Recognizing Relapse Triggers

Many addictions can be traced back to the desire to avoid unwanted feelings. So how do you make peace with emotions and remain in recovery?

The holidays, family functions, job stress, family stress, events that take you back in the path of locations where you used to obtain or do drugs can all be dangerous. They can make someone in recovery uncomfortable and trigger thoughts of returning to unhealthy activities as a way to silence those unwanted emotions.

We’ve all wished at one time or another that we could just turn off our feelings. But going through life emotionally numb isn’t really an option. For recovering addicts, there are certain times that are more emotion-filled and therefore make them more in danger of relapsing. Fortunately, it is possible to become aware of triggers and learn how to diffuse them.

Recognizing Relapse Triggers

How to Avoid Relapse Triggers

First, it’s important to identify the feelings those stressors bring up. Loneliness, fear, anxiety or unreasonable expectations can turn events that should be happy and fun into dangerous for someone in recovery.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the barrage of unpleasant feelings, but it’s important to take them one by one and deal with them from a practical instead of an emotional viewpoint. Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself that your sobriety is the most important thing at all times. Stick inspirational messages on your mirror, keep a sober friend’s number handy in your wallet or in your phone’s speed dial, remind yourself about the negative consequences that resulted from your substance abuse in the past.

When you can’t avoid triggers (stress-filled family get togethers, travel far from your support system, etc.) make sure you have healthy distractions on hand and a back-up plan. And don’t forget to schedule time for reflection after the fact. Look at what worked and what might be better the next time so each time you face triggers you’ll be more prepared than the last. Following these tips can help prevent relapse before it begins.

Relapse Help at The Oaks at La Paloma Treatment Center

If you or someone you love might be susceptible to relapse, call The Oaks at La Paloma at our toll-free number. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.

Articles posted here are primarily educational and may not directly reflect the offerings at The Oaks. For more specific information on programs at The Oaks, contact us today.