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. This means the addicted brain isn’t fond of the 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 a 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 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 800.910.9299.