What causes relapse? The answer is both simple and complicated. Relapse is caused by picking up drugs and alcohol again instead of taking a proactive measure to abstain. Both a process and a spontaneous decision, relapse is typically the result of some kind of stress which leads to impulsive decision making.

Emotional Stress

Learning to live with emotions is part of recovery because emotional stress can be a trigger for relapse. Stuffing emotions, avoiding emotions, and ignoring emotions can lead to ever increasing emotional pain. Pain and addiction are closely related, but don’t mix. Meaning, the addicted brain isn’t fond of brain, though it loves finding things to be in pain about. The more pain the addicted brain can find, the more reason it has to seek pleasure. Drugs and alcohol create pleasure in the brain, which it finds preferable to stressful emotions.

Work Stress

Returning to the work field and becoming responsible as well as accountable to a job is a gift of recovery. However, walking into a new level of stress can be overwhelming. Managing stress is essential in recovery, because almost anything, like a job, can cause stress. Not handling stress in the right way can lead to slacking off in a recovery program. Rather than go to therapy or attend recovery support meetings, there is a greater urge to just “relax” or escape the stress of work.

Familial Stress

Acceptance is a major theme in recovery and one of the hardest to put into practice. Family members don’t have to change when recovery becomes part of a loved one’s life. Often times they do. More often they don’t. Coping with difficult family members and dysfunction in the family of origin environment can create emotional stress which can trigger relapse. Working with a therapist is a healthy way to work through family programs and develop skills for coping.

Relationship Stress

Romantic relationships outside of addiction, mental health, and recovery are complicated enough. Throw high running emotions, increased sensitivity, and a desperate need for healthy communication in and there can be a lot of stress. Heartbreak in early recovery is a sad cause of relapse for many people and can lead to overdose. Waiting to date in recovery is always recommended. For those in relationships, seeking out relationship counseling can help both partners through the transformation.


Hired Power wants to help your family bring recovery home, for a lifetime. Our recovery services support families on the journey to recovery from start to finish. For more information, call us today at 1-800-910-9299.

Most Recent Blog Posts

5 Ways To Forgive Yourself In Recovery

    Sometimes, in active addiction, we do things we aren’t proud of. We may have hurt the ones we love, do things we are ashamed of, and caused harm to ourselves. We may feel guilty, embarrassed, and angry. Although you may have gotten substance abuse treatment and are...

    Read More

    Recognizing A Problem With Alcohol

      It can be fun and relaxing to go out for drinks with your friends on Friday nights after a long work week or have a cocktail before bed. Many people drink alcohol and do so regularly, but how do you know when your drinking has become a problem? When many of us think...

      Read More

      Which 12-Step Program Is Right For Me?

        12-Step programs are a common part of addiction recovery. Many treatment programs utilize a 12-Step approach, and many of those recovering choose to attend meetings after they complete their treatment. Attending meetings can help individuals maintain their recovery...

        Read More


        21062 Brookhurst St. #201, Huntington Beach, CA 92646

        ©2021 All Rights Reserved. Design & Development by Goldman Marketing Group | Sitemap | Privacy Policy The information available on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to replace a medical consultation where a physician's judgment may advise you about specific disorders, conditions and or treatment options. We hope the information will be useful for you to become more educated about your health care decisions. If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact us at