Identifying Addiction Relapse Triggers
Those seeking life long recovery from opioid addiction must identify and be aware of their relapse triggers.
During the recovery process it is not uncommon for an addict to relapse, returning briefly to their drug of choice. Although this may be a part of the recovery process for some, addiction relapse is not a given and does not happen to everyone. Identifying and being aware of relapse triggers and how to manage them is essential for sustained recovery.
Identify Your Triggers
Professional counseling plays a vital role in recovery. Once relapse triggers have been identified, patients can learn coping mechanisms to fight their triggers. Obviously it is important to identify your triggers. Here are some common relapse triggers.
1. Socializing Situations
Avoid social situations where drugs are available. This will mean not socializing with your friends that use. Make a list of people that are triggers for you and avoid socializing with them. This may be hurtful to them, but you and your recovery are top priority.
2. Places Where Drugs Are Available
Stay clear of places where you used or drugs are available. Simply driving by can be enough to cause a strong urge to use. Don’t put yourself near those areas.
3. HALT. Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired.
These 4 “conditions” are high risk for those in recovery. Try keeping a meal schedule and maintaining good sleeping habits. As far as emotions, whether you become angry, sad, lonely, etc….these are part of life. Being aware and learning how to cope with your emotions will be important in your recovery. For example, if you are lonely, call a friend. Regardless, it is important to socialize regularly with supportive friends and attend support group meetings or counseling, especially if you are feeling vulnerable or lonely.
Be thoughtful about what stresses you. This list is different for everyone but common areas of stress are:
- Loss of a loved one
- Loss of a job or a new challenging job
- Failing marriage or relationships
- Health problems of your own or a loved one
- Financial/Legal difficulties
Be mindful of managing stress during your recovery and learn ways that help you reduce and cope with stress in your life.
5. Certain Days Or Times Of The Day
If certain days are especially hard for you, keep yourself busy with activities or have supportive friends or family close during those times. If certain times of the day seem harder, schedule your support groups and counseling during that time if possible.
In the beginning of recovery many safe guards are up and you are regularly attending counseling and therapy sessions to keep you strong in your recovery. It is when recovery seems a little easier and life evens out that a person may become overconfident in their recovery. They may allow themselves to be put in risky situations, stop going to counseling, or start hanging out with old friends. This can be a dangerous time for relapse. Self-confidence is good but overconfidence is risky.
Addiction is a chronic disease and you need to stay strong in your efforts. The best course of action to prevent relapse will always be therapy, social support, and lifestyle modifications.
If you do relapse, get help immediately. Even though you will be disappointed in yourself, don’t get discouraged. Recovery is still possible, just learn from your mistake and how to modify your actions for it not to happen again.
If you are struggling with drug addiction, please get help before it is too late. Help is just a confidential phone call away.