Avoid Relapse by Managing These 5 Triggers


It is possible to truly overcome addiction and live a healthy and sober life. However, many people endure struggles along their path to sobriety and it becomes difficult to avoid relapse. According to NIH, 40%-60% of people who recover from addiction will relapse at some point.

Relapse doesn’t mean failure, but it does mean that an individual should return to treatment or reevaluate and adjust their current treatment plan with the help of a professional.

Although the possibility of relapse may be scary, it’s important to also recognize that there are steps you can take to avoid turning back to the use of drugs or alcohol. Learning common triggers and cues that represent an increased chance of relapse and doing your best to avoid those, or dealing with them in a healthy way when they arise, can empower you to maintain your sobriety and control your urges to use.


A fatigued or exhausted individual may struggle to make healthy decisions. Exhaustion also makes a person more likely to give into cravings because they may no longer have the energy to resist. By maintaining a healthy sleeping schedule and getting enough rest, you can keep your mind and body alert and rested, allowing you to make tough decisions, if necessary.


Self-licensing describes a subconscious phenomenon that occurs when individuals allow themselves to indulge in something following a positive behavior. For example, a person on vacation with family or celebrating a birthday may justify having a few drinks based on the fact that they haven’t used alcohol in months. Of course, having a few drinks can sometimes spiral into something more. Avoid self-licensing to justify returning to drug or alcohol use.

Environmental Cues

A person in recovery visiting places where they used to drink or use drugs, or where others are drinking or using drugs, can lead to relapse. Environmental cues can intensify cravings and make it more difficult for an individual to maintain their sobriety. Spending time with people who used with you can also serve as an environmental cue that leads to relapse. Finding new hangouts and a new social circle can sometimes be crucial to the success of an individual’s recovery in the long term.

Negative Emotions

negative emotions

Individuals dependent on drugs or alcohol may have used those substances to cope with negative emotions. Once those individuals become sober, feelings of stress, anxiety, anger, or depression can become much more difficult to deal with. Addiction treatment plans can teach a person in recovery coping mechanisms that will help them deal with these feelings in a healthy way, without the use of drugs or alcohol.

Pink Cloud Syndrome

Pink cloud syndrome represents the feelings of elation that come along with early sobriety. People in recovery are rediscovering – and enjoying – life without drugs or alcohol. However, an individual may soon encounter one of the triggers or cues listed above and find themselves really struggling to stay sober. This shift can cause a crash back down to reality that can be difficult to deal with. Rather than feeling guilty about having the urge to use, individuals should focus on their successes and the progress they have made. Losing out on renewed relationships with friends and family and the chance to truly enjoy life again can be an incentive to overcome urges to use and continue to stay sober.

Pyramid Healthcare provides comprehensive addiction treatment for those in any stage of recovery. If you need help with your drug or alcohol use, you’re not alone.

For more information about our services, call (888) 694-9996 and speak with one of our admissions professionals today.

All content provided on the Pyramid Healthcare, Inc. blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended to represent medical advice. Pyramid Healthcare, Inc. and its blog authors make no guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. Pyramid Healthcare, Inc. and its blog authors will not be liable for any errors or omissions in the information provided in the blog, nor be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. The opinions stated in this blog reflect those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Pyramid Healthcare, Inc. These terms and conditions are subject to change at any time with or without notice.