Recovery brings plenty of rewards. This is especially true if you are continuing to stay sober and are achieving your goals. At the same time, recovery can bring many unique challenges. In fact, most people (up to 80%) relapse at least once after attempting sobriety for the first time at a substance abuse treatment center.
Yet, the best way to look at relapse is to see that it is a learning opportunity. It is a chance to investigate yourself – the thoughts, circumstances, and choices that led to the relapse. It is an opportunity to make your commitment to sobriety even stronger. And it is also an opportunity to learn more about addiction, recovery, and what you can do to prevent relapse in the future.
One way to understand yourself better is to understand relapse. Why does it happen? What contributed to it? When you know the circumstances that are going to lead to relapse, you can avoid them. When you know what is going to cause a relapse, you can do your best to stay away from those triggers. At Westwind Recovery®, we are here to help you through every step of your recovery journey, from your alcohol addiction treatment program all the way through your recovery.
Triggers that Risk Relapse
In general, there are various triggers that can put people at risk for relapsing. Of course, they can be different for each person, but here are some common ones:
- Negative emotional states (anger, sadness, trauma, or stress)
- Physical discomfort (withdrawal symptoms or physical pain)
- Positive emotional states (wanting to feel even better)
- Testing personal control (“I can have just one drink.”)
- Strong temptations or urges (cravings to use)
- Conflict with others (such as an argument with a spouse or partner)
- Social pressures to use (situations where it seems as though everyone else is drinking or using other drugs)
- Good times with others (such as having fun with friends or family)
- Isolation and loneliness (not having a strong support network)
This is a quick list to give you a clear picture of the potential obstacles on the road to recovery. When faced with these challenges, with enough support, you can work through them versus letting them take over your life. For instance, here are some ways to prevent a relapse when you feel that relapse is approaching after seeking a drug addiction treatment program.
Coping Tools to Address Triggers
There are many tools in addition to addiction treatment therapy programs that you can use to address and overcome your triggers. For example, these can include:
- Seeing a mental health professional and beginning to heal any unresolved issues that lead to the negative emotional states
- Relying upon your circle of support or work on creating a stronger support network
- Making a commitment to yourself or recommit with more gusto
- Recognizing when you are attempting to test your personal control
- Learning to recognize your unique triggers
- Creating an emergency plan – who are you going to call when you have a strong craving or what are you going to do?
Over time, you can learn to resist triggers that would have caused you to relapse in the past. It is like building the muscle of sober living. Even though there are temptations, urges, cravings, and triggers, your sober living muscle can get stronger and stronger. Your inner strength to avoid temptation’s call only continues to get stronger with each “No!”
Having a good understanding of what can get in your way of sobriety will help you avoid those obstacles as you continue on the road to recovery. At Westwind Recovery®, our treatment programs can help you overcome relapse and achieve a lifetime of sobriety. Contact us at 855.340.8832 to get started today.