3 Uncommon Relapse Triggers
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: July 13, 2020

When it comes to relapse, some relapse triggers are well known. Old places and friends that you associate with substance abuse and situations where your drug of choice is available are common triggers. Traumatic experiences like the loss of a job or the death of a family member can also trigger a craving. However, not all triggers are as well known. These uncommon relapse triggers can take you by surprise, so it’s important to know what they are. By being aware of triggers before leaving your addiction treatment program, you are better preparing yourself for success once home.

Uncommon Relapse Triggers 1: Success

Struggling to make ends meet can cause stress that puts you at risk for a relapse, but being successful is an uncommon relapse trigger. Success can be financial or emotional.
Examples of success as a relapse trigger are:

  • Unexpected money (winning the lottery, inheritance)
  • Promotion
  • Falling in love
  • Finishing therapy or rehab program

How can success lead to relapse? There are a few reasons. The biggest is that when you’re experiencing success, you can begin to feel invincible. Everything is going well. Nothing could go wrong. So one drink or one pill won’t turn into a disaster, right? By the time you realize you are wrong, you’ve lost the success you worked so hard for.

Lack of money is often mentioned as a stress-related trigger. However, doing well comes with its own temptation. You have the financial means to buy your drug of choice. Unexpected money is particularly problematic because you don’t have a plan for it. If you receive unexpected money, make a plan for it as soon as possible. It will help keep you on track.

The feel-good chemicals that push us to achieve success in the first place can also ignite cravings in your brain. You feel great, even on top of the world. Perhaps you want to hold onto the feeling once the initial “high” of accomplishment wears off. Success is a wonderful thing and an affirmation that you are doing well in recovery. Just don’t forget that recovery is how you got there.

Uncommon Relapse Triggers 2: Idle Hands

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground.” Boredom and time off can be triggers. When your mind isn’t occupied, it’s easy to think about “the good ole days.” It’s important to find productive things to do with your time. Pick up a new hobby, make improvements around the house, and volunteer. It’s important to have downtime, but too much downtime isn’t a good idea.

Uncommon Relapse Triggers 3: Quarantine and Isolation

Spending time with the friends you used with is an obvious trigger. Isolation is an uncommon trigger, but a significant one. We all need human interaction. Interaction with friends and family that support your sobriety encourages you and helps hold you accountable. If you are self quarantined in your home, will anyone notice if you get high? The fear of letting others down can motivate you to stay sober, and isolation makes it easy to hide your use. Feelings like loneliness and depression can also trigger you to want to use again.

It’s vitally important to stay in contact with your alumni support network. If you can’t meet in person, video chat, attend virtual recovery meetings, or use online therapy.

Help at Lakeview Health

At Lakeview Health, we know the struggle of addiction and recovery. If you are concerned about uncommon relapse triggers or are ready to begin your road to recovery, contact Lakeview Health today.

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