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Relapse Prevention For People In Recovery

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that over 85% of drug users with addiction relapse within one year. Sad, isn’t it?

When you read this, it spells doom and it feels like nothing can be done to avoid relapse. Let me clarify, that’s not true. One can recover fully from drug addiction. A relapse should be used as a lesson to know what happened and which loopholes to avoid a repeat.

After all the hard work of fighting that addiction, what would cause you to relapse? Whether you went through a formal rehab or you are fighting addiction on your own, there are certain triggers that make you vulnerable. NIDA refers to them as cues. Let’s find out the most common causes of relapse.

What Triggers Relapse?

Influence from Places and/or People

There are places you will need to avoid, going to hubs where you used to purchase drugs will definitely reignite cravings. Your friends who are still on drugs cannot be your source of support after rehab. No way! Your places and people of influence should be as far away as possible from your former life. Don’t try to prove a point by going to the dens and keeping the same old friends. Before you know it, your craving will consume you and drag you right back to using drugs.


Maybe stress got you to drugs in the first place. You had so much to handle and you kept suppressing it with drugs. You thought that as long as you can’t feel it, it’s not a problem; huge lie. When there’s so much to do within limited time and you are looking for ways to cope with the pressure. Stop! Ask for help. You are not a super human so you cannot manage it all on your own.

Avoid extreme pressures by planning your day so you have time for the most important chores. Also, get rid of those relationships that put you under pressure. Focus on yourself and your journey for a while. Engage in relaxation exercises and meditation to help ease the mind. Whatever you do, shun all the stressors where possible.


Addiction can cause a lot of harm to the people we love especially family. When you are recovering, it’s important to forgive yourself for the damaged relationships and any other loss incurred. Don’t carry the burden of the mistakes you did around because that guilt will take you back to what caused the mess in the first place.

Lack of support

At the rehab, you have peers, people who have been through what you have been through or worse. You have this system that keeps you afloat. When you get back to your normal life, that system is not there. Instead, you meet people who handle you delicately or isolate you. At times, they may act in good will but in the real sense they are messing with you.

Instead of sitting around feeling sorry and trying too hard, join a support group. Let the system that carries you through each day have at least people who have been in your shoes. Find time and attend meetings to keep yourself on track

Excess Confidence

Confidence is good but it can work against you if it causes you to over-step your borders. Remember, your judgment is still realigning. Making choices still needs double checking so when you agree to a party invitation, you are slowly pushing that boundary.

A lot of justification comes into play here; ‘I don’t have to drink’, ‘this is family I have to be there’, on and on you go. You need to realize you are a blink away from being irrational. During the recovery process, you need to keep your confidence in check.


Scores of drug users especially LGBTQ’s live secret lives; no one knows what they are going through and they keep hiding the truth and covering it over and over. If you find yourself in this situation, there is only one way out. Face your fears and tell the truth. Living undercover can push you right back to drugs.

Relapse Prevention Methods

It’s just a relapse but if it’s not attended to, you may end up in a worse place than you began. Here is how you can prevent that from happening.


Ostensibly, therapy feels like just a solution for mental illness. Guess what? It much more than that; therapy helps you go through the recovery process. If a therapeutic method is applied to your specific situation, it addresses the past, the present and the future therefore promoting chances of you ever relapsing.

Joining Support Groups near You

We know that rehab programs do not “cure” addiction. Rather, they set you on a pace to recovery by laying a foundation and equipping you with the necessary tools for your journey to recovery. The rest of the journey is now up to you, small steps on a daily basis, making every effort to sustain the new status is what brings overall success. For you to have that staying power, you need other like-minded individuals to help you through the process. So, whatever it takes, join a support group and stay faithful to it.

Avoiding Discomfort

Relapse is commonly associated with hunger, anger, loneliness and tiredness. To improve your overall well-being, it’s important to feed sufficiently on a balanced diet. Additionally, try to relax, find time and meditate, do yoga while you can and get a massage from time to time. The overall feeling of satisfaction and rest works against any cravings for drugs.


Acupuncture is another popular tool for improving your body functioning. It is the use of needles to help improve energy flow through the body. It must be done by professionals. Another solution is exercise; walking, jogging and running help boost your blood flow making you feel vigorous and positively charged.

Understanding triggers and avoiding them is the only sure way of protecting you from chronic relapse. A relapse is not final, it’s a wakeup call to sobriety. If you need more information about substance abuse disorders or additional information on relapse, contact us below.

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