How to Avoid Relapse Triggers in Recovery

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Long-Term Recovery From Addiction: How to Avoid Relapse Triggers

The number one concern in the mind of most recovering addicts is relapse. Just because an addict went through intensive rehab treatment doesn’t mean that they can stop worrying about the various triggers of relapse. In fact, the first year of recovery is the most important because according to a study, more than 40 percent of newly-recovering addicts relapse. As such, we will discuss how to avoid relapse triggers to help you with your sobriety.

Common Triggers

Triggers in addiction recovery refer to the environmental, social and emotional triggers that can lead to relapse. How to avoid relapse triggers starts by knowing what they are. The following are some of the triggers that you should know about in order to know how to avoid relapse in recovery:

  • An overwhelming feeling or emotion such as depression or isolation
  • An event such as something bad or even good happening
  • Certain locations that you used to do drugs or drink in
  • Smells, sounds and tastes can be triggers too
  • A certain person or group of people, usually the people who you used to do drugs or drink with
  • Tragic loss
  • Annual events such as an anniversary or Christmas
  • A memory of past substance abuse, often romanticized

Tips on How to Avoid Relapse Triggers

There are several things that you can do today that will help you to keep focused on your goals. How to avoid relapse from alcohol or drugs can be done in the following ways.

Discover Your Triggers

The first step on how to avoid relapse from alcohol and drugs is to figure out what triggers your substance abuse. You should know what some of your triggers are already, and some may be obvious such as going out to a party with friends when trying to avoid alcohol. Some triggers may take you by surprise so pay attention and add them to the list so that they don’t take you by surprise again.

Figure out How You’ll Respond

A part of an effective relapse prevention plan is working out what you’ll do when faced with triggers before getting to that point. In rehab, addicts learn different ways to deal with overwhelming emotions. For example, if a person suddenly feels intense cravings, then they can use mindfulness meditation to “ride” out the cravings, which only last for around 15 minutes usually. Relapse prevention plans can also be about getting in touch with a sponsor or friend that can help you to deal with triggers on the spot.

Learn to Embrace Emotional Responses

How to avoid relapse in recovery is not about complete avoidance of your emotions. In fact, when you ignore and repress emotions then you are only fueling them to be stronger the next time around. Acknowledge the trigger or emotion, embracing it as a natural part of recovery. After all, triggers that create cravings only last for 15 to 30 minutes; therefore, breathing exercises and the like can be all you need to get over the hurdle.

Avoiding Triggers Altogether

Another one of the ways on how to avoid relapse triggers is to physically avoid them altogether. If you don’t feel confident enough to turn down alcohol or drugs at a party, then don’t go. Find a new way to get home after work if your normal route takes you past a bottle store that you used to buy from.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.

Sources:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/193144

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery