a person looks ahead possibly contemplating their relapse triggers

Common Relapse Triggers

Triggers are often internal or emotional reactions to external situations or environments. Triggers can occur at any time without warning. For this reason, they often catch people off guard. This surprise can be devastating for someone trying to break their addiction but falls prey to common relapse triggers of which they may not be aware.

One of the reasons why treatment for alcohol or drug addiction is vital to recovery is because a therapist can help a client identify the triggers and find a solution for overcoming them. Recognizing common relapse triggers can be the first step in avoiding them and learning to manage them. Enrolling in an addiction aftercare program like The Right Step Hill Country can be the perfect place to learn about your triggers and transition to life after rehab.

The Steps After Rehab

After successfully completing a drug or alcohol rehab program, it’s important that you do not stop your progress there. To maintain your sobriety, you will need to continue working on your recovery every day. One of the best ways to do this is by enrolling in an aftercare program to learn how to manage relapse triggers.

An aftercare program can help you stay on track by providing:

  • Therapy
  • Support groups
  • Transitional housing
  • Job placement assistance

Addiction aftercare programs are available to help you transition to life outside rehab. They can provide the support and resources needed to avoid relapse and maintain sobriety.

Common Relapse Triggers

Recovery is a lifelong journey, with the opportunity to relapse everywhere. Recognizing relapse triggers can help you maintain your sobriety and avoid slipping back into the vicious cycle of addiction. While every person will experience different relapse triggers, some common ones include:

High-Risk Situations

One of the biggest lies that people in recovery tell themselves is that they can handle a high-risk situation. These are situations where the threat of relapse is high. They often involve basic human conditions such as

  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Illness
  • Loneliness
  • Stress

When experiencing high-risk situations, a person either feels overconfident that they can deal with them on their own, or their guard is down because they feel emotionally or physically drained.

Overcoming a high-risk situation can be challenging. However, if you are serious about recovery, the best way to avoid high-risk situations is to stick to a strict schedule and have an escape plan. Eat good meals, exercise, stick to a sleep routine, and be honest about what situations you can and cannot handle.   

Emotional States

Emotions are normal and even healthy ways of dealing with different situations in your life. When emotions get off balance, however, you may react in destructive ways, like drinking or taking drugs. Emotions range from feelings of deep depression to a state of euphoria. Both the highs and the lows can be triggers for relapse. 

Like other triggers, emotions happen quickly and often without awareness. Many people don’t always know when they are angry, sad, depressed, anxious, excited, or even joyful. As a result, they can quickly get caught up in a situation and sabotage their recovery.

One of the best ways to overcome strong emotional triggers can be to practice what was learned in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a therapy that helps people understand how their thoughts and emotions affect their behaviors. It can help you learn to control your feelings and reactions to triggers.


Isolation is one of the most common relapse triggers because isolation is a common symptom of addiction. For this reason, it is not suitable for you to spend too much time alone while recovering. The more isolated you are from other people, the more excuses you will make for drinking or taking drugs.

Furthermore, when you relapse, you may feel ashamed or embarrassed. This shame fuels your desire for isolation even more. Eventually, you will fall headlong back into addiction.

Overcoming isolation can be easy when you put your mind to it. Get out, get moving, and get with other people. Spend time with friends, coworkers, family, your support group, and others who will lift you up and encourage you to keep going. Furthermore, pushing yourself to get out during those moments when you want to be alone for long periods can help you avoid this trigger in the future.

Learn More About Common Relapse Triggers

At Right Step Hill Country, our goal is to give you the resources, education, and support you need to overcome your addiction. Learn more about common relapse triggers at our addiction treatment center in Texas. Call us at 1.844.675.1628 to get started with your treatment.  

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top