It is no secret that an inevitable part of the process of recovery from any addiction is the high possibility of relapse. No matter if it is you or a loved one who is on the road to recovery, it is of paramount importance to be mindful of what could cause a relapse. Triggers vary for everyone, so it is crucial to find out what puts your recovery at risk in order to prevent a future relapse.
Upon identifying the possible causes of a relapse, you will be more ready to take preventive measures against them in the days of early or even late recovery. However, before finding out your own addiction triggers, it is advisable to learn which relapse triggers are generally the most common.
Stress could possibly be the number-one relapse trigger. It is something tremendously difficult to deal with for almost everyone, especially if you have committed to recovery. For many of us, before treatment and attempted recovery, the way to deal with stress was through the use of drugs or alcohol. Once in recovery, that option ceases to be available. Therefore, we need to seek replacement ways to handle stress so that the process of addiction relapse does not occur.
Stressful situations differ for everyone. Some may find their jobs or family relations too difficult to handle, while for others mental or physical illnesses, such as anxiety, depression and so on, may storm in all at once. Although it may not be possible to prevent stressful situations, it is possible to change and adjust the ways which you respond to them. Varieties of stress management may include reaching out to a close person (family member, friend or recovery support group member), trying different meditation techniques or other therapy options, doing outdoorsy sports, etc. Also, it is advised to stay away from making huge, life-changing decisions in the days of early recovery as they may cause more stress.
2. Emotional Flow
Emotions are a regular and unavoidable part of life. Anger, a constant feeling of sadness, social anxiety and irritation are all pessimistic emotions that may multiply the risk of relapse. Many people also find that positive emotions are triggers as well. Therefore, for anyone in early recovery, it is of paramount importance to be able to identify emotions quickly and learn how to cope with them without turning to drugs or alcohol. For this reason, new romantic relationships are not recommended for early recovery due to the probability of immense and instant emotions’ flow.
The best option here is to look for other, intentionally harmless ways to deal with all of your emotions. Meditation, engaging oneself at the gym or other sports activities, getting a pet, resuming interest in an old, forgotten hobby, traveling. There are many other possibilities which can be discovered by simply doing some research online.
Loneliness can be defined as the lack of social connection. Although it can only be judged individually, loneliness has been proven to generally have a negative impact on mental and physical health. For an addict in early recovery, the risk is even worse as a change of their circle of friends, different communication needs and social interaction is inevitable and instantaneous. Therefore, the lack of awareness or pre-adjustment to such a big life-swap may hit hard, resulting in the addicts questioning their recovery and relapsing.
It is very important for those in recovery not to ignore the problem of loneliness, but to act and not to be afraid to ask for help. There can be a range of solutions, such as attending AA or NA meetings, reaching out to your family and your loved ones, finding a sponsor, checking into a sober living or similar rehab facility, finding sober friends, volunteering in your local community and so on. Basically, creating your own support network is vital in early recovery.
“I understood myself only after I destroyed myself. And only in the process of fixing myself, did I know who I really was.” – Anonymous.