Once through recovery, many individuals find they need to stay vigilant to ensure their sobriety. Addiction is a chronic disease. Thus, even after treatment, one has to have a plan to prevent relapse. However, it’s important to remember relapse doesn’t mean failure. Rather, like many diseases, relapse is something to be managed. Prevention is possible. But when relapse does happen, having a plan of action makes a big difference. Individuals relapse for a variety of reasons. However, there are some common relapse triggers. When individuals, their friends, and family know how to identify these triggers of substance use disorder, then the risk of relapse is reduced.
Internal and External Triggers
In simplest terms, a trigger is a reminder. It is something or someone whose presence brings back to an individual the memories or a past event. Sometimes these can be quite traumatic. But no matter what the trigger, what distinguishes them is how intense the memory becomes for the individual. For those in recovery, triggers can be so visceral they lead to relapse. Typically, common relapse triggers fall into one of two categories:
- External Triggers: These common relapse triggers consist of people, places, things, and activities. External triggers challenge recovery because they can be difficult to control. For example, overhearing someone else’s conversation, seeing images of drug paraphernalia, or catching a scent similar to a place in time are all occurrences you’ve no control over. Avoidance is one way to cope. However, it’s inconsistent. You don’t have to isolate yourself. Rather, design with your counselor, therapist, or support system actions to take when these things are encountered. Often, talking through your external triggers with others in group therapy or some support program can help.
- Internal Triggers: For some, these triggers can be more difficult to control because they can not be avoided. The emotions that build up inside you, such as anger, fear, and anxiety, can push you to relapse. Learning how to cope with stress is vital. Similarly, recognizing negative thought patterns early and changing course can be a necessary skill to learn. This is where cognitive behavioral therapy can help.
Relapse is part of the recovery process. If a person relapses, it doesn’t mean treatment or the individual has failed. Instead, it’s an opportunity to assert control. Relapse shows us what we need to work on, what we need to pay attention to, and how we need to change our strategies.
H.A.L.T: Common Relapse Triggers
Perhaps the most common relapse triggers can be summed up in the acronym H.A.L.T. This stands for ‘Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.’ Often individuals, whether in recovery or not, push themselves beyond their limits or ignore self-care.
Learning to recognize these common relapse triggers and take action to deal with them can not only prevent relapse but improve your overall well-being. It’s a simple logic. Being fully rested, around others you care about and enjoy, at ease with your work or relationships, and sated means you’ll make positive decisions and live well.
Lasting Recovery with Promises Five Palms
Relapse happens. What matters is how you or a loved one responds to it. The only failure in treatment is giving up. At Promises Five Palms, we understand relapse is part of the process. But we know once individuals recognize their common relapse triggers, they can learn to overcome them. We’re here to get you back on track.
Our support at Promises Five Palms is unwavering. If you or a loved one has relapsed or if you feel as if you might contact us today at 1.844.675.1022. We can give you the support you need to continue your sobriety and make a lasting recovery.