Mindfulness-based relapse prevention activities

Mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) is a type of alcohol and drug addiction treatment that focuses on the time after normal treatment when people are most likely to relapse.

The mindfulness-based recovery program (MBRP) applies the notion of mindfulness to the management of cravings that can derail sobriety or moderation.

It ensures that mindfulness-based relapse prevention activities are being practiced to maintain the mental health of the individual(s) in question.

What is Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention (MBRP)?

It’s important to know what mindfulness-based relapse prevention is. G. Alan Marlatt and colleagues at the University of Washington’s Addictive Behaviors Research Center created mindfulness-based relapse prevention to help individuals in their recovery from addictive behaviors.

What does MBRP do? 

Mindfulness-based relapse prevention teaches people in recovery from addiction how to moderate automatic and unhelpful reactions to stimuli by practicing mindful awareness.

Individuals are taught how to take a step back, be present at the moment, and see that a situation over which they have some control has several alternative outcomes through MBRP.

It assists you in developing mindfulness practices that support your recovery rather than relapsing back into old habits when confronted with old and new situations.

Here are some great mindfulness group activities for substance abuse.

The Primary Goals of MBRP

  • Develop awareness of personal triggers and habitual reactions, and learn how to put a stop to what appears to be an automatic process.
  • Change our relationship with discomfort by learning to notice and respond appropriately to difficult emotional and physical events.
  • Encourage a loving, nonjudgmental attitude toward ourselves and our circumstances.
  • Create a lifestyle that encourages mindfulness practice as well as healing.

Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention Techniques

How do I distract myself from relapsing? Learning about your specific triggers, cultivating the ability to breathe through discomfort, and establishing a mindfulness-based lifestyle in recovery can be lifesavers in both early sobriety and later in life.

If you want to distract yourself from relapsing, here are five mindfulness-based relapse prevention practices to help you manage life with grace and integrity.

  • Develop a keen awareness of your triggers and impulsive reactions. It’s essential to understand what makes you tick, and what serves as a trigger to to tick you off if you want to live a life of recovery. The more you understand your triggers, the better your chances of achieving long-term sobriety become.

  • Before acting out, learn to stop, analyze, and feel through your reactions. Finding a means to generate that extra time between reacting and responding in situations can turn a potentially devastating or distressing response into an opportunity to truly connect with another person while also feeling pleased with your new style of interacting and responding to life.

  • When you’re struggling, have nonjudgmental compassion for yourself and others. Learning to have compassion and love for yourself first allows you to help others in the same way.

  • Develop the ability to make non-addictive behavioral choices. Learn to tell the difference between things that will benefit and support you in your life and aims and things that will harm or set you back.

How to Practice Mindfulness-based Relapse Prevention?

If you’d like to include urge surfing into your regular life to have mindfulness-based recovery, and manage impulses or cravings, follow the method described below.

But keep in mind that this is a treatment strategy that is best studied in the context of therapy with a mental health or addiction specialist. Some of the effective mindfulness-based relapse prevention activities are: 

Call your Sensation a Desire

Call your sensation a desire or a yearning, and describe it as an inside experience of ideas and emotions, as well as a physical sense.

Imagine the Purpose of Your Desire

Imagine your desire or longing as a wave that will wash over you until it reaches a climax and then fades away.

Activate Awareness

Become aware of your arisen desires or urges.  This can be accomplished by remaining present in the moment and recognizing changes in your emotions as they occur.

Witness the Growth of Your Cravings

Watch as your want or craving grows stronger while you practice deep breathing and letting it fade naturally without trying to control it.

Observe Your Experience

Observe your experience and how you were able to make a different option than in the past as the urge or craving subsides. It will become easier to notice opportunities to practice mindfulness and behave in this new way as time goes on.

Concentrate on Your Breathing

Begin to concentrate on your breathing as you visualize your need or craving disappearing. To slow your breathing, breathe in for a count of seven and out for a count of eleven.

Who would find practicing MBRP easier?

While anybody can try MBRP, individuals who are more motivated to improve or who naturally have a tendency to perceive their thoughts and feelings as observable experiences may find it easier.

Furthermore, if you’re addicted to something injurious to your health, these mindfulness exercises for addiction recovery might be quite beneficial:

  • Be present at this moment. 
  • Focus on breathing.
  • Increase the Size of Your Compassionate Circle.
  • Practice being still. 

Follow these shortlisted mindfulness group activities for substance abuse to experience guaranteed results.


MBRP is about self-compassion and is a technique that you can use in other aspects of your life. This way you’ll be more resilient when confronted with new addiction difficulties. If you practice MBRP techniques several times a day, they will become instinctive and will serve you better. This is beneficial as compared to you resisting or controlling your cravings.

MBRP emphasizes managing impulses by mindful observation, rather than avoiding triggers or controlling desires. Instead of fighting against your sensations, you are taught to name and endure them in this way. And then just wait for them to pass. The wait is followed by the reassurance that you have the option to respond differently as compared to the past.


What are some skills for Preventing Relapse? 

You should know your triggers:

  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Self-care is important 
  • Joining a support group will help.

What are Examples of Mindfulness Interventions? 

Body scan:

How do Coping Strategies Prevent Relapse? 

Delay making a decision:

  • Using ground techniques. 
  • Change your thoughts.

What is Relapse Prevention in Psychology? 

Relapse prevention is a cognitive-behavioral strategy for relapse prevention that helps to detect and avoid high-risk conditions.

Why can’t I Stop Relapsing?

People relapse for a variety of reasons, the most common of which is stress. You most likely used drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress you experience in your daily life.

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