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Why do I Relapse: the environment trigger factor?

In the addiction or substance use recovery, ‘trigger’ is anything that will induce an uncontrollable need for drugs or alcohol. This varies with each person and their history of use. It also includes this like emotions, smells for the drug or alcohol, friends and environments that act as a reminder of drug past use.

Most people trying to recover from addiction after a formal or informal treatment will probably get different guidance on relapse triggers coping skills. Most of the guidance especially from a treatment center will be to simply avoid triggers. This is probably the most difficult part of recovery as one leaves a fully protected environment to return to the old environment, their home.

Social and cultural norms: hidden triggers

Some global environments include the social cultural norms that around us.

Today is the popularly known marijuana420 or the April 20th marijuana holiday day. Today thousands of people will celebrate Marijuana, even though its still not legal in many states in the country. This will act as peer pressure, especially among younger people.

During the super bowl, one of the most watched event by parents and children in the country, alcohol is most advertised as fun and appealing.

The global social: hidden trigger

These environmental triggers make recovery a difficult disease to treat. Most people keep beating themselves with the question: why do I relapse?

The answer to this question maybe in that It’s impossible to go through addiction recovery without a conscious effort to understand these triggers for addiction. Each person is different and should understand the immediate and major triggers for themselves. Sometimes, this maybe be blind sides and a close family member or a supportive friend may be able to help in identifying the triggers. The hidden triggers however might not be identified until a relapse happens. If the relapse happens, this does not mean the recovery has failed. It just mean that there is a need for further treatment or a call to additional trigger coping skills development.

Some triggers however are not so easy. While one would be able to respond to identify and in some cases avoid the environment triggers, the global triggers may not be easy to deal with.

Part of what make this difficult is the fact that the person seems to be against giant corporation with a single end goal of making money.

Fight against the giants for recovery

Alcohol and tobacco companies have in the past shown that with their ability to increase their profits, they are able to lobby and influence lawmakers in their setting up regulations and policies around the substances. The 420 event seems to indicate that the marijuana companies are able to follow suite and there will succeed in recruiting more people to try or even regularly use marijuana.

To cope with this social push for the drug use, the person should be more prepared to have protective measures around them, especially if they already have an addiction or addiction runs in the family.

Self protection against relapse

Addiction, is now widely accepted, is a complex chronic disease which will diminish the person’s ability to stop engaging in use, which causes serious health damage, career, relationships and quality of life.

Every person will have to protect themselves and their family against the social pressure to use. These corporations are out to make money, you will need to understand the dynamics of the game and you or your family place in it for survival.

If you are recovering from addiction and or you have a loved one is struggling with addiction, check our resource page for help in training and help in understanding addiction and how to help.

Recent polls indicated that over 80% of Americans supports some form of legalization of marijuana, over 40%supports any use, 14 % do not support any form of legalization. In light of addiction epidemic and mental health challenges, what do you think.

Leave us a comment below with your thoughts.

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