5 Most Common Causes for Drug and Alcohol Relapse

causes of relapse

The road to recovery is long and fraught with challenges. It requires a great deal of discipline, self-reflection, and patience with oneself in order to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety. If you have committed yourself to the life-changing work of conquering their addiction, you likely started by detoxing off of either drugs or alcohol which is an incredible feat in and of itself.

Because recovery is such an important achievement, it can be so disheartening to learn that relapse rates for people in recovery are so high. A staggering 85% of people relapse within their first year of recovery.[1] While a relapse should not be considered a failure, nobody wants to go through the detox process twice.

Acknowledging the risk of relapse is one of the most important steps you can take in avoiding relapse in the future. By seeing the danger, you can identify the most common triggers of relapse and preemptively develop strategies to cope with the triggers or find ways to avoid them altogether.

Here is a list of the 5 most common causes of relapse.

1. Withdrawal

One of the most important reasons to seek out the care and guidance of a reputable rehabilitation program when quitting drugs or alcohol is the withdrawal process. This process poses serious medical risks and it is extremely challenging to weather on your own.

You deserve help and support throughout this difficult process, especially during this phase of recovery when physical symptoms and cravings might drive you to use before you’ve even given yourself a chance.

Seeking out medical detox can help to reduce the risk of relapse during this critical stage. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the post-acute symptoms of withdrawal can last for up to 18 months.[2] Continued therapy and support will be vital in maintaining your sobriety throughout the entire withdrawal process.

2.  External Factors

People, places, and things can all serve as triggers within your first year of recovery.

When considering what people might serve as triggers for you early in your journey, ask yourself: did I used to use drugs or alcohol with this person? Does this person value my safety and respect my sobriety? Does the nature of my relationship with this person cause stress or sadness that I want to mask with drugs or alcohol?

Places like bars, liquor stores, casinos, or parties can be rife with memories of past use that serve as landmine triggers. If you associate a place with drugs or alcohol, avoid those places. Similarly, objects like syringes, credit cards, pill bottles, or champagne glasses might serve as triggers for you.

While not all of these triggering people, places, and things can be avoided altogether, acknowledging your discomfort, exploring its source, and developing an action plan (like calling your sponsor, or another supportive friend who can help to distract you) when presented with such instances is important in maintaining your recovery.

3. Uncomfortable Emotions

If you, like many who struggle with drug or alcohol dependency, were using substances to mask strong feelings then you will likely find those feelings triggering when confronted with them once you return to your “real life.”

Sitting with your newfound feelings in sobriety can be one of the most powerful triggers for you early on. You can no longer count on drugs or alcohol to numb your loneliness, your sadness, your feelings of emptiness, your anger, or even your tiredness. These feelings are unpleasant, but they’re a natural part of the human experience.

Shutting them out is unhealthy and painful as it sometimes may be it’s important to become aware of, accept, feel, and cope with your emotions. Therapy and mindfulness practices like meditation can be helpful in learning how to live with full access to your feelings; the good and the bad. 

4. Boredom and Isolation

Early in recovery, you may feel as if there is a void in your life that drugs once filled. Most of your socialization and recreation likely centered around the use of drugs or alcohol and it can be difficult to figure out how to replace those old activities so that you’re not left at home staring at the wall or endlessly watching TV.

That’s why it’s important to build a support network upon leaving your rehabilitation center. 12-step programs and other support groups can be a great way to build a new social circle where the fellowship does not center around the use of drugs or alcohol.[3] Having this social support can allow you the time and space in your recovery process to discover new hobbies and passions like cooking, running, reading, writing, or volunteering.

5. Pride and Overconfidence

Maybe while reading this you’ve been thinking to yourself, “This is great advice…for someone else. But I’m never going to relapse.” Of course, being confident in your recovery is important. But at the end of the day, no one is immune to the risk of relapse, not even someone with 20 years of sobriety under their belt.

