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Relapse Prevention Facts


Resources on relapse prevention typically follow one of two theories – the Terence Gorski views addiction as a disease or, alternatively, the Alan Marlatt view of relapse as a symptom of maladaptive coping skills. However, many of the actual techniques are similar so the reader is invited to consider both conceptual models.


General Reading on Relapse Prevention

A Path to Relapse Prevention: The Inside Passage Volume II (2003) is part fiction, part self-help and the second book in a trilogy on alcoholism.

Dennis L. Siluk

Perspectives on Precipitants of Relapse (1996) reviews theoretical perspectives on relapse as well as a review of Alan Marlatt’s taxonomy of high-risk situations and other predictors of relapse. Cherry Lowman, John Allen, William R. Miller.

Relapse and Addictive Behaviour (1989) Is a collection of papers from leading contributors on relapse and addictive behavior including process addictions (eating disorders). Includes specific relapse information on alcohol, nicotine, heroin and other drugs. Michael Gossop (Ed.).

Printed Resources – Anger and Relapse Prevention

Anger and Relapse: Breaking the Cycle (1997) uses stories and examples from her own life, she helps readers identify the feelings, thoughts, and behavior that activate self-defeating responses, and provides step-by-step instructions for interrupting this cycle. Jo Clancy. Also has a teaching guide.

Printed Resources – Blacks and Relapse Prevention

Relapse Prevention Counseling for African Americans: A Culturally Specific Model (1997) adapts the CENAPS Model of Recovery and Relapse to the specific cultural needs of African Americans. There are a number of obstacles faced by African Americans that are not experienced by members of the majority culture who seek recovery. Roland Williams, Terence T. Gorski.

For more information on blacks and addiction see the Special Populations section.

Printed Resources – Cravings and Relapse Prevention

Understanding the Alcoholic’s Mind: The Nature of Craving and How to Control It (1989) Arnold M. Ludwig

Printed Resources – Dual Diagnosis (Mental Illness and Addiction) and Relapse Prevention

Addiction-Free Pain Management: The Relapse Prevention Counseling Workbook (1999) is designed for people with pain who require treatment that could include using addictive chemicals. By completing this workbook people will learn effective recovery skills by identifying and managing their personal High Risk Situations that lead to ineffective pain management or problematic use of pain medication. Stephen F. Grinstead, Terence T. Gorski.

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Double Bind: A Guide to Recovery and Relapse for the Chemically-Dependent Sexual Abuse Survivor (1992) Caryl Trotter.

Preventing Relapse is a self-help pamphlet to help individuals understand the relapse process. Looks at relapse for someone with a co-occurring addiction and mental illness. Katie Evans.

For more information on dual diagnosis see the Dual Diagnosis section.

Printed Resources – Prescription Drugs and Relapse Prevention

Safe Medicine for Sober People: How to Avoid Relapsing on Pain, Cold, or Any Other Medication(2005)  is a handbook for people in recovery from addiction and their medical providers. Covers prescription drugs that are safe for various health problems and others that could trigger a relapse. Jeffrey Weisberg, Gene Hawes.

For more information on prescription drugs see the Prescription Drugs section.

Printed Resources – Research and Relapse Prevention

Relapse (1996) addresses conceptual issues, summarizes research on relapse, and explores a varieity of theoretical and clinical models of relapse prevention. Several chapters describe practical applications used in various treatment settings. Dennis C. Daley.

For more information on research see the Addiction Research section.

Printed Resources – Self-Help Books on Relapse Prevention

Commitment to Sobriety: A Relapse Prevention Guide for Adults in Recovery (1991) is a guide for anyone who has stopped using alcohol or other drugs and wants to stay sober and drug free. Martin Fleming.

A Hole in the Sidewalk: A Recovering Person’s Guide to Relapse Prevention (2000) is a self-help workbook that is to be used as an additional tool for recovery rather than a program of recovery. Claudia Black.

How to Start a Relapse Prevention Group (1989) is a booklet that includes everything needed to get a support group started. Terence T. Gorski.

Kicking Addictive Habits Once & for All: A Relapse Prevention Guide (1998) is a self-help guide for changing addictive habits by establishing a balanced lifestyle based upon a scientifically researched relapse prevention model. Dennis C. Daley

A Look at Relapse (1974) is a self-help pamphlet that introduces the reader to relapse prevention. Charles W. Crewe.

