Causes of relapse vary from person to person and are often related to specific triggers. Release triggers are events, situations, or memories that bring up past feelings related to abusing drugs and alcohol. Part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program is to help individuals identify their triggers and develop effective coping skills to help prevent relapse.
Common Causes of Relapse
Relapse triggers and the causes of relapse do vary from one person to the next. It is essential to understand that while there are generalized triggers, the exact events, locations, persons, and other factors all play a role in determining how strong the trigger is for the recovering addict.
Keeping this in mind, here are some of the more common causes of relapse:
#1: Seeing others enjoy the substance you abused.
When you see others drinking, smoking, or using drugs, either in person or on TV, it can be a reminder of your addiction. It can seem unfair that others get to have a good time while you are supposed to remain sober. As such, the desire to relapse can become intense.
However, learning to develop substitute behaviors you can fall back on when you feel triggered, like exercise, meditation, or reading a book, can bring about positive reinforcement to help you avoid relapse.
#2: Seeing people or locations related to your addictive tendencies.
It can set off a trigger if you see “old friends” you used to drink or use drugs with or visit locations where you drank or got high. In addition, the intensity of the trigger could be compounded if your “old friends” apply peer pressure to give in just this once.
When you see people or locations that remind you of using, avoidance is a good practice when you first get out of rehab. So, if you see someone you know, head the other way and avoid talking to him.
Instead of driving by places where you abused substances or visiting them, find new routes to avoid them and new places to hang out with friends you made in rehab where you can remain sober and not be tempted to use.
#3: Being exposed to excess stress and anxiety.
One of the top reasons people relapse is from too much stress and anxiety after they complete rehab. They may have learned that abusing drugs and alcohol was an excellent relief method in the past. As a result, if you are not prepared to deal with added stress and anxiety, you could relapse.
However, if you take the time to learn different relaxation techniques, mindfulness, and stress and anxiety management exercises, you can reduce the likelihood of relapse. In addition, attending meetings, counseling, and talking to a peer support specialist can all be beneficial when you feel overstressed.
#4: Being too hard on yourself.
After rehab treatment, when you have to return home and resume your daily routines, it is easy to feel like those around you are being overly critical about you. Likewise, you might sense your family and coworkers are excessively cautious because they are unsure how to behave with you around.
This can cause you to become overly critical of yourself and view yourself negatively like you are not good enough to be given the chance to live a sober life. These feelings are normal.
Yet, the most important thing is to be prepared for them when they arise and have a plan in place on how to deal with negative emotions and feelings, like calling your sponsor, seeing a counselor, or attending a group meeting.
#5: Not being prepared for family celebrations and social events.
Birthdays, anniversaries, corporate parties, and celebrating the holidays with those closest to you could be a potential trigger when substances will be present. However, you may feel like you can handle the situation since these gatherings are generally happy times.
Unfortunately, things can quickly go wrong when alcohol is being served, or someone shows up with drugs. All it takes is a few family members or coworkers to start enticing you to just have one drink with them or just take one hit.
It may be best to avoid going to family celebrations and social events when you first get out of rehab treatment. If you feel you are ready, do not go alone. Ask your peer support specialist or sponsor to go with you.
Having someone there by your side that you can turn to if you start to feel like you will relapse could help prevent you from doing so.
Get Help With Common Causes of Relapse in Atlanta, GA
Preventing relapse requires uncovering your triggers and learning positive coping skills and mechanisms to avoid giving in to your urges. At Buckhead Behavioral Health in Atlanta, we include relapse prevention in our custom-tailored rehab treatment programs.
Our goal is to help you overcome your addiction and establish a solid foundation to prepare you to live sober. During your program, we work with you to uncover your triggers and develop effective coping skills before leaving our luxury rehab center.
If you feel like you will relapse or are ready to take control of your addiction, please feel free to contact us today!