Completing rehab is an important accomplishment, but it should be seen as only the beginning of an addiction free life. Others will continue abusing drugs, and it is inevitable that you’ll be tempted to resume usage as well. One of the most important things that recovering addicts must watch for are relapse triggers, which dramatically increase the likelihood of resuming drug usage once again, which undermines all the hard work, time and effort that was put into completing rehab.
What are Relapse Triggers?
A relapse trigger is an event which tempts a recovering addict to begin using drugs. These events are outside your control; they come in many forms, and will present themselves to every recovering addict at some point or another. Relapse triggers are best thought of as a test, an exam which is used to determine how much you’ve learned from your rehab treatment. If you resist the urge to resume using drugs, you pass, but if you resume usage you fail. Here are some examples of relapse triggers.
High Stress Situations
Recovering addicts who find themselves busy with work or school, who face tight deadlines and pressure may become so stressed that they are tempted to use drugs to relieve their anxiety. It is first important to recognize when you’re under a lot of stress, and only take on tasks that you’re able to handle with ease. Never be afraid to say no to things that will produce so much stress or anxiety that they create the temptation to use drugs for relief.
One of the things that recovering addicts need the most is peace and harmony. They need friends and loved ones which are supportive. However, some people are the opposite of this. They constantly create drama and headaches and make themselves a source of tension and stress. These individuals, whether they are a friend, family member or significant other, must be eliminated from your life, because their very attitude and behaviors can serve as a relapse trigger. You must get rid of them no matter how hard or painful it is.
Letting Yourself Go
Successful addiction recovery involves more than just ceasing all usage of drugs or alcohol: it also involves taking care of you physically and mentally. If you let yourself go, failing to exercise, eat right or groom yourself, this can serve as a relapse trigger because you will lose the confidence that can be gained by engaging in these activities.
Returning to Unhealthy Environments
Relapse triggers will often result from visiting certain places, locations where in the past you abused alcohol or drugs. This could include nightclubs, parks or bars. Past associates and acquaintances will likely be at these locations, and it is almost a guarantee that they will offer you the very same drugs that you entered rehab to overcome. It is best to avoid these places, and any individuals who are unwilling to respect your boundaries and the fact that you no longer wish to do drugs should not be a part of your life.