Diligence and mindfulness are vital for everyone at every stage of recovery. No matter how far along you are in your journey, it is wise to avoid anything and anyone that does not unequivocally support your sobriety.

Learn How to Prevent the Most Common Causes of Relapse at Moving Mountains Recovery Center

Whether you are struggling to maintain your sobriety or trying to achieve it for the first time, at Moving Mountains Recovery in New Jersey our goal is to help you create a life so full of adventure and passion that you will never need to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope ever again. Don’t delay any longer in obtaining the care you deserve. Call today to speak to an addiction treatment specialist.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3674771/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1555415521005523
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3753023/

Related Posts

6 Warning Signs of Relapse

Maintaining long-term sobriety from addiction is never easy. People must continuously practice their recovery maintenance techniques without cutting any slack. When someone does slack in their recovery, they put themselves at risk of suffering from a relapse. ...

Stereotypes About Addiction and Why They Are Dangerous

Addiction is a common disease that affects about 10% of Americans.[1] Despite addiction being so prevalent in our country, the attitude around this condition is not always supportive or understanding. Many people still believe in stereotypes and the stigma surrounding...

Can My Family Visit Me During Rehab in New Jersey?

Going to rehab for an addiction can be extremely scary, primarily if you’ve never attended addiction treatment. While giving up drugs and alcohol is distressing, inpatient treatment programs also require you to take time away from your family and friends.  Being...

Should I Go Back to Rehab After Relapse?

Drug addiction and alcoholism are complex and progressive diseases that require constant dedication and practice to recover. If you suffer from a substance use disorder, you know that attending professional treatment is the best way to learn how to maintain long-term...

What is a Sober Living Home and How Can it Help Me Stay Sober?

Recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism is a lifelong journey. If you decided to enter addiction treatment, you’ve made the first and most important step. However, recovery from substance abuse doesn’t end once you’ve completed residential or outpatient addiction...

Is it Okay to Go to Rehab More Than Once?

Addiction to drugs and alcohol can have a significant, negative impact on every aspect of your life. From your mental and physical health to finances and social life, addiction takes a toll that can last years–or a lifetime.  Addiction is a complex condition....

5 Bad Habits to Avoid in Recovery

Addiction to drugs and alcohol can cause significant harm to your mental and physical well-being. Deciding to seek treatment to overcome addiction can be a life-changing–often life-saving–choice. During treatment, you will learn the skills you need to manage...

Treatment for Anxiety and Addiction in New Jersey

While anxiety is an emotion everyone experiences at some point in their lives, some people suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are more than just periodical feelings of fear and worry. People with these conditions suffer from persistent and intense...

What Are the Different Stages of Relapse? (Emotional, Mental, Physical)

Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process. For many, the path of addiction recovery is full of twists and turns. Most people in recovery will experience at least one relapse–a return to substance use after a period of abstinence.  Many factors may contribute...

Is There a Relationship Between Tourette’s Syndrome and Addiction?

According to the CDC, 1 out of every 162 children (0.6%) has Tourette's syndrome (TS).[1] If you don’t have personal experience with this condition, you have probably heard about Tourette's syndrome in the media.  While the media portrays TS as uncontrollably...

Take The First Step to a New Life

Transform daydreams into realities

Moving Mountains takes a whole-person approach to recovery by offering a continuum of care, clinically proven treatments, and holistic healing. We work closely with you to identify your unique needs, facilitate individualized treatments, and help you establish a foundation upon which your recovery--and the rest of your life--can grow. Our compassionate, friendly staff is available 24-hours a day to take your call and help you begin your recovery journey.

 

Combatting the ever-growing drug epidemic that this country faces begins with you. Make the most of our vast knowledge of addiction treatment and our proven ability to change lives. Let's Move Mountains together.  Take the first step towards a new, better life by giving us a call today.

Begin RecoveryVerify Insurance

Get Addiction Help Now
(973) 397-5055
Representatives available now.