A relapse plan is money in the bank waiting for the addict when the recovering addict needs it. Whether next week or in years to come the plan represents the recovering addict’s best evaluation of what will keep him sexually sober. The plan will be needed! Successful relapse prevention is long term sexual sobriety. A relapse plan is an essential part of sexual addiction recovery.
When addicts complete rehabilitation for addiction, it is prudent for him to take steps to sustain sobriety. Perhaps the greatest fear addicts have is the risk of relapsing. This holds true for men who suffer from sexually addictive behavior. Sexual addiction is fickle, that is, it has a stronger chance of tempting a man who suffers from it because people are wired differently and can be easily triggered by what each man perceives as sexually enticing. Here are some thoughts about preparing a relapse plan.
What is a relapse plan?
A relapse plan is usually prepared after an addict achieves a period of sobriety. It provides the addict with reminders of his acting-out triggers and a multitude of strategies to forgo acting out.
A relapse plan includes a Relapse Contract that solidifies the addict’s recovery commitment. It defines the addict’s intentions to follow an agreed upon recovery script. The plan may be shared with one’s sponsor and spouse.
Relapse happens. Likely, the addict will face unexpected cravings to repeat previous behavior. A well thought-out plan, written and discussed in advance with his therapist or sponsor is intended to cause the addict to pause, consider options, and choose to refrain from acting out when faced with temptation.
Why prepare a relapse plan?
Relapse is not certain but neither is it unusual. If a relapse prevention plan assists the addict to forgo temptation most of the time, it has great value.
A treatment plan is prepared by the therapist whereas the relapse plan is prepared by the addict and reviewed by the therapist. The content of the relapse plan will include many elements originally included in his treatment plan but in detail.
What if the addict sips or binges and acts out?
A slip is a onetime act; relapse is binging. A relapse plan encourages the addict to resume sobriety without binging.
The addict is cautioned not to cross back over his recovery line and let one slip grant him permission to binge. If the addict acts out after a period of sobriety, he may be tempted to reason, ‘I slipped; I might as well act out again. I miss my old friend.’ Such reasoning ends the period of sobriety. Alternatively, the addict can reason, ‘I fell off my horse—I must get back up and continue my journey.’ In a month or so the addict can say, ‘I have been sober for ‘x’ with a slip at week ‘x.’’ To reconcile a slip, the addict is urged to share the slip with his sponsor in his Twelve-step group and resume honesty with self and others.