Passages Through Recovery: An Action Plan for Preventing Relapse (1996) presents an action plan for preventing relapse. Describes six stages of recovery from chemical dependency. Terence T. Gorski

Relapse and Recovery Grid (1996) describes the process of recovery, identifies common stuck points, reviews both relapse-prone and recovery-prone styles for coping with stuck points. Terence T. Gorski.

Relapse Traps: How to Avoid or Escape Them (1998) provides coping skills in a self-help format for recovering alcoholics. Provides 65 life situations that could be potential “relapse traps” and how to create an action plan for each of them.  Robert Ramsey.

Relapse Traps: How to Avoid the Twelve Most Common Pitfalls in Recovery (1992) deals with twelve traps of relapse and four tasks that must be completed for the addictalcoholic to establish and maintain stable abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Based on the 12 Step model. Ronald Rogers.

Safe Medicine For Sober People: How to Avoid Relapsing on Pain, Sleep, Cold, or Any Other Medication (2005) Jeffrey Weisberg, Gene Hawes, Jeffrey Weisberg

Staying Off Cocaine (1990) Arnold M. Washton

Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention (1986) is a patient textbook written at a 8th grade reading level. Explains addictive disease, Post Acute Withdrawal (PAW), recovery, partial recovery, mistaken beliefs about recovery and relapse. the patient textbook for recovery and relapse prevention. Terence T. Gorski, Merlene Miller. Includes a supplemental workbook.

Trust the Process: How to Enhance Recovery and Prevent Relapse (2001) is for people frustrated by lack of tools for Recovery Enhancement programs. They report new feelings of hope and the loss of guilt after reading the book and completing the exercises. The book is illustrated to help people understand the concepts easier. Linda Free-Gardiner.

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Printed Resources – Stress and Relapse Prevention

Stress and Addiction: Biological and Psychological Mechanisms (2007) discusses the biological and psychological factors that lead to stress, one of the major causes of relapse. Mustafa al Absi

Printed Resources – Teens and Relapse Prevention

Adolescent Relapse Prevention Workbook: A Brief Strategic Approach (1996) teens with addictions have a tendency to relapse because of problems they experience at home, school, and with their friends. These problems activate urges and cravings to use alcohol and drugs. What is needed is a brief, yet effective sequence of steps that adolescents can use to identify and manage those high-risk situations. Terence T. Gorski.

Adolescent Relapse Prevention Workbook: A Guide to Staying Off Drugs and Alcohol (1999) Dennis C. Daley, Charles Sproule.

How to Stay Clean and Sober: A Relapse Prevention Guide for Teenagers (1991) is a self-help guide for teens to help them move ahead in personal growth and recovery without breaking down on the side of the road. Martin Fleming.

For more information on teens see the Help for Parents & Teens section.

Printed Resources – Treatment and Relapse Prevention

The Clinician Guide (1994) delivers basic information about risky situations that can trigger relapse and provides practical methods for maintaining healthy sobriety. Jan Swanson, Alan Cooper.

Coming Back from Relapse(1991) is a workbook that shows clients the consequences of not working a program, how to identify their relapse risk factors, and how to create action plans both for avoiding relapse situations and for dealing with a relapse. Sherry Schultz.

Coping with Emotional and Physical High-Risk Factors (1994 is for people in recovery and helps them learn about themselves and the high-risk factors that affect them by revealing thinking patterns around their drug use, acknowledging cravings during recovery, and planning how to cope with family and social pressures. Jan Swanson, Alan Cooper.

Counseling for Relapse Prevention (1982) provides insight into approaches for helping clients identify triggers and other warning signs of relapse. It also has a section on the immediate family and how important it is for them to seek help. Terence T. Gorski, Merlene Miller.

Overcoming Your Alcohol or Drug Problem: Effective Recovery Strategies (Therapist Guide) (2006) provides empirically supported and effective approaches for treating substance use disorders. Designed to accompany the Managing Your Addictive Behavior: Workbook (2nd Ed.). Dennis C. Daley, G. Alan Marlatt.

