Most people who decide to get sober from drugs and alcohol try and fail several times before attaining long-term sobriety. That said, about 70% of all recovering addicts will relapse in the first year. However, in recent years, the integration of medicated assisted treatment has improved this percentage. While this may not appear hopeful, it’s essential to keep in mind that that a relapse does not signal failure as recovery is a process. In fact, relapse can be used as opportunity to appreciate and improve the recovery process.
By recognizing the warning signs of an addiction relapse, you have a better possibility at avoiding one. Here are top five triggers that cause relapse, and some measures you can take to control them.
Alcohol or drugs in Home. This is recovery 101, but a surprising number of people think they can overcome the trigger to drink or use when their drug of choice is still in same place. In early sobriety, the presence of alcohol or drugs will produce a trigger that’s too strong to reject. Remove substances from your home and steer clear of situations where you know drugs or alcohol will be. Eventually, you’ll be able to avoid the temptation as your sobriety grows, just not in the early days.
Social pressure. Being around your partying pals or drinking crew makes it simple for you to regress into those destructive behaviors. While everyone wants to be part of a group, it’s not going to work if you want to get sober. Just as the old adage says, “if you hang around a barbershop long enough, you’ll eventually get a haircut.” It would be best to get connected with another social group that supports your recovery and 12-step meetings are everywhere.
Isolation. Even though you’ll want to put some space between you and your old friends, staying connected to people is vital to staying sober. Spend time getting to know your family and supportive friends as a sober individual. Also, get a daily plan together that includes 12-step meetings. You’ll be surprised how quickly you will make new, supportive friends.
Stopping therapy and 12-step meetings. Going to regular addiction therapy or a 12-step meeting is probably your biggest key to avoiding relapse. When you go to treatment and meetings, you are leveraging the most important assets to your recovery. Having a structured support network gives you the tools and resources you need to combat relapse triggers.
Boredom. If you’re lounging at home with nothing to do, you’re at an elevated risk for cravings and relapse. Early recovery is a pivotal time for addicts. For this reason, it’s important to have daily goals and tasks (that includes recovery). The bottom-line is you want to be busy and productive. It’s the best defense against boredom that leads to triggers and relapse.
Above all, it’s important to understand that recovery is a journey and not a destination. For most, relapse is a part of that journey. And, while everyone’s journey is unique to them, there are many common denominators that make us alike. If you or someone you love has relapsed and needs help, call BriteLife Recovery at 866-470-2187.
About the Author
Matthew Koenig is the principal of Last Call Marketing, which devotes their efforts to Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, Website Design and SEO, primarily in healthcare and tourism concerns. Mr. Koenig is based out of South Florida. His sober date is June 10, 2013.