There are a variety of challenges that come with recovering from addiction. That includes trying to navigate different physical and emotional relapse triggers. Learning to manage these physical and emotional cues that try to lure you back into addiction is key to maintaining your sobriety. Relapse triggers differ from one person to the next and are a natural part of the addiction recovery process.
What is a Relapse Trigger?
A relapse trigger is something in your physical, emotional, or social environment that reminds you of your addiction. They can cause a strong emotional pull that brings up the impulse to use again. Running into a trigger doesn’t mean that you will definitely relapse, but the urges they produce can be hard to resist.
Remember, addiction is a chronic condition that brings the potential of relapse, similar to an illness like diabetes. No matter how long you have been in recovery, there’s always the possibility of falling backward if you don’t continue maintaining your treatment plan.
Long-term abuse of drugs or alcohol can cause people to associate your daily routine with those experiences. Walking past a bar may cause an alcoholic to remember the feeling of getting intoxicated when they were deep in their addiction. Seeing people from your drug past can make you recall the experience of getting high.
Your response to these triggers may decrease the longer you remain sober. However, people years into their recovery can still end up relapsing if they run into a trigger at a vulnerable moment.
What Are Some Common Relapse Triggers?
Your specific triggers can fall into different categories. You can have a physical response to seeing a place you used to frequent while addicted to drugs. The sight of an old drinking buddy can cause you to feel the urge to drink. Let’s look at some of the most common triggers and tips on managing them when they come along.
Being Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired (HALT)
Basic human needs can lead to a trigger or intensify their impact if they are not met. Any of these conditions are enough to increase your stress levels and reduce your ability to deal with a difficult situation. You might impulsively start drinking or using drugs as a way of dealing with those feelings. Making sure you eat on time and sticking to a regular sleep schedule can reduce your chances of reacting to different relapse triggers.
The process of recovery can be long and hard. You may be forced to cut yourself off from your old life to avoid triggers. The idea of having to completely rebuild your social circle can lead to anxiety and the sense of being alone in your struggle. You may also feel guilt or sadness that stem from actions taken while you were addicted to drugs or alcohol. Therapy can teach you coping skills that help you navigate those feelings.
Recovery is a lifetime process. However, some people start feeling so confident in their progress that they believe they are cured of their illness. They believe that they are no longer susceptible to relapse triggers. An alcoholic may think they can have one glass of wine to be sociable and end up losing control.
Remember that addiction is a chronic illness that does not go away no matter how long you are in recovery. Maintain vigilance about the temptations around you and avoid the idea of “proving” how much control you have over your addiction.
Learn to Manage Relapse Triggers
Solution Based Treatment provides clients with a variety of options to aid them in their addiction recovery.
- Drug & Alcohol Detox
- Relapse Prevention Program
- Sober Living Program
- Intervention Services
- Rock to Recovery
Learn more about our programs by calling 833.999.1941.