Addiction is a disease, and just like many other diseases, relapse is possible. Relapse usually isn’t something that occurs suddenly, however. It is preceded by triggers, which are events or issues that make you want to use. Recognizing what these triggers are allows us to do our best to avoid them.
While everyone’s triggers are different, there are common ones that many of us share. Here are some of them that resonated with me:
- Medications – Both OTC (over-the-counter) drugs and prescription medication can be a very dangerous trigger for relapse. My trigger was Percocet. I had all four wisdom teeth extracted just three months into my recovery, and the surgeon prescribed it for the pain. I quickly learned that it did a lot more than just relieve my pain. I had begun substituting one drug for another and justified it by saying it was legal. My surgeon caught on pretty quickly and ended the supply line, so I started buying them on the street. It wasn’t until I made a purchase that landed me in jail did I see how wrong I was.
- Toxic Relationships – Most of us have that one person in our lives that tries our patience like no other. They know exactly what buttons to push in order to create drama. We might even feel as though we have to drink or get high before even dealing with this person. Or, perhaps, you might feel the need to use after spending time with them. These are all signs of a toxic relationship, one that you cannot afford to have while in recovery. If this is a family member, you may not be able to end the relationship, but you will have to learn how to set healthy boundaries.
- Depression – I have a history of anxiety and depression that I self-medicated for with alcohol for a long time. After I came out of rehab, I started having panic attacks. I found myself spending more and more time at home in isolation, because I was afraid I’d have an attack in public. I never even thought that perhaps my medication needs have changed. Fortunately, my sponsor recognized the signs and suggested I schedule an appointment with my doctor for an evaluation. The doctor readjusted the dosage on two different medications, and within a week, I was feeling calmer.
- People and Places – A relapse can be caused by something has simple as having dinner at a restaurant where you used to have a meal and some drinks with old friends. Cutting out harmful places or situations are part of your recovery. Find a new restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol and ask some sober friends or family members to go with you. Instead of tempting yourself by trying to maintain your old social life, have fun finding new places and making new friends.
If you are honest with yourself and how you are feeling, you will see warning signs, such as:
- Avoiding problems
- Changes in routine, hygiene or health
- Criticizing yourself
- Conflicts with others
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Dwelling on negative emotions
- Major, sudden life changes
- Obsessive thinking about using
- Not following your treatment plan
- Feeling bored
Life can be stressful, and we must make the decision to either deal with our problems or let them grow. By recognizing the warning signs, we can have an action plan ready to deal with them instead of letting them grow into relapse triggers. If you or a loved one may need treatment for drug addiction or alcoholism, contact us at Oceanfront Recovery today to discuss detox and treatment options. One of our professional and experienced intake advisors will speak with you at 877-279-1777 today.