5 Strategies to Prevent Relapse After Rehab

Completing Rehab

Completing a rehabilitation program is a significant accomplishment in the journey towards recovery from substance use disorders. However, the real challenge often begins after leaving rehab, as individuals must navigate the transition back to their everyday lives while staying committed to sobriety. Relapse, the return to substance use after a period of abstinence, is a common concern during this phase.

Preventing relapse requires dedication, planning, and ongoing support. It involves implementing strategies that address the physical, emotional, and social aspects of recovery. In this article, we will explore five effective strategies to prevent relapse after rehab and help individuals maintain long-term sobriety.

  1. Create a Supportive Environment

A supportive environment is crucial for maintaining sobriety after rehab. Surrounding yourself with individuals who understand and encourage your recovery journey can significantly reduce the risk of relapse. Here are some steps to create a supportive environment:

  • Build a Sober Support Network: Connect with individuals who are also in recovery or who support your sobriety. Attend support group meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), to find like-minded individuals who can provide understanding and encouragement.
  • Open Communication: Be open with friends and family about your recovery and the challenges you may face. Honest communication can foster understanding and support from your loved ones.
  • Avoid High-Risk Situations: Identify triggers and high-risk situations that may lead to relapse, such as parties or social gatherings where substance use is prevalent. It’s okay to decline invitations to such events if they pose a threat to your sobriety.
  • Create a Structured Routine: Establishing a daily routine can help you stay focused and maintain a sense of stability during the recovery process.
  1. Practice Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Substance use often serves as a coping mechanism to deal with stress, anxiety, or emotional pain. Learning and implementing healthy coping strategies is essential in preventing relapse. Here are some healthy coping mechanisms to consider:

  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Engaging in mindfulness practices and meditation can help you stay present, manage stress, and reduce the urge to turn to substances for relief.
  • Physical Activity: Regular exercise has numerous benefits, including reducing stress, improving mood, and promoting overall well-being.
  • Creative Outlets: Explore creative activities, such as art, music, or writing, to express emotions and process feelings in a healthy way.
  • Journaling: Keeping a journal can be a valuable tool for self-reflection and understanding triggers and emotions that may arise during recovery.
  • Seeking Professional Support: Consider individual therapy or counseling to work through underlying issues that may contribute to the risk of relapse.
  1. Develop Healthy Relationships

Building and maintaining healthy relationships is essential in preventing relapse. Surrounding yourself with positive influences can enhance your motivation to stay sober. Here are some tips for developing healthy relationships:

  • Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries with individuals who may not support your sobriety or who may encourage substance use.
  • Avoid Enabling: Be mindful of enabling behavior from friends or family members, and communicate your needs regarding support and encouragement for your recovery.
  • Seek Supportive Friendships: Seek out friendships with individuals who are supportive of your recovery goals and who prioritize sobriety in their lives.
  • Join Sober Activities: Engage in activities or groups that promote sobriety, such as sports teams, hobby clubs, or community events.
  1. Identify and Manage Triggers

Triggers are situations, emotions, or cues that may evoke cravings and the desire to use substances. Recognizing your triggers and developing effective strategies to manage them is crucial in preventing relapse. Here are some ways to identify and manage triggers:

  • Keep a Trigger Journal: Record instances where you experience cravings or thoughts of using substances. Identify patterns or common triggers.
  • Develop a Plan: Once you’ve identified your triggers, create a relapse prevention plan that outlines coping strategies for each trigger.
  • Seek Professional Help: If you find it challenging to manage certain triggers on your own, consider seeking help from a therapist or counselor who can provide guidance and support.
  1. Continued Participation in Aftercare Programs

Aftercare programs are crucial in providing ongoing support and guidance during the post-rehabilitation phase. These programs offer a structured approach to maintaining sobriety and addressing any challenges that arise. Here are some common aftercare options:

  • Outpatient Treatment: Engaging in outpatient treatment provides ongoing therapy and support while allowing you to continue with daily responsibilities.
  • Sober Living Homes: Sober living homes offer a supportive and drug-free environment, often with house rules and regular drug testing.
  • Therapy and Counseling: Regular therapy or counseling sessions can help you continue to work on personal growth and address any triggers or challenges that may arise.
  • Support Groups: Participating in support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) provides peer support, accountability, and a sense of belonging.
  • Family Therapy: Involving family members in therapy can help strengthen communication and support systems within the family.

Preventing relapse after rehab requires a comprehensive and proactive approach that addresses physical, emotional, and social aspects of recovery. By creating a supportive environment, practicing healthy coping mechanisms, developing healthy relationships, identifying and managing triggers, and participating in aftercare programs, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of relapse and maintain long-term sobriety.

It’s important to remember that recovery is a journey, and setbacks may occur. If relapse does happen, it’s essential not to view it as a failure but as an opportunity to learn and grow. Reaching out for support and reassessing your relapse prevention strategies can help you get back on track in your recovery journey. Remember that you are not alone, and seeking help from supportive resources and loved ones can make a significant difference in your ongoing sobriety. Stay committed to your recovery goals and focus on building a fulfilling and healthy life free from substance use. With dedication and support, maintaining long-term sobriety is achievable and can lead to a happier and more fulfilling life.

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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner


As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns


Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine