5 Ways to Avoid Relapse Triggers
Relapse can be part of the process of someone striving for long-term sobriety. Relapse is a return to using a drug that hasn’t been used for a period of time. It’s normal when it happens because sobriety takes practice. It’s also true that those in recovery should avoid relapse triggers, although this may be easier said than done at first.
American Addiction Centers (AAC), a nationwide leader in addiction treatment services, offers medical detox, inpatient, residential, and outpatient services, as well as aftercare planning to help individuals to remain on the road to recovery. AAC even provides sober living facilities, which helps those individuals with their long-term sobriety goals by giving them a safe, drug-free, and supportive environment upon completing a treatment program.
If you’ve relapsed or have been battling a drug and/or alcohol addiction, please reach out and get the help that you need today. And if it’s a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1.
Triggers and Relapse
Triggers and relapse seem to go hand-in-hand. Long-term sobriety is a constant choice followed by the action to make the more productive choice. Getting sober once doesn’t mean an individual who battles with an alcohol use disorder (AUD) or a substance use disorder (SUD) is over their addiction, although remaining sober for a long period of time is commendable.
An SUD is a condition of uncontrolled use of a substance despite dangerous ramifications, and the most severe of these conditions are known as addictions. Individuals with substance use addictions may be conscience of their problem, but may not be able to stop the behavior even if they attempted to.
Reasons individuals begin consuming drugs:
- Peer pressure and curiosity.
- To feel better. For example, to relieve stress.
- To do better. For example, to enhance performance.
- To feel good. For example, to seek the pleasurable feeling of getting “high.”
- Avoid stressful situations. Often, the use of substances are “go to” solutions, or coping mechanisms, to help relieve the stress brought on by the circumstances.
Solution: Plan/manage your time/schedule to avoid creating a stressful situation, integrate moderate exercise into your regular routine, use relaxation techniques, or practice mindfulness when confronted with stress.
- Avoid negative emotions. This can be easier said than done, but individuals who struggle with addiction need productive ways of dealing with, tolerating, and managing challenging feelings that arise daily through the natural course of just living.
Solution: Meditating, journaling, or some other healthy avenue to release the negative emotions.
- Avoid times of celebrations (unless you have a trustworthy person to help you through it). Holidays, birthdays, and other causes for celebrating can be triggers.
Solution: Instead of attempting to be “strong” on your own, before going to the celebration choose a trustworthy friend who will come with you to hold you accountable without judgement and to keep you on track and safe. Planning this ahead of time will help issues that suddenly arise in the midst of a party.
- Avoid sensing/seeing the object of your addiction. This can be something as simple as smelling cigarette smoke or watching colleagues have cocktails for “Happy Hour.” These innocent actions by others may trigger you.
Solution: Plan ahead. Be prepared with an alternative option to the behavior patterns that you’ve fallen into in the past. It may be something as simple as taking a long bath, doing relaxation exercises, or doing yoga.
- Avoid places/people associated with addictive behavior. Oftentimes, there are people in your life that were part of your experiences with addictive behavior. Continuing to associate with them could cause a trigger, and therefore cause you to relapse into old behavior patterns.
Solution: Plan ahead, discuss options with your therapist/counselor. Brainstorm other activities that you can do in new places without individuals who trigger you.
If you’ve relapse and are battling an addiction, you’re not alone. There are resources available to help you get sober and to live a healthy and productive life in recovery. Don’t let a battle with substance abuse hinder you. Please reach out to get the help that you need today.