Relapse. A word any recovering addict wakes up and goes to sleep with. It’s always there, that feeling, that nagging thought. There is no escaping it, there is only fortifying against it and remaining strong against its onslaught of waves. It’s not so difficult to stay strong and focused in our daily lives, but there will come a time when a choice or a decision has to be made. A decision that could lead you to make a mistake and fall in the relapse trap. Let’s continue our overview of some of the most popular and prominent relapse triggers and how to avoid them.
No one is perfect, least of all addicts. Addicts in recovery are no different, we are all people, after all, not machines. To make mistakes is in the nature of humanity. A string of mistakes have been made that got us in this situation in the first place, right? There is no need to deny it or run away from it. You have made mistakes before and there is plenty more where those came from, so don’t beat yourself up when you feel anxious, angry, frustrated or tempted. It is normal. Try to stay true to your recovery plan and if anything goes off-the-rails, don’t sit on the tracks with your head in your hands. Shake it off and focus your attention towards getting back on track.
We don’t choose our family, we have what we have and must make do. One can not simply swap a sibling or two, change your parents or even more distant family like cousins and aunts or uncles. That said, if your family is highly dysfunctional and prone to arguments, drama and makes you anxious, there is nothing that will force you to keep their company and join their angst-riddled merry-go-round of bickering and blaming. No family is perfect, just like no human being is perfect, we already established that. Families consist of people, therefore to presume that a group of imperfect people could form a perfect family is just an illusion. There is imperfect and then there is toxic. Extremely toxic family relationships could have been the very reason you made those bad decisions that landed you in addiction. In these cases, it is more important than ever to distance yourself from the negativity that these people bring to your life. It is not worth slipping back into the abyss just to please your family. A family that cares for each other, at least on some level, will understand and support that decision.
There is a reason why you got addicted. A very good reason, one way or another. What that reason may be, is largely dependent on each individual and the immediate world around them. The majority of people, however, start using because they are confident, that they will not get addicted. There is a fine line between confidence and overconfidence. You made it through your 30 days of inpatient rehab, sat through the support group talks and checked in for a few weeks already. Surely that’s enough, right? Wrong! It doesn’t matter whether you are recovering from addiction for 5 weeks, 5 months or 5 years. As soon as you feel that your addiction was a non-issue and is a thing of the past, you have sabotaged your recovery and a relapse is more than likely to happen as soon as you have a really bad day. We all get bad days from time to time, it’s important to not let them control us and our cravings. Most recovering addicts have slipped in relapse without even realizing it, just because they underestimate the long lasting mental and psychological impact it leaves on people.
Keep these thoughts with you as a warning and reminder how easy it is to slip up. Better yet, personalize possible relapse triggers and write them down somewhere. There are recovering addicts that write down every single situation that led them to thoughts of relapsing. They write it down on a small card and keep them in a wallet, close at hand for when you need reminding of the previous times you almost gave up but found the courage and strength to stay true to yourself and keep resisting the urges. Not only will this remind you, that you are not the only person going through these very prominent triggers, but also to remind you of that corner in your mind that found strength the last time you had to make a hard decision.