Relapse Triggers You Might Not Expect
Everyone in early addiction recovery knows that bad news and bad luck can trigger a relapse. Some of the more common and obvious triggers include things like financial problems, divorce, or a death in the family. However, misfortune isn’t the only cause of a relapse. In fact, relapse triggers can come to you in the guise of very positive things. Some of the most unexpected relapse triggers are also the most common, like the ones listed below.
Going on Vacation
A vacation is a relaxing experience that everyone looks forward to. It’s a break from the stresses of everyday life and a chance to focus on yourself. Typically, a great vacation is an indication that your recovery is going well since you have the freedom and the resources to enjoy the world around you. Still, travel itself can pose a serious issue for someone in active recovery. In fact, the stress that comes with traveling is one of the most common (and overlooked) relapse triggers. In addition, when you’re on vacation, you could find yourself in compromising situations like:
- losing your tickets, confirmation, itinerary, etc.
- experiencing problems with your travel budget or funds
- being around other vacationers who drink or use drugs regularly
- meeting others who try to pressure you into “having a good time” with them
Having a Romantic Relationship That’s Going Really Well
It’s common knowledge that dating should be reserved for after your first year sober. This is because a sour relationship, a bitter breakup or unrequited feelings for someone are common relapse triggers. But what happens after the first year of sobriety? Well, you’re not entirely in the clear. Relationships that go well are just as likely to trigger a relapse. This is mostly due to a lack of free time. If all of your focus is going into your budding romance, you just might not have time to dedicate to meetings, therapy or treatments anymore.
Enrolling into Your First-Choice School
Opening your acceptance letter is one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. You’ve worked hard to get into your dream school and now you’re on your way to further your education as a sober intellectual. So, what is the risk of a relapse here? The simple answer is stress. As fulfilling as school is, it is also one of the biggest stressors you’ll ever have as someone in recovery. Potential stress-based relapse triggers in school include:
- more difficult learning material than you anticipated
- problems with money and budgeting for school
- a heavier workload than you expected
- decreased amounts of downtime
Any of these and other issues could easily interfere with your ability or willingness to keep treatments as part of your weekly schedule.
Landing Your Dream Job
Just like going to your first-choice school, getting the job you’ve worked hard for is a great achievement that could potentially trigger a relapse. It all depends on your schedule and how you manage your stress during the daily grind. You might find out a little too late that your new job:
- is more difficult or more stressful than you thought it would be
- interferes with your ability to attend meetings or schedule treatments
- exposes you to others who use and have access to addictive substances
Feeling Too Confident in Your Recovery
This is one of the trickiest relapse triggers to recognize. Feeling great about your progress isn’t a bad thing. After all, building your confidence and sense of self-esteem is one of the best parts about addiction recovery. However, there is such a thing as feeling too confident in addiction recovery. It’s a major red flag when you feel like you no longer need therapy or meetings to stay on track in your sobriety. This is usually the point at which people in recovery start to think that they’re in a stable enough place to drink or use drugs in moderation without consequences. Obviously, this mentality is a slippery slope down to a full-blown relapse. So, overconfidence is one of the deceptive relapse triggers to be wary of at any stage of recovery.
Preparing for Unexpected Relapse Triggers with Wellness
Relapse triggers can occur during the best of times just as easily as they can occur during the worst of times. This is what makes having a relapse plan such a vital part of the recovery process for anyone looking to get sober for life. If you need to prepare for unexpected relapse triggers or build a relapse prevention plan, the staff at Wellness Retreat Recovery Center can help. Call us at 888-821-0238 for more information about our programs and services.