AA’s Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention the Alcoholics Anonymous way is proactive action.

One form of these strategies is The AA Six Pack, which says;

  • Don’t Drink
  • Go to meetings
  • Ask for help
  • Get a sponsor
  • Join a home group
  • Get active (in the program)

These are practiced so as to ensure immunity, an insurance policy against the first drink.

Family, friends and counselors can encourage people to adhere to this plan.

AA says;

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, …

Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely (AA, pp 58).

Half measures availed us nothing (AA, pp 59).

Another AA informal catchphrase is; ‘Ring, before you drink’ indicating one should phone ones peer sponsor before picking up the first drink.

Tools of Recovery

These are some of the main tools used by AA members to achieve and maintain sobriety.

  • Meetings: Meetings are the main place where patients learn how the program works and share their experiences, strengths and hope with others. Clients learn in meetings that their struggles and troubles are not unique, and gain the hope and assurance that they can recover and grow.
  • Sharing at meetings: Clients being honest and vulnerable in front of peers is frightening but worth it. Many believe that recovery in direct proportion to their willingness to share at meetings.
  • Telephoning: Advise patients to use the phone to contact members of AA between meetings.
  • Support system: Encourage clients to meet with other AA members over coffee to discuss their program so that they can learn that they are not alone and also allows them to get another perspective on their problems.
  • Reading and working the steps: Encourage patients to read AA literature, especially the Big Book, to better understand and work the program.
  • Sponsorship: Advise clients to ask others for help, including their AA sponsor as well as other members in the Program.
  • Balancing: To maintain and help build balance in their lives, help clients to understand that working at relationships with people other than AA members will enhance recovery.
  • Reading daily meditations: Many recovering alcoholics read a mediation book with breakfast each day to help keep the focus on recovery. The AA book ‘Daily Reflections’ or ‘One Day at a Time’ are recommended.

From the BriefTSF education manuals.



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