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These 4 Relapse Triggers Are Good to Know in Recovery

Treatment does not guarantee anything about recovery. Relapse triggers can happen to the best of people, who have the best intentions, and try to ‘do everything by the book.’ There are no guarantees people will not relapse, but here are some common triggers that pop up. Family and friends who support a loved one in treatment can help but know what to look for also helps. Relapse triggers are not going to look the same for every individual. They might be environmental, personal, or some type of stressor. Knowing what to look out for helps individuals and family members who love them notice what is happening and what to do if triggers pop up.

Be Mindful of Stress

When loved ones struggle with stress, they might not know how best to deal with everything on top of recovery. Stress comes with other faces, including work, home, personal relationships, and other issues that compound over time. Stress has a compounding effect whereby issues tend to create problems through triggers. When triggers pop up, difficult feelings emerge. Breathing exercises, relaxation, and fun activities can act as substitutes for drugs or alcohol when emotions arise. Stress is going to trigger people differently, and in different ways, depending on many variables. If stress is a challenge it might be good to find some destressing ideas:

  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Spend time with loved ones
  • Exercise (walking, sports, hiking)
  • Get out in nature to relax

Personal Life

When things add stress to a person’s life in recovery, it can lead to relapse. Relationship challenges can be a huge trigger. Some relationships may end (for the better). Toxic relationships are often difficult to identify as they are subtle. Some are more overt and easy to identify. However they are identified, it is best to deal with them up front and center. Let the person know they are cared for but it is best to move on and find a healthy relationship, instead. Some key things to keep in mind:

  • It is hard to let go of family members. It may be easier to keep a distance or go to family counseling to work things out
  • Breaking up can cause stress and even lead to relapse. Seek help from counselors who can guide through a tough time breaking up with someone
  • Don’t take everything personally; sometimes friends will want to break up and that is not always controllable
  • Know when something has become more difficult to manage without support. Check-in with accountability partners, mental health professionals, and counselors who can help if it seems personal issues are causing undue amounts of stress

Social Life

People in recovery that go to social outings or events may find they are a trigger. Some non-sober events may not hide or keep alcohol away. For some people, this may be triggering. Socializing is another activity that causes stress. Facing people may trigger anxiety, especially when they may ask about personal things that lead to conversations around sobriety. Recovery makes it difficult to avoid using substances. It is normal and fun for people to socialize around alcohol, but the same is not true for everyone. This trigger can be difficult around the holidays, especially, when there are so many parties centered around drinking. How to help someone manage this trigger:

  • Help plan social events that are sober
  • Spend time working on what to say and do in the event of something being triggered
  • Offer to stay home or do something else fun rather than go into a space that is triggering

Learning to enjoy recovery means finding ways to engage friends and family without alcohol or substances at the center. This takes a lot of time to coordinate, but nothing is guaranteed. Always make sure to have accountability partners on hand to offer support when needed.

Mental Health

Some people struggle with dual diagnosis and know this in recovery. Others struggle with managing mental health issues, depending on how they were treated in rehab. A dual diagnosis treatment program assesses and works with people to better handle their mental health with addiction recovery, including triggers. With life events, stressors, and other issues at play, mental health can fluctuate day today. Some things that can be helpful for someone with mental health issues:

  • Watch for signs of depression to see if they need help (withdrawing, isolating, feeling lonely)
  • Ask if they are struggling with anxiety and need help
  • Offer to find them support

Giving loved ones support to manage their mental health is important. This helps reduce the risk of relapse. With support and involvement, it helps them to develop strategies to combat triggers that work for their individual situation. Loved ones often find this makes a big difference and helps them feel supported for the long haul.

Journey of Healing

The journey of healing is an individual one. It takes time and effort to figure out how to heal from addiction. It is not easy to navigate the journey alone. A good treatment program with a holistic mind and body approach (dual diagnosis, individualized treatment plans) can be the best place for someone to find support for addiction. When someone is open to treatment, they are saying yes to the rest of their life by dedicating their journey to sobriety not just for themselves, but for their loved ones, as well.

The Guest House Ocala helps people who need support for addiction and recovery. Every person deserves individual support. Our staff will help determine your needs and give you support. You are not alone in the journey. Call us to find out how we can help you with mental health and physical addiction needs in recovery: 1-855-483-7800