Relapse Prevention for Addictive Behaviours: A Manual for Therapists (1990) applies cognitive-behavioral strategies and lifestyle procedures to treatment addictions. Shamil Wanigaratne, Wendy Wallace, Jane Pullin, and Francis Keaney

Relapse Prevention Counseling for African Americans: A Culturally Specific Model (1997) Roland Williams and Terence T. Gorski

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Relapse Prevention Counseling Workbook: Managing High-Risk Situations (1996) presents seven powerful clinical processes that identify and manage the high-risk situations that cause relapse. Appropriate for people in all stages of recovery. Terence T. Gorski

Relapse Prevention : Maintenance Strategies in the Treatment of Addictive Behaviors (1985) applying Marlatt’s research on relapse prevention to addiction, this volume analyzes factors that may lead to relapse and offers practical strategies for maintaining treatment gains. G. Alan Marlatt and Judith R. Gordon

Relapse Prevention : Maintenance Strategies in the Treatment of Addictive Behaviors (2nd Ed.) (2005) presents practical strategies for assessing the treatment needs and ongoing clinical outcomes of individuals who have problems with addictions. Procedures for assessment of specific behaviors are coupled with tools for evaluating coping skills, readiness to change, and risk factors for relapse. G. Alan Marlatt and Dennis M. Donovan

Relapse Prevention Therapy Workbook: Managing Core Personality and Lifestyle Issues (1995) presents fifteen core processes that are divided into five sections: stabilization, assessment, warning signs identification & management, and recovery planning.  Most appropriate for clients with a stable recovery who are able to examine their childhoods. Terence T. Gorski.

Relapse Prevention: Treatment Alternatives and Counseling Aids (1989) offers addiction counselors guidelines and practical methods for treating relapse prevention. Dennis C. Daley

Relapse Prevention Workbook: For Recovering Alcoholics & Drug Dependent Persons (1986) is designed for clients in treatment to be used in conjunction with counselling. Dennis C. Daley.

The Relapse Prevention Workbook for Youth in Treatment: Guided Workbooks for Juvenile Sex Offenders (1999) Charlene Steen (Paperback – May 1999)

Relapse and Recovery in Addictions (2001) brings leading experts in the field of addiction relapse from biological, psychological, social, and cultural aspects. A reference manual for clinicians and policy makers. Frank M. Tims, Carl G. Leukefeld, and Jerome J. Platt

Relapse Traps: How to Avoid or Escape Them (1998) Robert Ramsey

Structured Relapse Prevention: An Outpatient Counselling Approach (2nd Ed.) (1996) is a brief, cognitive-behavioural, manual-based counselling approach that is designed for people with moderate to severe substance dependence, and is typically delivered in eight to 12 group or individual counselling sessions. Presents materials needed to offer SRP counselling. Helen M. Annis, Marilyn A. Herie, Lyn Watkin-Merek, Centre for Addiction Mental Health.

Therapist’s Guide to Evidence-based Relapse Prevention(2007) offers a range of relapse prevention applications and strategies for specific disorders (depression, substance abuse, etc.) and populations (adolescents, Hispanics, etc.). Katie A. Witkiewitz, G. Alan Marlatt.

White Knuckles and Wishful Thinking: Learning from the Moment of Relapse in Alcoholism and Other Addictions (2000) aims to explain the moment of relapse, and to provide practical help for counsellors and clients struggling to avoid relapse. George Manter DuWors.

Printed Resources – Women and Relapse Prevention

A Relapse Prevention Workbook for Women (1992) is designed for any woman who has stopped using drugs or alcohol and wants to stay that way. To be used as a quick reference guide. Karen Mattson.

For more information on women with addictions see the Special Populations section.

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Online Resources – Teen Addiction and Relapse Prevention

Adolescent Relapse Prevention (May 2001) describes the difference between adolescent and adult substance abusers that can lead to relapse and presents practical suggestions. Terence T. Gorski.


Video Resources – Relapse Prevention

Cognitive Behavioral Relapse Prevention for Addictions (2007) is a DVD that demonstrates Dr. Marlatt’s approach to relapse prevention by focusing on cognitive, behavioral, and lifestyle choices that might be changed or reinforced to help the client prevent relapse. Includes a client portrayed by an actor based on actual case material. G. Alan Marlatt, Gene Broderson, Julia Frank-McNeil.

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