Step 10A: Thwart Relapse at Many Points
As you can clearly see, relapse is a process that can be thwarted at many points. You can avoid relapse by avoiding high-risk triggers, saying no to temptations and tempters, resisting the initial urge to slip with slip busters, responding positively if you do slip, and preparing for the next time. That next time will involve your use of a slip card and mobilizing your change team.
A fascinating finding from multiple research studies evaluating relapse prevention is that the training typically provides continued improvement over a long period of time. This “delayed emergence effect” makes perfect sense since you become more experienced and proficient in using these skills over time. With relapse prevention, like many life skills, you get better with practice.
Mere mortals cannot perfectly “stick” our goals without slips or wobbles. None of us are superheroes; few of us are Olympic athletes. What we can achieve is another sort of stickiness – perseverance, persistence, resilience.
As John D. Rockefeller observed, "I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature." Perseverance certainly overcomes slips and proves absolutely essential for relapse prevention.