If you are recovering from addiction, it’s essential to remember that you avoid the situations and mindsets that trigger relapses. A successful recovery happens when you fight triggers by understanding and avoiding them. While everyone’s situation differs, research reveals some common relapse triggers that are helpful to recognize.
- HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) – Remember to initiate sleep schedules, eating plans, and support groups that help you avoid being HALT.
- Stress – Understand what causes you stress and proactively prevent stress. Stress management can be as simple as diet changes, exercise, reducing sugar and caffeine, and sticking to three meals a day.
- Over-Confidence – This is one of the most confusing triggers because a healthy amount of self-confidence is essential to achieving your goals. Over-confidence is thinking you can ditch your recovery plans. Neglecting your rehab structure makes you vulnerable and removes the support that you need. Practice humility, reminding yourself that addiction is a chronic disease that can have power over you if you let it! Don’t’ get sidetracked by thinking you can “have just one.”
- Mental and/or Physical Illness – Depression, anxiety, and other disorders are some of the most common relapse triggers. When seeking treatment for emotional or physical illnesses, be honest with your doctor about your recovery. This prevents prescriptions that might alter the mental clarity needed to pursue recovery, and potentially trigger a relapse or new addiction. Monitor your feelings to understand if medications are negatively affecting you.
- Social Isolation – Take extra steps in seeking out to the community through a support system and regular counseling. Without a sober support network, it’s easier to rationalize relapses to yourself when you’re alone.
- Sex and Relationships – Many experts suggest avoiding dating during the first year of recovery. The excitement of new relationships puts you at risk of relapse, and breakups create breeding grounds for old destructive habits. Relationships can trigger initial addictions to transform into addictions to love or sex. Consider completing a year of successful sobriety before dating.
- New Jobs or Promotions – Don’t let the opportunity to celebrate cause a relapse. Ask your support group about healthy ways to celebrate. Talk with your counselor about the new role’s potential to increase responsibility and stress.
- Glamorizing the Past – Don’t let your addiction-prone brain convince you that things were better back then. Be careful not to overlook the pain and suffering that addiction has caused you. Constantly remind yourself why you are choosing the path to freedom and recovery.
- Harmful Situations or Locations – Avoid surroundings where drugs and alcohol are available or acceptable. This includes old haunts (even visuals and smells) and new places. Be upfront and say you can’t just “meet up at the bar” without serious risk of relapse.
Ruthlessly avoid triggers, even when it’s difficult or awkward. If you sense a trigger, distract yourself through exercise or hobbies, talk to your support network, and challenge your thoughts.
What if you relapse? Remember that you’re not alone. A relapse doesn’t mean it’s over, or that you can’t recover. Compassionate support is available to help you avoid triggers and overcome addiction. Start or continue your recovery today: 877-526-7706