A common fear among those recovering from alcohol or drug addiction is relapse. The fear of addiction relapse can be a good thing as it can help to motivate individuals to maintain their sobriety and be alert to various triggers. It is important that those in recovery remain attentive as there are a number of triggers that could easily cause a return to addictive behaviour.
Most people assume that an addiction relapse occurs when a person starts drinking alcohol or taking drugs again after a period of sobriety. However, relapse begins the moment that person starts to think that it might be okay to use again.
It is quite common for those who have been in recovery for a while to assume they are cured of addiction. If an individual has gone for a long time without craving alcohol or drugs, this person may then believe that he or she never actually had an addiction in the first place and that they could easily practice controlled drinking if they wanted to. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
Why You Need to Avoid Addiction Relapse
There is no cure for alcoholism or drug addiction, and the only way for recovering addicts to stay healthy is to stay sober. You will know yourself how difficult it was to overcome your addiction, so it is vital that you avoid a relapse at all costs.
The amount of time and effort you have spent recovering from your illness should be enough to keep you on the right track, but memories often fade with time. If you find yourself starting to think fondly of the days when you could drink alcohol or take drugs or are finding it difficult to remember the bad things that happened when addicted, you could be in danger of relapsing.
Returning to drugs or alcohol would be a disaster. You have a fantastic opportunity to grab life with both hands and enjoy it, but if you go back to your addictive behaviour, you may never get this chance again. Overcoming addiction once is difficult enough but to do it again could be impossible. You may never find the motivation again, and think about how your family would be affected.
What Can Trigger a Relapse
Many things could cause a return to addictive behaviour, so it is vital that you are aware of these triggers so that you can avoid them.
Complacency or overconfidence is one of the biggest causes of addiction relapse. Learning how to be more confident is a good thing for those affected by addiction as low self-esteem is a common trait among those who struggle with drugs or alcohol. Nevertheless, there is a danger that you could become overconfident or complacent about your recovery, and this could easily lead to a return to addictive behaviour. Those who start to think they are ‘cured’ could stop putting any effort into their sobriety and could be in danger of relapse.
Making the decision to get help for addiction is a positive one. You might have been told that the only way to get your life back on track and start enjoying it once more is to quit alcohol or drugs, and rightly so. Nonetheless, some recovering addicts expect these changes to happen instantly. It is important to remember that your addiction did not occur overnight so it is unrealistic to expect it to disappear overnight. It will take time and patience to overcome this illness, so do not assume that things will not improve just because they are not what you expect them to be. Take a step back and evaluate the reasons you wanted to quit and make a conscious effort to work hard on your recovery; the good things will come.
Loneliness and Boredom
It is important to stay active in recovery or else you could find yourself returning to drugs or alcohol. You may have a lot of free time on your hands now that you are no longer spending your days drinking or taking drugs. To avoid addiction relapse, you need to find something to do that will stop you from feeling bored or lonely, both of which are common relapse triggers.
Spend time with friends and family members, or look for a new hobby that could open up a whole new world of opportunity for you. It could be that you meet some new friends, or even find a hobby that you are really good at and which could be turned into a career.
To prevent addiction relapse, you need to be aware of the various triggers. While some are easy to recognise, others may be more subtle. If you find that you are considering drinking or taking drugs again, you need to act fast. Talk to your counsellor or therapist or get yourself to a local fellowship meeting where you can access advice and support. Alternatively, give us a call here at Addiction Helper.