Avoiding addiction relapse triggers, especially during early recovery, should be the primary focus of any recovering addict. An addict is particularly vulnerable to relapse during the early stages of his or her recovery journey. Part of the prevention plan should be to avoid any contact with people they formerly used drugs or alcohol with. Many find this difficult to do because this was the scope of their social life and they became psychologically and emotionally attached to the people and the process. Changing patterns of thought and behavior take time to process even though the recovering addict knows they must change. Finding ways to make the transition easier and avoiding the pitfalls of relapse triggers is an important topic for the recovering addict and should be included in their relapse prevention plan.
Guard Your Thoughts
The first thing a recovering addict should admit to himself is that there are no excuses to justify unhealthy thoughts and behavior. These practices will only provoke an addict to slip back into relapse. A recovering addict has to become aware of their thinking, especially idle thinking that raises a red flag of danger. Inappropriate thoughts and behaviors are dangerous to the addict’s health, safety and life. Any thinking and behavior that can propel an addict into using again is unacceptable. The addict has to remain aware and vigilant of their thoughts, and when a red flag arises he must say “no” and cast that thought out of his mind. He should not allow his mind to linger and dwell on seductive thoughts of using again or socializing with drug users and alcoholics. Recovering from addiction is built upon a foundation of proper thoughts, so it is imperative that a recovering addict guard his thoughts. A famous quote that explores the journey of a thought is, “Beliefs become thoughts, thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become character and character becomes your destiny.”
Stress is high on the list of relapse triggers. There will be enough stress to deal with on a daily basis, and adding to the list is not smart. Some relationships can be a huge stress inducer. Whether it is a family member, friend or significant other is not important. A toxic relationship with anyone can bring with it feelings of anger, frustration, irritability, insecurity, jealously and so much more. Coping with a drama queen or emotionally needy person is difficult and not something a recovering addict needs in their life. Thoughts of having to temper negative emotions with drugs or alcohol that were triggered by a toxic person is a dangerous encounter. Any relationship that produces negative feedback is unhealthy and should be discarded for the sake of the addict’s sanity and life. Removing toxic people from your life is an important part of recovery. New relationships should be made with positive, stable people who will respect and support a recovering addict’s agenda to remain sober. Socialize with people who are fun and easy to be around, and don’t put pressures or demands on you. Having the right kind of people in your life will remove a lot of stress, heartache and negative emotions that can trigger a relapse.
Being physically sound is another important aspect of relapse prevention. Coping with difficult situations and people is harder to do when an addict is tired and malnourished. It takes a lot of physical energy to juggle the stresses of life. If an addict is unhealthy, their body cannot stand up to the demands of work, school, family, etc. Having a healthy body will help a recovering addict cope with stress, triggers and strong emotions. The addict can build up their body strength and immune system through exercise and nutrition. Eat wholesome, nutritious food and drink and be sure to get enough rest and relaxation. Doing some form of exercise will keep the mind clear and focused on achieving set goals. A healthy body empowers an addict to handle high-stress situations like working extra hours to get out of debt or attending night school after a full workday. The recovering addict should try to establish balance where he can by getting enough rest between activities. He should also avoid unrealistic goals that will add more stress. Staying strong and focused both mentally and physically will help to prevent a relapse.
Most recovering addicts know what triggers will provoke them to slip into relapse. They should write down their list of triggers and what they will do to avoid succumbing to them. Keep the list handy and review it often. You can also show the list to someone you trust who can act as an accountability partner. Be honest with that person if triggers begin to make their way back into your life. Be vigilant and remember, practicing all of the above-mentioned tips can help keep an addict on the right track.
If you or someone you love is having trouble maintaining their sobriety, call the addiction specialists at White Sands Treatment Center. We have the treatment programs to help you overcome your substance abuse and dependence issues.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.