Relapse Prevention Groups: Activities And Importance

Relapse prevention groups are a type of addiction group therapy. They focus on identifying relapse triggers and managing them effectively.

Relapse is a common concern for people in recovery. After intensive addiction therapy, many people are unsure of what they should do next.

Fortunately, addiction care does not have to end after rehab. Relapse prevention groups provide an option for people who want continued treatment.

A relapse prevention group is a type of group therapy that focuses on recognizing the signs and potential triggers of relapse before it happens.

Participants learn strategies that can help them avoid using drugs or alcohol.

Why Are Relapse Prevention Groups Important?

Relapse prevention groups provide several benefits for participants. People can attend these groups to maximize their chances of success in recovery.

Extended Addiction Care

Intensive rehab provides a highly structured environment. When participants have a solid routine, that routine can help them deal with the complications of substance abuse.

However, once a rehab program ends, participants may struggle to find healthy ways to fill their free time.

Many rehab programs offer addiction aftercare for this reason. Aftercare is a long-term, less intensive addiction therapy that helps people continue with their recovery.

Relapse prevention groups offer one option for aftercare. Through these groups, people can establish a routine after intensive rehab comes to an end.


According to research on addiction and loneliness, people with addictions often have higher rates of loneliness than their peers who don’t have an addiction.

Loneliness is a prominent risk factor for addictive disorders, and for people in recovery, it may contribute to relapse.

Relapse prevention groups may reduce the risk of loneliness by providing a supportive community.

What Activities Take Place In Relapse Prevention Groups?

Specific activities can vary from group to group, but in general, relapse prevention groups help people understand their triggers and implement a plan for dealing with them.

Building Distress Tolerance Skills

Drugs and alcohol are sometimes used as coping mechanisms during stressful situations. Distress tolerance skills provide healthier alternatives.

Distress tolerance skills are techniques that people may use to deal with difficult emotions such as stress or fear.

Some examples of distress tolerance skills include:

  • bringing awareness to the body
  • using relaxation and grounding techniques
  • finding healthy distractions
  • exercising
  • engaging the mind in a different activity
  • taking a break
  • looking for meaning in difficult situations
  • making pros and cons lists

These skills require practice before they can become automatic responses to distress. Relapse prevention groups provide a time and place for this practice.

Identifying The Early Stages Of Relapse

Relapse often occurs gradually and with early warning signs. For example, a person may be at risk for relapse if they emotionally withdraw from friends and family.

Relapse prevention groups can help people identify concrete signs of relapse. By recognizing these signs in themselves, people can prepare themselves appropriately.

Identifying Relapse Triggers

A trigger is something that puts people at a greater risk for relapse. Triggers vary from person to person, but they can include difficult emotions, memories, people, and environments.

For example, an environment with a lot of drugs can be a trigger for many people. An argument with family members may also be a trigger.

Relapse prevention groups can help people learn how to identify triggers and handle them appropriately.

Addiction Care At Spring Hill Recovery Center

Addiction is a complicated disorder, but it is treatable.

With relapse prevention groups and other types of therapy, people can prepare before stressful situations arise, gaining the tools they need for success.

Spring Hill Recovery Center offers several types of evidence-based addiction care, including relapse prevention groups and other forms of aftercare.

If you or a loved one may need substance abuse treatment, contact Spring Hill today to learn more.

  1. National Library Of Medicine — Continuing Care Research: What We’ve Learned And Where We’re Going
  2. National Library Of Medicine — Relapse Prevention
  3. National Library Of Medicine — Relapse Prevention And The Five Rules Of Recovery

Written by Spring Hill Recovery Editorial Team

© 2024 Spring Hill Recovery | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

Prefer Texting?
We've got you covered.

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.

Sign up for text support

Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.
Let us walk you through the treatment process. We're here to help.
For 24/7 Treatment Help:
100% Free & Confidential. Call (978) 321-2696
(978) 321-2696