Relapse is an unfortunately common occurrence for people in addiction recovery. Part of avoiding relapse is about understanding relapse triggers and how to spot them. Rehab programs often support participants in developing comprehensive aftercare plans that identify addiction and relapse triggers.
Common Relapse Triggers
What triggers relapse differs from person to person. However, decades of research and experience have found a common set of relapse triggers. If you believe that you or a loved one may struggle to maintain sobriety, it is important to understand these four addiction triggers.
Stress is the most common relapse trigger. Time and again, it is responsible for people in recovery failing to maintain sobriety after exiting treatment. This is in part due to many addictions being a result of stress in the first place. For people who turn to drug use as a coping mechanism for stress, it makes sense that stress will become a trigger as they try to recover. While eliminating all stress from life is impossible, people in recovery should take the time to figure out how they can orient their lives to reduce high stress levels. Many rehab programs emphasize the acquisition of methods for managing stress. These include:
- Practicing mindfulness or breathing techniques
- Developing time management and organizational skills to cut down on stress
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy diet
Relationships and Places Connected to an Addiction
Addiction is often accompanied by interpersonal and emotional baggage. Moreover, most people’s addictions are connected to others. It may be friends who also participated in the addiction or a social circle that fueled the addiction in the first place. Each person must decide which relationships they can retain as they pursue recovery. However, avoiding relapse means, at the very least, that previous relationships must be managed in a way that promotes sobriety. That could mean the social activities you participate in are different, or you make other choices about the places you are willing to go out with friends. For instance, people recovering from alcohol addiction likely need to avoid the bar they used to visit every weekend with their college buddies.
Exposure to the Item That Drove an Addiction
Another common trigger is physical exposure to the addictive substance. Cravings in recovery are normal. The presence of drugs or alcohol will only intensify an addiction and make managing cravings even harder. Again, lifestyle changes might be necessary to avoid the item that caused an addiction. That may involve asking family or friends to make accommodations. For example, if you live with family or a roommate, you may ask them to refrain from keeping alcohol in the house even if they do not struggle with it.
Parties and Special Occasions
Parties and special occasions in America are synonymous with alcohol and, at times, even drug usage. Not only does this mean exposure, but the positive feelings surrounding a celebration may lower inhibitions and trick you into thinking one drink will be alright. But avoiding relapse truly is a slippery slope. One drink easily turns into a binge that ignites the addiction anew. When attending celebrations during recovery, finding an accountability partner who can support you in sobriety can make all the difference. Even then, some scenarios may simply need to be avoided. Missing a fun celebration with family and friends is better than being dragged back into a life-destroying addiction.
Find Help at Georgia Addiction Treatment Center
Recovering from an addiction isn’t always a linear process. Relapse can happen to anyone, but it does not preclude anyone from finding lasting healing. Georgia Addiction Treatment Center is here to support you in regaining your best life.
Reach out to us at 855.952.3546 to access high-quality addiction treatment services and resources.