Unfortunately, relapse is all part of the process for many people who are struggling with addiction. Sometimes a relapse is brought about because an addict wasn’t committed to their recovery process in the first place, and returns to old ways as soon as rehab is over. Other times, an addict is cruising along through their program, and an unexpected trigger crops up that hurls them, almost unwittingly, into a relapse. Understanding what some of the common triggers for relapse are can help you to avoid them, to recognize them when they first crop up, and to overcome them to avoid a relapse.
Overcoming addiction requires a life change, and you won’t be able to maintain recovery if you return to your old way of life. Avoid bars, parties, or hang-outs where you’ll be exposed to your addictive substance(s).
Avoiding your old activities is going to leave some free time in your schedule, and boredom can lead to cravings and relapse. Find a hobby, attend your 12-step meetings, and make some new friends instead.
Recovery is going to be made up of a series of successes that keep you going, but there will be some failure on the way. Not living up to others’ expectations, or to your own expectations of yourself can bring on stress and disappointment that you will naturally want to ease with substance abuse. Have a backup plan in place to handle these situations, and remember that failure is part of the learning process.
You’ve made some big life changes, and there are more to come. you may feel like a stranger in your own skin and will long for the familiarity of your addiction. Engage in other areas of your life that are familiar to you, instead. Spend time with family, take up old interests, and just give yourself some time to readjust.
Many times a relapse occurs when an addict is at the top of their game, making great strides in their recovery, and beginning to feel invincible. This puts you in a precarious position as you begin to rely on your own strength, and forget to humbly ask God for help. Keep up with the program, and stay involved with your support system, no matter how well you’re doing.
Fear, lack of confidence, and feelings of inadequacy can crop up at any time as staying clean begins to wear on you over time. Ask for help, take comfort from those closest to you, and try again as many times as you need to. Properly caring for yourself physically will also help you to get through the low spots.
If you do experience a relapse during addiction recovery, get help right away. Giving up and letting your addiction take over again will only undo all the progress you’ve made. Asking for help right away and getting back on track will help you to learn from your relapse and prevent another one from occurring.