When you find recovery from drug addiction, it can be difficult to stay the course once you get back into the real world. When you are in a treatment facility, you are kept in a bubble, secluded from the stress and anxiety that comes with daily life. It’s important to be able to spot and avoid potential triggers that could cause you to relapse once you return to your normal life. The following guide walks you through some of the most common triggers that cause relapses so that you can know and potentially avoid them.

Losing a Loved One

People pass away unexpectedly every day and for someone in recovery, the loss can seem more intense than for someone who doesn’t suffer from addiction. When you lose someone you were close to, there are often many emotions that arise. Many people feel guilty for the things that they put their loved one through when they were in active addiction. They feel guilty about the time that they missed with that person or the fact that they couldn’t provide the support the person needed when they needed. Many people turn to drugs to squelch the pain and remorse that they feel.

Losing Your Job

Holding down a job when you are in active addiction can be difficult. You often cannot do the tasks that you are assigned, come in late or deliver subpar work. Once you are in recovery, it may seem as though you are on top of the world and great at everything that you do. Whether you are let go from a job for justifiable reasons or for reasons that you feel aren’t justifiable, it serves as a huge blow to your ego. When someone in recovery feel as though they are mistreated or like they aren’t good enough, they often relapse to make themselves feel better and numb the hit to their ego they received.

Pain After an Accident or Through a Surgery

When you are in involved in an accident or have a surgery that leaves you in a lot of pain, it’s common to take medications to ease some of the pain that you feel. Unfortunately, this can be tricky because they still have addictive tendencies regardless of how long they have been in recovery. Taking pain medications to ease the pain can be a slippery slope that often leads to relapse. It’s best to avoid taking the medications if at all possible and seek other forms of pain management treatment to minimize the chances of a relapse.

Dramatic Weight Loss or Weight Gain

When people stop using, they often either gain or lose a lot of weight. This change in appearance can make many people feel very self-conscious. They often have a diminished view of themselves before losing or gaining weight because they feel guilty for the things that they did when they were in active addiction. Once they feel poorly about their appearance, the self-loathing increases, and it can lead to someone wanting to mask their feelings through drug use.

Being Diagnosed with an Illness

Being diagnosed with an illness can be devastating for many people. There are many people who do not have medical insurance. When this happens, it can add a lot of stress to your life. You have to figure out how to get the money to have a surgery or get the medications that you need to treat the illness. All of the stress and worry could cause a relapse because they feel that the drugs will help them to not worry as much and could numb some of the pain that they feel from the illness.

Losing Custody of Your Children

Losing custody of your children can be devastating for anyone. When someone who is in active recovery loses custody of their children it can be a trigger because they feel like they are fighting a losing game. They may feel as though they have done everything that they could to better themselves and show that they are a fit parent, only to have the protective services disagree with them and take custody of their children. When this happens, some addicts relapse because they feel like no matter what they do, they aren’t going to win and just simply give up and go back to their old ways.

Losing Your House or Your Car

When you were in active addiction, there is a good chance that you didn’t pay your bills on time. This is common because the addiction causes you to only worry about how you are going to get your next fix. Many people spend every dime they have on their drugs and forgo payment of anything else in their lives. Unfortunately, lenders often don’t cut breaks to people who reform their lives. They don’t care that you were addicted, all they care about is getting the money that they are owed. This can often lead to you losing your house or your car. People in recovery who lose everything they worked so hard to get often relapse because they feel overwhelmed by the pressure and so depressed that they cannot handle the emotional stress that comes with a foreclosure or repossession.

Ending a Romantic Relationship

Divorce often causes people to become very emotional. Many feel sad and depressed because something that they thought was stable in their life is over. It’s important to seek counseling after a breakup or divorce. You need to be able to talk about your feelings and avoid falling into depression. Many people start to self-medicate to make themselves feel better about the situation and numb the sadness they have inside of them.

Being able to stay clean and sober requires you to handle triggers properly so that you don’t relapse. It’s best to talk to others about the way that you are feeling and ensure that you are in a good place mentally in order to stay sober. It’s going to be a difficult road but taking the necessary steps to prepare for potential triggers can minimize your likelihood of relapse.


Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.