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Preventing a relapse

Changing habits can take a few tries.

A slip-up (relapse) is when you go back to alcohol or drug use after you have stopped. 

It can be helpful to prepare for a slip-up. If you are prepared, you are less likely to have one.

Having a slip-up doesn’t mean you can’t do it or won’t succeed in the end.

Some things that can lead to a relapse

  • Being in a high-risk situation before you were ready.
  • Coping with a difficult emotional situation.
  • Thinking you could have just one drink or use a small amount of drugs.
  • A lack of support, if you need it.
  • Coping with withdrawal or cravings.
  • Pressure from other people.

Try again

Remind yourself why this change is important to you. Look over your reasons for changing again.

It might be helpful to write down the pros and cons. Do this on a piece of paper or download and print our Decisional Balance Worksheet (PDF).

Set a new date and make a new plan. 

Think about what was difficult for you last time and how you will handle it next time.

You might use some supports, including:

  • professional support
  • peer-support from people going through the same thing
  • friends and family

page last reviewed: 08/11/2019
next review due: 08/11/2022