What are relapse triggers, and what danger do they present to your recovery from substance use disorder? Triggers are those people, places, and situations that evoke strong, negative feelings. They can be powerful enough to make you feel sad or angry. They can even be powerful enough to make you take that first drink again after years of being sober.
What Does It Mean to Relapse?
Relapse happens when you start using drugs or drinking alcohol again after recovery from substance use disorder. Many people recover from addiction every year and never fall victim to relapse. For many others, however, cravings and triggers override the coping behaviors learned in rehab, and the cycle begins all over again. If you’ve relapsed after recovery, you’re not alone in your struggle. And all is not lost.
Relapse is a serious bump in the road to lifelong recovery, but it’s not the same as failing. Failing happens when you give up and stop trying to quit drugs or alcohol. Relapse just means it’s time to go back into addiction treatment. Some clients in recovery have relapsed multiple times, yet they still stand up, shake themselves off, and try again. There’s never shame or guilt to be had in trying again, even if it’s your third, fourth, or fifteenth attempt. What matters is that you show up and keep fighting.
What Are Common Relapse Triggers?
Everyone who is in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction has triggers that make them feel overwhelmed, helpless, or out-of-control. Common triggers include:
These emotions are powerful for most people. But for those who struggle with substance use disorder, they can be debilitating. Unmanaged stress may keep you in a constant state of worry. You can’t relax. You can’t be happy until the stress is resolved. But if you’re not managing your stress, there can never be a resolution. This is often when relapse happens. You may begin to self-medicate again to help alleviate the uncomfortable feelings that accompany overwhelming stress.
Exhaustion is a second common relapse trigger. Taking on too much and allowing yourself to become run down and out-of-sorts is dangerous for someone in recovery. Generally, it may cause the old cravings to return. Loneliness acts in much the same way. Isolation is almost always a contributing factor to drug abuse and alcoholism. This is why recovery involves socializing with supportive people and being active in your community. Both work to stave off loneliness and isolation that may act as relapse triggers.
Fear and trauma are both relapse triggers because they induce feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. It’s necessary to deal with past trauma, such as an abusive childhood or an instance of sexual violence, to keep it from taking over your life. Trauma and fear are closely related and both may act as relapse triggers to make you begin using again, just to stop the emotional pain.
Rehab Aftercare at Atlantic Recovery Center
One of the most successful ways to avoid relapse is to have the support of a solid aftercare program once treatment concludes. Atlantic Recovery Center, serving South Florida, provides just this. Rehab aftercare at Atlantic RecoveryCenter begins with the option of extended residential care. Many clients simply aren’t ready to face life in the real world after a few weeks in recovery. For these individuals, we offer the opportunity to extend care until a more opportune time. We also offer transitional housing facilities, a strong alumni program, and aftercare services that include peer support and crisis intervention.
Clients of Atlantic Recovery Center will always be welcomed to alumni events and provided access to a supportive network of peers and clinicians to help them navigate a drug-free existence without the fear of relapse. If you’re interested in everything Atlantic Recovery Center has to offer, call us today at 877.432.0867 for more information.