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Common Drug Addiction Triggers and How to Fight Them, Part I

Drug addiction triggers are the events, feelings or situations that cause those in recovery to let go of their focus on remaining clean and sober and relapse on their drug of choice. Seeing someone using your drug of choice, for example, is a common trigger, or arguing with a romantic partner has driven more than one person to relapse.

There are too many potential situations or events that can trigger relapse, so the easiest way to address the problem is to distill those issues down to the base emotion they incite in you and learn how to deal with those emotions.[i] Some of the most common triggering emotions include envy or jealousy, criticism, rejection and feeling a lack of control.

Envy and Jealousy Trigger Drug Addiction Relapse

Couple dealing with jealousyYou feel jealous when someone threatens to take something of yours: a job, a partner, reputation, etc. Envy occurs when someone else gets something that you believe you deserved: a promotion, the right to make certain decisions or money. These feelings are about justice. What’s yours is yours; you deserve to have the object of your desire, and you feel the person who has it doesn’t deserve it. You may even wish ill upon the person who has what you want. These feelings can be extremely damaging to your recovery.

Criticism Triggers Drug Addiction Relapse

Whether the criticism comes from those who would help you get better at something, those who would tear you down or from an internal source, it can be extremely difficult to take during the vulnerable period of early recovery. Many respond with anger or defense. Others respond with depression or feeling a lack of self-worth. Ultimately, feeling judged or less than due to the perceived perspective of others can lead to relapse.

Rejection Triggers Drug Addiction Relapse

No one wants to hear the word no, especially in a situation in which they have put themselves in a vulnerable position and asked for something. Peer rejection, romantic rejection and rejection that occurs in the form of abandonment by a parent—all of these are painful and can make you feel insecure in your recovery. The discomfort can make you want to relapse.

Perceived Lack of Control Triggers Drug Addiction Relapse

Everyone needs to feel that they are in control of their lives. However, many in recovery confuse being in control of their own lives and controlling the lives of others. If someone doesn’t do something that you want, it doesn’t mean that you have a lack of control in your life. If someone asks you to do something that you don’t want to do, they may not be trying to control you. The struggle for perceived control can be all-consuming and cause problems that end in relapse.

If you recognize the emotions above as common reactions in your life, relapse may be an issue. Relapse is common for people in recovery, but there is help available.[ii] In one of our next posts, we will look at how to handle those triggering emotions so that they don’t result in relapse and the need to return to drug rehab. Check back!

For now, if you or someone you love is struggling with drug abuse, please contact our admissions coordinators at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline today. We want to help you begin a new life away from drugs and help fight relapse triggers. Please call now.