How Outside World Affects Recovering Addicts and Relapse

While there is no immediate cure for addiction, it can be successfully treated and managed, with the help of evidence-based approaches promoted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  However, your journey to recovery success and freedom can only start with the crucial decision to enter a drug and alcohol rehab.

Take note, however, that your mindset should be for a long-term effort, since addiction is a recurring or chronic disease.  In other words, you should expect to experience falling down and back into your nasty habits multiple times along the way.  Relapsing is a constant given in any path to sobriety.  Thankfully, while relapses are often beyond your control, getting back on track is always an option.  Through determination, perseverance, hope and a solid support system from peers and loved ones, you can achieve sobriety, peace, happiness and productivity.

Here’s how a reputable drug and alcohol rehab can help recovering addicts cope with unhealthy relapse factors post-rehab.

Trigger Factors Surrounding Addiction and Relapse

Relapse means giving in to your drug or alcohol cravings, despite some success in your attempts to quit.  No matter how far along the road to recovery you may be, there’s always the nagging temptation to return to your old habits.  Crucial factors at play include:

Biological Factors

  • A history of addiction in the family reveals that you are genetically predisposed to suffering from addiction yourself at one point in life or another.  This genetic factor also has an intrinsic effect on your relapse tendencies.
  • While males are more prone to addictive behavior, females are faster to progress in their addiction.  And although women find it easier to admit having an addiction and seeking treatment than men, their emotional volatility makes them more vulnerable to relapsing.
  • Co-occurring Mental Health Issues. If you are afflicted with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or some other mental challenges, you are more likely to abuse or be addicted to drugs and alcohol.  And unless these issues are addressed and somehow managed in a healthy way, you are at greater risk of relapsing.

External or Environmental Factors

While genetic predisposition may partly be at fault for your addiction and relapse tendencies, the outside world plays an equally major role in the success of your drug and alcohol treatment.  Here are specific examples of external factors that can trigger a relapse.

  • Pressure. The following case scenarios can explain a lot about relapse caused by peer or environmental pressure:
  • Attending weddings, reunions, New Year’s celebration or other social gatherings that serve liquor can seem harmless. Yet a tiny spark can easily ignite your otherwise dormant addiction into a fiery blaze.  It only takes a single drink to escalate into a full-blown relapse.
  • Associating with friends who still drink or do drugs is a surefire way to relapse. In the truest sense, bad company corrupts good habits.
  • Keeping in touch with old “friends” via social media, even if not personally, can possibly tempt you to join them once again in their constantly posted drinking spree or heavy partying.
  • Unless you learn healthier and more accessible ways to cope with life’s daily stresses; you will end up turning to your old habits for short-lived comfort. Family or school problems, divorce, getting fired, death of a loved one, loneliness, purposelessness, and even depressing weather make it easier for you to reach out for that bottle of whiskey or a few illicit pills.

The internal affects the external, and vice versa.  In other words, biological and external factors are interrelated in their role in triggering relapse.  Nonetheless, experts advise the following to keep relapse at bay:

  • Proper nutrition.
  • Regular exercise.
  • A healthy recreation or hobby.
  • Steering clear of high-risk situations or old “friends.”
  • Continued rehab aftercare.