Red Flags: Three Potential Relapse Situations

Getting off opioids is no easy task. Whether it's prescription painkillers or heroin, it takes a tremendous amount of courage for the addict to get to the point where they can admit their lives have become unmanageable. Sadly, many never reach that point.

Thankfully, with a lot of hard work, the help of addiction treatment centers like Medical Assisted Wellness, and supportive medications like Suboxone, an addict can get on the road to recovery. Unfortunately, the risk of relapse is always there for an addict, and to counter this, they must be hyperaware of situations and circumstances that may put them at jeopardy. Here is a look at three different areas of life to monitor for potential issues.

Transitional Events

Anytime something major changes in one's life, it's stressful. This applies to both non-addicts and addicts alike. Change is difficult, even when that change is a good thing, like a new relationship or a new, better-paying job. Changes like new relationships and new positions can be exciting and rewarding, but they frequently require things such as more responsibility and increased constraints on your time. These kinds of transitional events require you to "step up your game." When the changes are negative, such as the loss of a relationship or job, it can be really easy to fall back into what many addiction counselors refer to as "stinkin' thinkin,'" thought patterns that aren't necessarily indicative of reality and are quite pessimistic instead. This can encompass extreme, black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking that can quickly send the addict spiraling into a pit of despair if they are not careful. This is why it's so important for the addict to have a support network they can depend on to help them accurately assess the situation they find themselves dealing with. Having someone mirror back to you what they see and reminding you things aren't necessarily that bad can be extremely helpful for the addict. Support people can also remind the addict that using will not make things better, nor will it ease the pain.

Loss Of Control

Sometimes, transitional events are exacerbated if they are accompanied by a sense of a loss of control. No one likes feeling like things are happening "to" them without their permission. But unfortunately, both loss and a loss of control are a part of life. Working through the stages of grief, whether it's for the loss of a loved one or a job, are a requirement, and it's exacerbated for the addict. It's often during these painful times in life where the successful addict learns how to control themselves—the only thing they can control, ultimately.  

Craving Triggers

While cravings may be dramatically reduced after the initial withdrawal and recovery period, most addicts would probably say they never completely go away. Certain people, situations, feelings, and even a smell or a song can trigger a craving out of the blue. It's important to remember the coping skills you learned during treatment and work through the cravings, so relapse doesn't result.