We often hear “relapse is part of the process” in addiction recovery circles. In reality, there is truth to this. Relapse is a part of the process for most people in recovery. It is very rare for someone who is addicted to a substance to just stop one day and never use the substance ever again. Does it happen? Absolutely. Is it typical? No not at all. So, what does that mean for those of us who struggle with an addiction? It means that relapse may (and we could say likely will), happen at some point in our attempts at sobriety.
So, what can we do to prevent a relapse? The biggest thing we can do to help prevent a relapse is being aware of our triggers and having a plan to deal with them. This really helps with identifying the risk of relapse before it happens. For example, if I know money is a trigger for me, (let’s say when I get money I go right to the casino where I proceed to drink the whole time I’m there), I can plan for how I’m going to handle my money before I get it. This may look like deciding I will take out the money I need to pay X bill and give the rest to person Y until I need more. In doing that, I can help prevent the rest of that spiral into relapse. In this example, that would mean that if I don’t hang onto more money then I need to pay that bill, I won’t end up going to the casino, and therefore won’t end up drinking.
Of course, this isn’t as simple or the perfect solution it may seem in just talking about it, but the better we get at recognizing the warning signs of relapse before it happens, as well as having a plan for dealing with those warning signs when we notice them, the more likely we will be to maintain sobriety long term.
Questions about triggers or anything else addiction/recovery related? Feel free to get in touch!