In the context of a drug and alcohol relapse, the word ‘relapse’ is resuming your alcohol or drug use after a period of abstinence. How often do people had a drug and alcohol relapse really depends on the level of tolerance and efficacy the alcohol or drugs have on the person that was using. In other words, is basically depends on the highest potential of physical and psychological dependence. Most people relapse due to triggers, and those triggers to relapse often depend on the person’s individual experience. These triggers have no relations to what alcohol or drug the person was addicted to at all.
Causes of Drug and Alcohol Relapse
For the most part people will relapse because they go right back into the life they were living before they went in to treatment or became sober. They are probably told to remove themselves from that harmful environment, but many don’t. They feel they can just continue onward and that their friends will support them in their sobriety. Truth be told, these people are not willing to do whatever it takes to stop using.
The unsettling part of some triggers is that the person might not detect them when they happen. Stimuli, such as environmental and stress create a neurochemical response, inducing intense cravings for alcohol and drugs, and in addition these stimuli can create stress triggers. Stress triggers can appear as fear, sadness and anger. Environmental triggers are often social situations.
All in all, some say stress triggers are typically the strongest type of drug and alcohol relapse triggers, as they stimulate drug-seeking behavior during abstinence. A stress-related craving often times predicts when a relapse might occur.
Drug and Alcohol Relapse Prevention Tips
- Find support groups to express what you’re feeling. A quick way to build resentment and anger is to keep your emotions locked up. So, find a group to talk to. Alcoholics Anonymous is a great group of people where you can express yourself freely without all the worry of wondering if someone is going to understand you. You’ll be surrounded by people who mostly likely have the same issues as you.
- Surround yourself with people who support you not using. This is probably one of the harder ones, as many of us come to the doors of sobriety either alone, or from a group of actively using ‘friends.’ You need to avoid these people as best you can. True friends are those who support you, not knock you down or try to convince you that your sober life isn’t for you. Often times those ‘friends’ are threatened by your sobriety because it makes them have to look at themselves…and they might not be ready to do so.
- Don’t sit still in your sobriety. Complacency in all forms can lead to boredom and unhealthy behaviors, which ultimately can lead to relapse. Exercise, new hobbies and community service are great ways to distract you and ensure a physically and mentally healthy life.
Remember, that if you do slip up and relapse, it is okay. The relapse rate in recovery is extremely large, so focus on what brought you to that relapse and learn to avoid that trigger completely. It is NEVER a failure to relapse, but just a stepping stone to recovery. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward.