Group Role Playing Exercises for Relapse Prevention

Written by cassandra scheidies
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Group Role Playing Exercises for Relapse Prevention
Sharing a trigger with a support group may help prevent relapse. (Bottle with beer on a white reflecting surface image by Alexander Oshvintsev from

According to Dual Recovery Anonymous, people in recovery need to develop a plan they must follow in order to avoid relapse. Sometimes it is necessary for a person in recovery to join a support group. A group of people struggling with a similar problem can help a person maintain goals. Group role-playing exercises to prevent relapse are helpful in the long-term success rate of the person in recovery.

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Relapse Plan

Have each member complete a relapse plan to include triggers, warning signs, healthy activities and a support system. A trigger is something that causes a person to want to relapse. A warning sign is a feeling or a thought that creeps into a person's head before they relapse. A healthy activity is something a person can do instead of relapsing. A support system includes people the person can call if he feels like relapsing. Have each member of the group act out a trigger, warning sign, healthy activity and calling a member of the support system. This will help the person in recovery remember what to do when he wants to relapse.

Decision Making

The first group role-playing exercise involves decision making. In one big group, discuss decisions that seem unimportant. Have each group member share about a decision that did not seem like a big deal but ended up leading to a relapse. For instance, a decision to hang out with a friend who ended up at a party with alcohol. Have two members of the group act out each decision and change it so a positive decision is made instead.

Sabotage Scavenger Hunt

At the beginning of this group role-playing exercise, tell three people from the group that they are going to be sabotaging the scavenger hunt. Then put the members in groups with each saboteur being the leader of the group. During the scavenger hunt, the saboteurs will do everything they can do sabotage this. At the end of the exercise, let the members know about the saboteur. Then talk to the group members about times when sobriety has been sabotaged. Ask group members to relate any feelings they had in being sabotaged during the scavenger hunt with times that they have been sabotaged by their friends, family or self.

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Split the group into teams. Assign each team a drug that they will be representing. Recommendations are alcohol, marijuana, ecstasy, methamphetamine and prescription pills. The groups must demonstrate how that drug affects someone in a negative way.

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