the underlying issues in therapy
bulletBecoming overwhelmed by feelings and emotions
bulletDeath of a family member, friend, etc.
bulletMarital and family problems
bulletFeelings of loneliness, shame, guilt, anger, and abandonment.
bulletPeople’s reactions to changes you are making in your life
bulletFear of change and/or living without the eating disorder

These are a few things that can cause someone to have a slip or relapse. At the time, the person may be overwhelmed by any of the above and end up resorting to old methods of coping.

1.  Create your own list of things that you feel may cause you to have a slip or relapse:

2.  List each situation that may cause you to relapse on the left and on the right, list a healthier way of dealing/coping with it. (You may list more than on way to cope for each situation.)

Most people with addictions are very hard on themselves. Putting themselves down, calling themselves names, convincing themselves they are a failure, etc., are all things that can lead to slips and relapses. The section below will be a difficult one to complete, but it is important to try and change negative attitudes you have about yourself into positive ones.

3.  On the left side, list the negative dialogue you use on yourself or hear. On the right side, challenge those same negative statements and replace them with positive ones. When you find yourself overwhelmed with negative thoughts, take out this list and practice telling yourself the positive ones. Even if at first you do not believe them, the more positive messages you give yourself, the more likely you are to start believing them.

   NEGATIVE                                                              POSITIVE

Whenever you find yourself making negative comments to yourself, be sure to pull out this list, write down the negative statement and turn it into a positive one. Try to do it each time you catch yourself being hard on yourself so that you do not spend the whole day, week, etc. with this negative thought going through your head. You do not deserve to put yourself down, you are a wonderful person and it is important that you learn how to love and respect yourself. By being able to take the negative statement and turn it into a positive one, you will be taking the necessary steps towards learning to love and accept yourself for who you are. The more positive messages you give yourself, the better you will start to feel about yourself.

4.  In times of crisis, it can be difficult to remember healthy ways of coping. Many people in crisis do resort to familiar ways of coping. Making a plan ahead of time can be helpful. Make a list of 10 things you can do instead of using the eating disorders as a way to cope. After the list is completed, keep it in a place where it can be accessed when needed. ( i.e. refrigerator, cupboard, etc.)


  1. _____________________________________________________________________
  2. _____________________________________________________________________
  3. _____________________________________________________________________
  4. _____________________________________________________________________
  5. _____________________________________________________________________
  6. _____________________________________________________________________
  7. _____________________________________________________________________
  8. _____________________________________________________________________
  9. _____________________________________________________________________
  10. _____________________________________________________________________

5.  It is also important to reach out during times of crisis, when you are feeling scared, alone, out of control, etc. Talking about your feelings can help to relieve some of the anxiety that you may be having and can help to prevent a slip or relapse. Reaching out also helps to remind you that you are not alone. Below write down names and numbers of people you can reach out to. You may find it difficult to reach out, but the more you do it, the easier it will become. The person that you call will be glad that you did, will welcome the call, and be there for you the best way that they can.

NAME                                                                  PHONE NUMBER

6.  During the recovery process it is not always possible to avoid slips and relapses. Many people tend to be very hard on their selves if they do have a slip or relapse. It’s important to remember that no one can recover perfectly. If you have a bad day, you can forgive yourself, put it behind you, and continue to move forward in your recovery. A good saying to remember is, "Yesterday is but a dream. Tomorrow a vision of hope. Look to this day for it is life." We cannot change yesterday so it is important not to dwell on what happened yesterday, we cannot spend time worrying about relapsing in the future, because we cannot predict the future. All any of us have is today and we must live for today. Do the best that you can and be proud of yourself for having the courage to continue to fight your eating disorder. It takes a lot of strength and courage to do that and that is something you can be proud of. If you do experience a slip or relapse, it is sometimes helpful to try and figure out why it happened. Below is a list of things that you can do if you experience a slip or relapse.

bulletSit down and try to figure out how you were feeling before the slip/relapses occurred.
bulletWrite about how you felt before, during and after.
bulletMake a plan of how you will handle the situation, feelings, emotions, etc. when it happens again, but in a healthier way.
bulletCall someone and talk about what happened and how you feel. (i.e. friend, therapist, family member, etc.)
bulletRemind yourself that just because you had a slip/relapse, does not mean that you have failed. It only means that there are feelings inside that need to be dealt with.
bulletBe gentle with yourself and do something nice for you. (i.e. soak in hot bath, take a nice walk, read a book, etc.)
bulletRemember that there is no shame in having an eating disorder, there is no shame in having a slip or relapse and it is okay to reach out and talk about it

7.  Below make a list of things that you can do to help yourself get past the feelings you may experience after having a slip or relapse:

bullet _____________________________________________________________________
bullet _____________________________________________________________________
bullet _____________________________________________________________________
bullet _____________________________________________________________________
bullet _____________________________________________________________________
bullet _____________________________________________________________________
bullet _____________________________________________________________________
bullet _____________________________________________________________________

Remember that you are not alone and even if you do have a slip or a relapse, you will get through it. Recovery takes time, but if you want to recover, you can and will.   I hope that this relapse prevention plan will be a helpful tool for you in your recovery process.


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Our main purpose is to support all 12 step programs and people in all stages of recovery. All views and opinions in The Sponsors Aide represent those of the writer's only and do not represent anything else unless otherwise identified by comment.  We hope this site helps.

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This Website was last updated on:  June 16, 2008

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    Disclaimer: This site is NOT endorsed nor sponsored by Alcoholics Anonymous or any group and is not intended to offer specific advice to persons in recovery or contemplating recovery. This site DOES, however, attempt to follow the 12 Traditions of AA. Contact your local Alcoholics Anonymous Intergroup Office for direct info on AA, for info on meetings in your area, and if you'd like to speak with someone regarding alcoholism. This site is produced in the spirit of AA's Twelfth Step - to carry the message. When reading the experience, strength and hope on this site, we remind you that AA's "public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films."