Does every day of your life feel like a battle to remain sober?
If so, it’s important to remind yourself that you’re not alone in these struggles. In fact, substance abuse has become a serious epidemic in America today. Studies have found that 46 percent of
American adults have a friend or family member that is suffering from drug addiction.
There’s no denying that overcoming addiction and remaining sober is a long, complicated road.
Fortunately, there are steps that anyone battling addiction can take to enhance their chances of overcoming addiction.
Learning how to stay away from common relapse triggers is one of the best means of prevention possible. This is where your relapse prevention plan comes into play. Having a detailed prevention plan is what’s going to allow remaining sober to be easier and all the more likely.
If you want to learn more about how to deal with your triggers, you’re going to want to read this. We’re uncovering eight of the most common relapse triggers and how to best avoid them. Let’s get started.
For recovering addicts, there are certain people in your life that are going to be triggers. This could be anyone from a close friend or a former drug dealer to an ex-partner or a sibling.
The truth is, these people may set off cravings that could eventually lead to a relapse. They’re also likely to offset negative emotions that lead you to feel stressed or anxious. For those that can easily be avoided, it’s best to do so.
Of course, there are certain people in your life that are difficult to avoid. This would be a family member or someone that you need to see on a routine basis. When these situations cannot be avoided, it’s crucial to plan for these interactions in advance.
This is where talking to your therapist comes into play and is so important for your recovery. It’s best to plan ahead for how to deal with these emotions when they present themselves. If you cannot change the people that are present in your life, you need to change your reactions to these people.
Just like people, there are also going to be certain places and locations throughout your life that act as triggers. These are often places such as:
- Certain neighborhoods
- Bars and nightclubs
- A certain friend’s house
- Downtown areas
- Former pick-up places
Wherever these places are for you, it’s important to identify them in advance. Simply being present in these areas may spark past memories of your drug use. When you look back on these memories, it’s easy to glamorize the situation and ignore all of the negative results that followed.
All in all, it’s best to avoid these places as much as possible during your recovery journey. Because relapse is most common during the first year of recovery, these places should be avoided at all costs during that first year.
3. Social Isolation or Loneliness
When you return from treatment, it’s easy to get into a pattern of remaining at home and isolating yourself.
This is often the result of wanting to avoid former social circles and social situations altogether. But, this also may be the fear that you’re unsure how to perform socially without your substance. This is a natural fear at first, but also one that must be overcome.
The truth is, the more you isolate yourself, the easier it becomes to rationalize using again to yourself. Throughout your recovery, the support of others is essential to your journey.
If you find that you’re feeling lonely, don’t ignore these feelings. Be proactive and ensure that you’re doing something to combat this feeling of loneliness. This may include talking with your sponsor, joining a sober social group, or even deciding to get a pet.
4. Feelings of Stress, Anxiety or Sadness
Whilst you were attending treatment, you likely had access to a number of therapists.
These therapists were generally available when you were experiencing negative emotions. Upon leaving treatment, it may be difficult to transition to a life without such a therapist. When you experience natural emotions such as stress or sadness, these emotions often become triggers when they’re not confronted.
The best way to keep negative emotions from becoming problematic is to have a therapist arranged for life at home. In the early stages of your recovery, you’re going to want to speak with this therapist on a routine basis. This therapist will be a sounding board for your emotions and provide you with the tools for how to deal with difficult emotions and situations.
5. Feelings of Elation and Celebration
Just as feelings of sadness and stress can be triggers, so too can feelings of elation and of celebration.
In your past life, you may have celebrated happy life events with drug use. In fact, the happier the occasion the more excessive the substance abuse may have been. This is a common pattern for addicts.
The reality is, these happy life events urge you to celebrate. This is why happy life events can often feel like triggers for recovering addicts. The best way to avoid this trigger is to create a plan in advance for how you’re going to celebrate positive life events.
This could be anything from scheduling the day off of work and treating yourself to a day of relaxation or planning a formal dinner.
The act of feeling over-confident is a dangerous game during the recovery process.
It’s important to remind yourself that recovery is a lifelong process. The truth is, being overconfident puts you at extreme risk during the recovery process. At some point, you may feel that you no longer need to follow your recovery plan and that you can transition into another stage.
This overconfidence may lead you to believe that you can tolerate one drink or occasional drug use. Your mind may lead you to believe that you’re capable of behaving in a way that is not troublesome or classified as addictive behavior.
While confidence is important, it’s also important to ensure that you don’t become over-confident in your sobriety journey. You can best avoid these feelings of over-confidence by remaining humble and reminding yourself that addiction is a chronic disease.
7. Reminiscing on Past Drug Use
There are going to be days when you find yourself reminiscing about your past drug use. In these moments, it’s easy and sometimes even natural to romanticize this past drug use.
After all, it’s tempting to focus on the highs that drug use brought you and to forget about the lows. You may remember the seemingly good times that you had with friends when you were using. Similarly, you’re going to ignore the incredibly negative and gloom-ridden moments that followed as you came off your high.
When this happens, you’re going to find yourself mourning the fact that you can no longer use drugs. When these thoughts present themselves, it’s crucial to force your mind to remember why you made the decision to fight your addiction.
8. Hollywood Drug Use Depiction
There are a number of Hollywood movies today that glorify substance abuse.
When you’re watching certain drug-induced scenes, it can be challenging to remember the negative aspects of drug use. Instead, you’re being exposed to the seemingly positive aspects that drugs and alcohol have in daily life.
In these instances, it’s important to challenge your mind. While the film may be casting substance abuse in a romanticized light, you know firsthand that this is not the true reality. In truth, you know that substance abuse can ruin lives, relationships and impact your physical as well as your mental health.
If you don’t feel that your mind is yet strong enough to challenge these notions, it’s best to avoid this type of entertainment. If you’re still early in your sobriety, this type of film may generate negative thoughts or persuade your mind to believe that drug use can be romanticized.
Identifying Relapse Triggers
Did you know that only ten percent of addicts will seek treatment in order to overcome their addiction?
Even taking a simple step towards a sober lifestyle is one that not many addicts can easily commit to. So, if you’ve taken this step, you deserve a moment to congratulate yourself. After all, there’s no denying that making the decision to fight your addiction is one of the most daunting decisions that you’ll ever make.
Once you begin your journey toward sobriety, you’re going to experience a number of relapse triggers. The good news is that it’s easy to identify your relapse triggers in advance. From here, you can determine how you can best avoid these triggers.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of the most common relapse triggers facing recovering addicts. These triggers are anything from certain people and places to over-confidence and typical human emotions. Once you learn how to avoid these triggers, you’re going to feel a lot more secure in your sobriety plan.
Do you feel that you need further help in overcoming your addiction? If so, don’t hesitate to contact us. While recovery is a complicated road, we have professionals that are readily available to help you today.