Situations That Can Trigger a Relapse

No matter how hard you are working to maintain your sobriety, you will always have the risk of addiction relapse hanging over your head. The reality is that life can throw a curveball your way at any time and can leave you open to a relapse. Certain situations will weaken your resolve, so the only way to stay on track is to remain vigilant for the rest of your life. Below are a few examples of situations that could arise and put you in danger.

Bad Times

It should come as no surprise to hear that bad times are a danger to your sobriety. When life takes a turn for the worse, it is natural to seek out the substance in which you once found comfort – at least, initially. Many things could cause you to slip, including the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, a marriage breakdown, a diagnosis of an illness, or a catastrophe.

Good Times

While you may already be alert to the danger posed by bad times, it is also important to be on your guard when things are going well. Most people get complacent and let their guard down when life is going right. They may think that it is easy to stay sober and that because life is going so well, they are in control. It is at these times when they are in danger of relapsing, especially if they start missing their meetings or avoiding contact with their sponsor because they feel they do not need it.


A holiday abroad is a time to relax and unwind with friends or family members, and it is traditionally a time when people eat and drink more than they normally would at home. For recovering addicts, it is a time where they are away from their network of support and where they can easily find opportunities for a relapse. While it is important that you can enjoy your holiday, you need to remember that one slip up here could put you on a downward spiral.


Many people do not like change and they feel anxious at the thoughts of new things. This could be anything from a new relationship to a new job to moving home. Feelings of anxiety can trigger cravings, which can be dangerous, so you need to be alert to these emotions and remember your techniques for dealing with them.


Once you have completed your programme of rehabilitation and have been in recovery for some time, you may begin to wind down the number of meetings you attend. As your life starts to get back on track, you may find that it is not as full as it was before. You may miss the intense and full days of early recovery or you may start to think wistfully of the days when your life was full of drama and excitement, however bad this was at the time. At this time in your life, you are in danger of relapse without even realising it. You will need to find other things to do to occupy your time and prevent you from slipping up.

Illness or Ailments

During recovery from addiction, it is quite common to experience various physical ailments that can leave you feeling unwell. Struggling to deal with various aches and pains can be distressing and can leave you feeling disappointed and disillusioned with your recovery. It is not uncommon for people to begin to romanticise the days when they were using or drinking. They will convince themselves that they felt better when they were addicted, and so could be in danger of reverting to their old behaviour.

As long as you are always on your guard and vigilant to the risk of relapse, you should be able to handle any situation effectively and keep your recovery on the right track.

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