We all know that people, places, and things can trigger a return to active substance abuse. We have the good sense not to walk into the bar where we used to drink, hang out at our old dealer’s house, or hook up with our ex who is still shooting up.
However, there are some addiction triggers that aren’t so common sense. If you don’t know about these potential triggers and how they can negatively impact your recovery, it’s hard to prepare for them.
Don’t Let Triggers Take You By Surprise
Here’s a look at some little-known triggers you’ll need to be aware of:
- Physical Illness
When we’re sick, we feel pain – and we used to numb our pain with alcohol or drugs. Something as little as a cold could trigger a relapse. Keep some vitamin C handy and get some exercise, even if you don’t feel like it!
A friend gets a promotion. Your cousin gets engaged while you’re still single. Your sister is moving into a nice house while you’re stuck in a tiny apartment. It hurts when everyone else’s life seems to be better than yours. Instead of envying the success of others, be proud of their achievements and consider taking some inspiration from them. We can do anything we put our minds to; past addictions don’t define our futures or our successes. Don’t give up on your dreams!
- A New Relationship
This one can sneak up on us. The euphoria of a new relationship can feel like being on drugs again – you want to push the high higher, but the consequences can trigger a relapse. When we’re in this danger zone, it’s important to push our meeting attendance higher, do more self-care, more yoga, and more meditation to keep ourselves on track in recovery.
We might think getting away from the people, places, and things of our past would be a good thing, but leaving our support system and moving to a new place can be detrimental to recovery. Suddenly you realize you could duck into a bar and no one would even know you. I learned this lesson the hard way when I moved to New York newly sober. Not long after my arrival to the “Big City,” I started getting trashed at the corner bar. I thought a change of scenery would help me sustain my sobriety, but losing my whole support system hurt.
The key to recovering after a relapse is to quickly reconstruct a support system. Call other sober people from your phone list and reconnect by hitting local meetings. There are recovery meetings everywhere; it should be easy to find one nearby.
- A Sponsor or Friend’s Relapse
When someone we’ve looked up to in recovery relapses, it can shake our faith in the process. The thing to remember is that sponsors and friends are human too, and this disease can come back to bite any of us. A sponsor or a friend falling off the wagon can be a trigger for a relapse of our own, or it can be a reminder of how much we value our sobriety. It’s all in how we look at it and how we choose to process the situation.
Additional Reading: Relapsed? 6 Proven Ways to Get Back on Track
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