When you are considering overcoming addiction with the help of a professional institution it is only natural to be worried about the prospect of relapsing after you have dedicated yourself to a recovery programme.

However, at facilities such as those offered by Addiction Advocates, a lot of your recovery programme may well be dedicated to preparing you for the rest of your life once you have left rehab, as this will help you to enjoy your daily life post-rehab much more readily.

For an individual who has completed recovery from addiction, maintaining their sobriety is an everyday challenge.

It is naive to think that the prospect of relapse is never present, but it is important to learn how to identify your most common addiction triggers and structure an appropriate relapse prevention plan to help maintain your sobriety.

Friend and family support networks can also be crucial in helping to realise a successful mindfulness relapse prevention plan.

Since addiction is a chronic illness, this means that a relapse has the potential to occur at any point in a recovering addict’s future, with the National Institute on Drug Abuse claiming that most individuals experiencing recovery will go through at least one instance of relapse in their life.

However, with appropriate understanding and precautions being taken, the risk of relapse can be massively reduced.


Dangers Of Overdosing When Relapsing

Relapsing can obviously be a dangerous occurrence for a variety of reasons. However, one of the most obvious dangers is the prospect of overdosing.

Overdose can be particularly prevalent in individuals who are relapsing due to the fact that an individual may try to consume the amounts of drugs and/or alcohol that they were consuming at the peak of their addiction’s severity.

However, due to their body no longer being accustomed to having these levels of substances in its system, an overdose can very easily occur. And, very frequently, this overdose will lead to symptoms that bring about death.


Most Common Addiction Triggers

It is crucial that you identify your own warning signs of relapse as early as possible. When you are engaging with a professional addiction treatment programme, they will often spend a lot of time working with you to curate a relapse prevention plan.

Which will help you to identify what are your specific triggers and warning signs to be aware of, with the view of helping you to avoid these triggers having such a hold over you in the future.

Emotional triggers can include experiencing feelings of depression, anxiousness, or hopelessness, with stress triggers often being a large contributor to the development of these feelings.

Stress in the workplace, stress at home, or stress from sudden changes in your life such as the death of a loved one are all stressful triggers that you need to be aware of.

Old social circles and locations can also be common triggers for relapse. While isolation triggers are also detrimental, it is important to surround yourself with friends and family members who do not peer pressure you or cause you to feel feelings of longing for your old days of drug and/or alcohol abuse.

Additionally, old locations that remind you of your days when your addiction had a hold over you should also be avoided.

When it comes to relapse, there are three main stages of relapse that can occur — emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse — which it is worth looking at first before looking at how to avoid falling prey to these.


Emotional Relapse

The process of withdrawing from substance abuse and/or alcoholism takes a severe toll on an individual’s brain and emotions — often leading to feelings of anxiousness or depression.

As your brain overcomes the addiction and starts the healing process, these feelings will lessen over time, but experiencing feelings of anxiousness or depression in the future can therefore be a trigger.

Seemingly simple things like making sure that you are maintaining good levels of self-care during periods of emotional turmoil can be the best way to avoid letting these feelings lead you to relapse.

Activities such as getting appropriate exercise, eating healthily, maintaining a decent sleeping schedule, journaling, and practising cognitive behavioural therapy techniques can help lessen the impact of emotional triggers and are all good relapse prevention strategies.


Mental Relapse

Mental relapse can commonly follow an emotional relapse, as a mental relapse involved the individual’s struggle with their own self.

During the mental relapse stage, the individual will start to think about using again, often romanticising their past drug and/or alcohol consumption.

These thoughts will start to become progressively more intrusive and unavoidable, with the individual often fooling themselves into thinking that they will be able to control their drinking and/or drug use this time.

Similar to controlling the emotional triggers, self-care is of paramount importance. However, you should seek out professional therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy, group therapy, or any other form of psychological treatment.


Physical Relapse

The physical relapse stage is the actual act of taking that first drink or hit of narcotics. This is the stage that is most dangerous and can lead to a complete return to old ways and negative habits.

Overcoming and preventing the physical relapse requires not just saying “no” to that drink or hit when the substance is in your hand, but confronting the emotional and mental demons which have lead you to this place.

Reaching out to a loved one or professional support network is a must in instances such as this, as professional addiction therapists will be able to help you work out how you have ended up back at this place and stop you from returning to it or progressing any further down this road.


Enacting A Relapse Prevention Plan

A relapse prevention plan will often be developed to identify a variety of personal triggers which lead from the emotional through mental relapse to the physical act of drinking or using the drug of choice.

Essentially, a relapse prevention plan, by teaching you to identify your triggers, will then help you to find alternative outlets for these triggers that do not result in drugs and/or alcohol.

These can be outlets that are as simple as journaling or meditation, or something like finding a physical outlet such as a sport or even a hobby such as cooking.

Anything can be an appropriate outlet for your internal emotions, and with the help of a professional rehab, you can find your own relapse prevention plan which will work best for you.

For more information on Addiction Advocates’ relapse prevention coaching, call us today on 0800 012 6088.

Additionally, when you attend treatment with Addiction Advocates, you will also enjoy the benefit of a one-year aftercare programme in order to help you maintain your sobriety post-rehab.





  • [1] National Institute on Drug Abuse - https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/content/what-relapse