Know The Signs: Subtle Relapse Triggers

You may have heard about the big triggers for relapse: Spending time with old friends who are still using drugs or alcohol, going to bars and concerts where there’s easy access to drugs and alcohol, and not following up with meetings. Avoiding triggers in recovery, is a key to success. However, a number of unexpected issues can catch you off guard in recovery and trigger relapse.

7 Relapse Triggers That May Surprise You

  1. Getting a large sum of money. It may not be winning the lottery, but maybe you get an inheritance from a distant relative. In recovery, having access to a large sum of money with no designated purpose can be dangerous. It can trigger the urge to throw out everything and start partying. Going to 12-Step meetings, attending therapy sessions, and engaging in the work of recovery may quickly fall to the wayside when you have a lot of money on hand out of nowhere.
  2. Promotion. Getting a promotion at your job means that your hard work has been noticed and the powers that be see you as an asset they would like to keep and allocate more strategically. This is affirmation in recovery on a number of levels, but for some, the pressure to perform can be a trigger for relapse. It may happen with the offer of a new job, or it can build up over time as the responsibilities pile up. Either way, it’s a good idea to have a plan for how to deal with unexpected stress in recovery.
  3. New love. Falling in love can be amazing, and if you are stable in recovery and find someone who is also sober or willing to support you 100 percent in your recovery, then it can be a great part of your life. However, dating especially in early recovery can trigger a relapse. From liking someone more than they like you to an unexpected breakup. It can be an emotional rollercoaster. Have a plan if you start to feel like your sobriety is at risk.
  4. Travel. Got a great vacation planned? Make sure you’ve got a great plan in place to protect you from relapse. Going to a  foreign place, where you know no one, may feel like it’s a free pass. The potency of different drugs varies significantly in different regions, and it is not uncommon for people to overdose when they are traveling, especially after a period of sobriety.
  5. Boredom. It isn’t always being in the midst of a party where everyone is drinking and getting high that triggers cravings for drugs or alcohol. Being bored at home with nothing to do can make you feel like your only option is to relapse, especially if you are not heavily invested in your sober community or working on finding positive ways to spend your time.
  6. Confidence. Low self-esteem is certainly a risk for relapse, but so is having an exceptionally high confidence level. If you feel like nothing can bring you down in recovery and you can do whatever you want at no threat to your sobriety, you’re bound to prove yourself wrong.
  7. Time off.  When you decide to give yourself a break and skip a few 12-Step meetings, postpone therapy appointments, or stop taking your meds for any amount of time, you are no longer making progress in recovery and you are at risk of relapse. Persistent interactions with your sober community plus regular engagement with your therapeutic team are key to sustaining sobriety.

If you are struggling with addiction or relapse and looking for rehab in Las Vegas,  Desert Hope can help. We can help bolster your recovery post-relapse with outpatient treatment, aftercare programming, or our sober living options. These options can also be helpful as forms of step-down treatment after you have completed a higher level of care.

Call us right now at to be connected with one of our experienced, compassionate admissions navigators who can help answer all of your questions and get you back on the right path.

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Desert Hope is located in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is easily accessible from most locations in the Southwest. We offer a full continuum of care that spans from inpatient medical detox and rehab to outpatient services and sober living. Take the next step toward recovery: learn more about our addiction treatment programs near Vegas or learn about how rehab is affordable for everyone.