It’s a challenging journey to get sober and stay that way. It’s easy for old patterns, behaviors, and choices to get in the way. It’s easy to let the person you once were to take over, making an innocent choice to have fun, which only leads to self-harm and relapse.

If you’ve relapsed before, you’re not alone. In fact, some experts see relapse as a normal part of the process. It’s part of the trial and error of changing your life. Yet, relapse is dangerous. If not tended to immediately, it can lead to a full regression and return to the addiction. When this happens, any effort, time, and money spent towards getting sober goes out the window.

One way to prevent relapse in your life is to know the common reasons behind relapse in the first place. Knowing what could potentially cause you to drink or use drugs again could be the vital information that keeps you making choices aimed at sobriety. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the following are common triggers for using again:

  • -negative emotional states such as anger, sadness, or stress
  • -physical discomfort such as withdrawal symptoms or pain in the body
  • -positive states such as a strong desire to feel good or better than you’re feeling now
  • -desiring fun or good times with friends or family
  • -social pressures, such as being at an event where everyone else is drinking or using drugs
  • -testing yourself and your sobriety by telling yourself you can have just one drink
  • -unbeatable temptations or cravings
  • -conflicts with others, such as having an argument with your spouse


It’s important to remember that if you relapse, it is not the end of the world. As mentioned earlier, relapse is a common experience in recovery. In fact, relapsing could be what fortifies your sobriety. Just like when someone fails but they continue to have their eye on the prize. The failure itself becomes fuel for continuing to move forward toward the goal. The same is true for relapse and recovery. For some, a relapse becomes fuel for staying sober and charging forward in recovery.

Ways that you can strengthen your sobriety after relapse include:

  • -call your sponsor
  • -talk to your therapist
  • -schedule an appointment with your doctor
  • -go to a 12-step meeting
  • -call a supportive friend or loved one


When you feel strong again in your sobriety, take a look back and what the trigger was for you. What prompted the relapse? What could you have done differently? Asking yourself these questions can give you self-knowledge so that you can prevent another relapse in the future. Although relapse can be incredibly discouraging, it can also be a time to learn from your mistakes and make corrections in the choices you make. Also, if you feel like you might be becoming more and more vulnerable to addiction, contact someone who can support you so that you can prevent it before it happens.

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