Both maintenance and prevention are key goals of drug and alcohol rehabilitation. To maintain recovery and to prevent relapse triggers are reasonable focuses to have, worked on and planned for through rehab. Ultimately, the steps, treatment services and milestones of rehab deliver the tools to realistically achieve such goals.

Although realistic, it’s vital to remember that post-rehab steps and actions can, however, affect the success of active rehab, jeopardising both maintenance and relapse prevention. For example, new lifestyle choices can increase the risk of drug and alcohol exposure, desirability, and consumption.

While it is important to follow a pragmatic outlook, there are some post-rehab recommendations that can strengthen the tools of rehab, helping to avoid relapse triggers. Combining to reflect relapse prevention planning, being aware of triggering situations to accepting ongoing support can help to reduce the risk and justification of drug and alcohol exposure.

Reasonably it is normal to worry about the risks and outcomes of relapse. Yet experienced as a part of long-term recovery, it’s important to be aware of relapse while reducing your anxieties through confident and proactive planning. Here are 6 ways to avoid relapse triggers, recommended to secure your key goals of addiction recovery.

For support through active recovery and post-rehab life, contact our team at Asana Lodge.


What are relapse triggers?

Relapse triggers are personal triggers that can influence the resurfacing of old habits, behaviours, and outlooks. To relapse means that either an emotional, mental or physical impact will be felt, from justifying drug and alcohol exposure to actual consumption.

Preventing relapse is naturally one of the biggest aims attached to drug and alcohol rehabilitation, setting the intentions to maintain recovery. However, it is important to remember that relapse risks are common within initial recovery, digestible and possible to work through.

Triggers can be anything from an emotion to a memory, to a place, to a person or to an activity. For example, some people are triggered by feeling low, which if experienced for a prolonged period of time can increase the risks of relapse. Others will feel influenced by environments that are toxic, which have enabled drug and alcohol consumption, and which have developed an addiction, standing as relapse triggers.

Relapsing is a scary prospect, after completing the steps of addiction recovery. Yet it is important to remember that this process is a learning curve and an opportunity to get sobriety right, with sustainability in mind. Maintenance and prevention can help you work to this point, to avoid triggers, relapse, and possible effects.

Here are 6 ways to avoid relapse triggers, to follow on a post-rehab basis, to increase your opportunities for progression.


6 ways to avoid relapse triggers

On a post-rehab basis, being faced with drugs, alcohol and triggering situations will be likely, due to the unpredictability of life and the promotion of such substances. Yet, relapse prevention can help to minimise the impact of exposure, along with reducing the risk of emotional, mental, or physical relapse.


Here’s some guidance on how to avoid relapsing with some small lifestyle choices and personal goals.

1. Be aware of triggering situations

It’s firstly important to be aware of relapse and also of triggering situations. Relapse triggers will be personal, usually defined as the motivator and catalyst of initial consumption. You may have a multitude of triggers linked to substance abuse, due to the longevity and impacts of addiction.

With this in mind, being fully aware of triggering situations that may place you into a degree of vulnerability is recommended. Once you’re aware of them, you can work to suppress your exposure to certain situations.


2. Maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle

A sustainable way to suppress your exposure and avoid relapse triggers is through maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Factors to consider here focus on your routine, nutrition, coping strategies, relationships, time management, stress management and your balance. With balance and a healthy theme running throughout your lifestyle, your mental health will benefit, as will your ability to maintain sober and on track.


3. Accept and appreciate support networks

One of 6 ways to avoid relapse triggers is through accepting and appreciating support networks. Networks of like-minded people are available to you, who are in fact experiencing the same journey. Through the likes of alcoholics anonymous, building accountability around relapse prevention is possible. Here you’ll have the support of others, varying perspectives, and a safe haven to share your feelings and experiences.


4. Make use of aftercare programmes

Aftercare programmes will be accessible after rehab, to fill the gap between residential rehabilitation and independent recovery. Programmes are usually free for 12 months, where support groups, further forms of therapy and confidential support is available.

A key benefit of aftercare is that it is accessible through the adjustment phase, which is where relapse risks are at their highest. Making use of aftercare, by incorporating it into your routine will help to minimise and avoid relapse triggers.


5. Set boundaries

It’s vital to have some personal boundaries to stick to. Once you’re aware of triggering situations that may impact you, being strict about your engagement with those situations must be prioritised.

By setting boundaries, you’ll be aware of the risk of relapse at a greater rate, acting with control and full autonomy.


6. Rely on relapse prevention planning

One of the most effective ways to avoid relapse triggers is by relying on relapse prevention planning. You will develop a personal plan while at rehab with a dedicated team. This plan will follow you through your recovery journey, to offer confidence and safeguard.

Recovery planning should be continued even after sobriety has been achieved. Setting goals and plans will help to ease the transition of sober living, along with avoiding relapse triggers.


The value of relapse prevention planning

Relapse prevention planning is a valuable part of rehab, offering a structured, safe, and effective plan to follow for the future. It will include motivational steps, reasons for maintaining sobriety, processes to take in the event of drug and alcohol exposure, coping strategies, helplines in the event of relapse and also preventive tips, like the above.

Following your own personal plan will be recommended, to ease the period between rehab and normality, as this can trigger many vulnerabilities. With your plan, those vulnerabilities can be understood, worked through, and minimised, to also avoid relapse triggers.

Utilise our 6 ways to avoid relapse triggers, along with continually focusing on your recovery goals. While long-term recovery is unpredictable, with focus, a plan and awareness of triggering situations, you can maintain sobriety.

For support with relapse prevention planning or any step of the recovery process, contact our team at Asana Lodge.


Raffa Bari - Author - Last Updated: 30 July 2021

Raffa Bari (Bsc, CertEd, CELTA, NLP Prac, BAAT) has an extensive background in addiction recovery, specialising in areas such as Integrative Art Psychotherapy (BAAT Registered) for addiction treatment.

Using her incredible dedication and passion towards personal transformation and recovery, Raffa has helped truly transform the lives of so many individuals.

It is this extensive knowledge and hands-on experience in everything to do with addiction recovery that makes her the perfect author for our site.

Raffa will be posting regularly with new updates and information on the latest industry topics to do with addiction and mental health.

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