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Fighting Relapse Triggers After Drug Rehab

Keeping hold of the sobriety earned through drug rehab is an ongoing challenge. At every turn, it seems, newly sober individuals are confronted with potential triggers leading back into drug use and addiction. Yet, just because those triggers exist does not mean that yielding to them is a foregone conclusion. Realizing what the most common triggers are and working past them can make the difference between continued success and returning to square one.

  1. Major changes
    Changes, good or bad, are usually stressful. When you experience a change at work, if relationships change through death or separation or you must make a physical move, any of these can lead to stress. In the past, drugs were a panacea for stress. Be alert to stress as a trigger and learn effective skills for coping with stress.
  2. Intense emotions
    Strong emotions are tough for all of us to handle. Drug and alcohol use was a former means of escaping rather than working through overwhelming feelings. Remember that you are looking for a positive method of coping and not an escape hatch. Even over-confidence can be a problem if it means that you stop putting energy into staying sober.
  3. Negative thinking
    Drug use is inevitably connected to habits of negative thinking. Low self-esteem leads to hyper-criticism and judgmentalism toward others. When negative responses abound a person is likely covering over feelings of personal inadequacy. Thoughts of self-pity or frustration from thinking that your new life is never going to work need to be nipped in the bud. Disappointment with others because they are not meeting your overly-high expectations of them can also lead you down the wrong track. Recognize where your thoughts are headed and take control of your thinking.
  4. Wrong actions
    Behavior follows beliefs. If negative thinking and poor responses are allowed to continue unchecked, wrong behavior is sure to follow. If you find yourself speaking ill of others, stirring up dissensions or even becoming violent, take note. Stop and take inventory of what has brought you to this place. Wrong actions don’t appear out of nowhere. Those actions can be led by the wrong thinking and responding that gave birth to them.
  5. Choosing bad companions
    Ongoing sobriety requires ongoing support. As soon as you find yourself in the company of others who drink, do drugs or just don’t care if you do – you are in danger. Laissez-faire environments are not helpful. You need companions who will hold you accountable for your behavior and who will create an environment where drug use is not tolerated. Choose your companions wisely and stay away from those not 100 percent committed to your new way of life.

Posted on January 10, 2013 and modified on May 19, 2019

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