Coping with addiction can feel overwhelming for all people involved. Those with addiction often struggle for many years before they seek help. Loved ones, employees, co-workers, and others suffer the consequences of their actions. The way to find better coping mechanisms for triggers, cravings, and issues in recovery is to find out what the stages of addiction are, and the best way to stay sober, so that people can find hope in the struggle.
Addiction has three main stages of concern to people who struggle, including loved ones:
Not everyone will relapse, but it is a real risk in recovery. The cycle of addiction has changed over the years. Addiction is not always seen as a disorder. Addictive disorders are in their own category, depending on what the person’s struggle is, including stimulant use, hallucinogenic use, opioid use, and others. The potential for relapse comes from a compulsion to use the drugs, not being able to control the cravings or triggers, or feeling in a heightened emotional state that makes them vulnerable to relapse risks.
When relapse crosses a person’s mind, it is not a blaring sign on their forehead. It may be a slow run-up to the event itself where they are dabbling more and more in things that drive them towards addictive behavior, including:
- Drinking with friends (even if not alcohol but out with old buddies who drink)
- Being in old haunts or neighborhoods again
- Reminiscing about the days of doing drugs or drinking
Relapse can occur through thoughts, behaviors, or controlled use. The real risk is for a person to think they are in control, stop going to group activities, responding to sponsors, or participating in their own sobriety. Triggers that start or further the relapse process differ from person to person. Finding the right coping mechanisms is the best way to make it through recovery and past relapse risk.
When thinking about triggers, it is helpful to focus on the following things that may help people cope:
- Have family, friends, and others who support sobriety and want to talk about issues of accountability
- Attend support groups to find help
- Create habits that distract from addictive behavior, including exercise, hobbies, or other things
- Create space for reminders of negative consequences. Make a list of any personal or legal consequences of substance abuse that may be faced
- Create positive self-talk that focuses less on the negative and more on the positive side of things
Getting an understanding of personal triggers and the impact on relapse can really help make recovery viable for a long time. There is a challenging time to figure things out, but help is always available through the struggle, no matter how rough. The key is to reach out and ask for it before things go too far down the path of relapse that it feels difficult to pull back.
The Last Resort teaches and trains people in rehab how to notice and navigate their triggers effectively. It is not a guarantee against relapse. It is merely a way to create the opportunity for people to find hope and healing in the journey so they feel less alone. If you are ready for treatment and to stop using drugs or alcohol, contact us. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.