Recovery is a rocky road, which is why it’s important to recognize your relapse triggers and have coping mechanisms in place to stay sober.
Staying clean after a substance abuse addiction is a long and difficult process. It comes with a number of different hurdles, one of which is relapse.
It’s estimated that over 90 percent of addicts relapse at least once before they reach full sobriety. This statistic demonstrates how hard it is to stay sober.
One of the best ways of preventing addiction relapse is to understand your triggers. These are the things that cause you to turn to drugs or alcohol.
That’s why we’re going over six classic relapse triggers and what you can do to avoid them.
1. Relationship Issues
Friction between you and your spouse, family members, or friends can quickly lead to relapse. You may have even turned to alcohol or drugs to deal with these issues in the first place.
Furthermore, your addiction may have caused extra tension in your relationships. This is especially true for couples.
It’s important that you find other ways to cope with problems in your relationships. The other party needs to know what kind of pressure you’re under, so make sure you establish open communication with them.
If your marriage is suffering, consider seeking the help of a counselor. They can help you and your spouse achieve a healthy line of communication that places importance on your sobriety.
If you’re having ongoing problems with a friendship, you may want to spend some time apart so you can concentrate on yourself.
2. Celebratory Events
Birthday parties and holiday celebrations may seem harmless. Unfortunately, they can tempt you into returning to bad habits.
Slipping up at a party could easily lead to a binge. Before you know it, you’ve relapsed and are losing control again.
If you feel there’s a chance a party could cause a relapse, it’s better to skip it altogether. You may feel upset about this, but it’s important to see the big picture. Parties come and go, but your recovery is an ongoing process.
Of course, you can’t skip every party for the rest of your life. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to avoid relapse.
Make a decision to only stay at a party for an hour or two, and stick to this rule. Once you see you can maintain control, you’ll have more confidence in the future.
You may also want to have a friend there for support. If they see you start to slip up, they can intervene and keep you on track.
In the past, your addiction may have been how you dealt with stress. Unfortunately, that stress is still there during recovery.
There’s simply no way to avoid stress altogether. It comes from all directions and can build up fast.
It’s very important to find different coping mechanisms that take some of the pressure off your day-to-day life. You may also need to make some serious changes.
If you feel your job start pushing you towards relapse, you may need to consider a career change. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. If this isn’t an option for you, you’ll need to find ways of releasing stress.
Exercising is a great way to achieve a healthy state of mind. You should also start practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation.
Consider taking up a hobby that makes you happy and takes your mind off your daily responsibilities.
While recovering from addiction, you may feel compelled to isolate yourself from friends and family. Maybe you’re feeling embarrassed or find it’s difficult to socialize now.
Unfortunately, putting distance between yourself and others may lead to temptations and relapse.
Being alone all the time can lead to depression. If you get to this point, you may feel hopeless and turn to drugs and alcohol.
Too much isolation can also cause boredom. You may feel there’s nothing better to do and slip back into your addiction.
Make it a point to spend time with your closest friends and family. Even little things like walking in the park or going to a museum are great ways to get out of the house.
If you’re avoiding friends because you associate them with your addiction, this is the perfect time to make new connections. Try joining a book club or exercise group and become part of a new social circle.
5. Associations with Your Addiction
While recovering from an addiction, it’s imperative to avoid things you associate with drugs or alcohol. These associations could include places, people, and activities.
If your social life was spent with people who also engaged in substance abuse, you’ll need to stop seeing them. You’re too vulnerable to surround yourself with past behavior.
You should also avoid places like bars or clubs where you used to hang out. It’s time to find new, healthier environments.
There’s a chance you’ll need to make a lot of changes to your lifestyle to avoid associations to your addiction. It may take some time, but eventually, there won’t be anything tempting you into relapse.
6. Negative Emotions or Mental Illness
Addiction has the ability to strip people of their sense of worth and self-confidence. These feelings may follow you into the recovery stage.
It’s easy to dwell on the mistakes you made during addiction. Doing so can bring on extremely negative thoughts and emotions. Eventually, you may feel compelled to start using again in order to cover these feelings up.
If you suffer from a mental illness and substance abuse was a way of self-medicating, you may now feel very susceptible to your condition. If this is the case, it’s important you seek professional help.
Seeing a drug counselor or therapist is a great way of learning how to cope with negative emotions in a positive way. They’ll provide you with coping mechanisms that will help you resist the temptation to return to drug or alcohol use.
Understand Your Relapse Triggers and Have a Smooth Recovery
The road to full recovery may seem daunting right now. It’s not an easy journey, but if you persist, you’ll enjoy a happy and healthy life.
The first step to staying on track is understanding your relapse triggers and how to avoid them. This will help keep you strong when temptation strikes.
We offer a wide range of addiction treatment options including rehab and detox. Contact us today to learn more!