Why Do I Keep Using Meth? Ways to Stay Clean

You’ve gone through recovery, and things are starting to fall back into place. But for one reason or the other, you slip and end up using meth. So, you start over again, only to find yourself in what feels like square one – using meth, yet again.

So, now, you can’t help but wonder why this is happening. Why you keep using meth despite your desire and effort to quit. Well, if it’s any consolation, you are not alone.

Many people who struggle with meth addiction end up relapsing even after rehabilitation. According to the National Institute of Drug Use, 40 to 60% of people in recovery end up relapsing.

After a relapse, you may experience feelings of regret or shame. You may also feel like throwing in the towel and giving into your addiction instead of fighting the desire to use. Depending on how long you’ve been using, you may suffer from meth mouth and this can also worsen your feelings of shame.

While it’s devastating, you should know that relapse doesn’t mean you are a failure. It doesn’t mean the rehab you underwent was unsuccessful or negate your previous efforts to stay clean. But it also doesn’t mean you should take advantage of the situation and continue using.

Why does relapse happen?

Your relapse has to do with neural pathways. A pathway forms when you do something right. A pathway also forms when you do something wrong, like use crystal meth.

Human beings build habits this way, both good and bad. So, the reason you keep using meth is that you’re likely going to slip back into existing neural pathways. Let’s break this down further.

Causes of relapse

Studies show that the initial target of highly addictive drugs like meth is the brain’s reward circuit. The reward circuit registers essential experiences and events and their adaptive value. Then it provides incentives for actions.

This reward process triggers the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, a feel-good hormone that tells the brain to do it again. When used habitually, meth depletes the supply of dopamine and interferes with the feedback between different brain parts that coordinate desires with expectations and priorities.

But these changes are not necessarily the problem. Quitting meth use temporarily can be easy. You can go for days, weeks, months, or even years without meth. What makes permanent recovery challenging is a drug-induced change that creates lasting memories.

Your brain already knows the rewarding experience that comes from drug use. After a period of use, your environment becomes marked with cues or reminders of the reward. This learning is referred to as behavioral conditioning. And since methamphetamine addiction weakens your self-control and ability to make the right decision, you’re likely to keep using even when you know that a reward isn’t coming.

As you’ve learned from support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholic Anonymous, it’s the first drink that gets you drunk. So, a small dose of crystal meth serves as an effective cue. But places, things, and people, too, can be cues associated with meth.

An animal struggling with substance abuse will slip back to using when it goes back to the cage where it first developed the addiction. For people, triggers could be environment, the sight of paraphernalia, mental health issues, peers and so on.

Withdrawal symptoms are also a common reason many methamphetamine users relapse. Symptoms like anxiety, fatigue, sleepiness, depression, psychosis, meth cravings, etc., may linger on for weeks or months, causing relapse.

Getting back on the road to recovery

Irrespective of how committed you are to lifelong sobriety or how diligently you pursue recovery, there’s a chance of relapse. The National Institutes of Health study notes that about 40-60% relapse within a month or more of treatment. Another 70 -90% will relapse at least once.

But the good news is that the risk diminishes with time. Extended abstinence does predict long-term recovery, according to an eight-year study on nearly 1200 addicts. In fact, if you can make it to five years of sobriety, then your chance of relapse is less than 15%.

Ways to stay clean

Get help from a reputable addiction treatment center

Recovery for meth addiction needs a holistic meth treatment plan that consists of detox, therapy, and counseling. Depending on the circumstances recovery may also include medical advice. Meth is one of the hardest drugs to overcome. But treatment facilities in central Texas exist to help people like you regain control over their lives.

Such facilities will also address underlying issues that cause the relapse. For instance, they may offer family therapy that helps your family members to understand that relapse is not a sign of weakness or lack of morals. They will also offer mental health services to address psychological issues that may cause relapse.

Know the triggers of relapse and avoid them

Understanding the triggers of relapse and having a plan for those triggers are the first steps toward prevention. Triggers include things like:

 

Create new habits

Old habits will most certainly lead you back to addiction. So, you want to come up with new ones that will help you grow into the person you want to become. You can try out a new hobby, take up a new class, exercise, etc. Trying a new activity gives you something to look forward to. It also reduces the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that may lead to relapse.

Like other chronic diseases such as asthma and heart disease, treatment for drug addiction isn’t a cure. It only allows you to counteract the disruptive effects of addiction on your brain and behavior and regain control of your life. But with these tips, you should be able to manage your addiction and relapse problems successfully.

How Can Relapse Be a Part of Drug Recovery?

There’s a lot to feel good about when your loved one goes through an arduous recovery journey and then comes out clean and sober. Sadly, even after rehab though, your loved one may relapse at some point. Relapse doesn’t happen to everyone in recovery, but it does happen to many people. That’s why newer schools of thought on addiction feel that the painful occurrence of relapse is actually a very important part of the sobriety journey. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40-60% of those recovering from substance use disorders will relapse during their path to recovery. This should help put the struggle of your loved one doing illegal drugs into perspective, that they aren’t alone.

Addiction is a chronic disease or mental illness whose nature is a barrier to sobriety. Your loved one, like other patients, faces a consistently high risk of relapse because addiction alters the brain’s function and structure. Alcohol and drug use trigger dopamine production in the brain’s reward pathway. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates the brain’s pleasure and reward centers and emotional responses. These changes influence the way the brain prioritizes what’s important.

The brain of a patient who has developed an addiction recognizes substance use as important – even more than survival. That’s partly why those struggling with addiction take risks to continue abusing substances. Addiction also affects the prefrontal cortex – a part of the brain that identifies issues and plans solutions. So when a person relapses, it’s not because they are weak or lack morals, but because of something that’s way beyond their control. And even after treatment, some of these changes might persist.

What is relapse? 

Relapse is when someone goes back to using drugs or alcohol after a period of sobriety. The person may “slip up” and have a drink (or use a drug) and then stop again. Slips are hardly seen as relapses, but they can trigger stronger cravings for harder drug use or more alcohol. On the other hand, full relapse is when the person in recovery intentionally seeks drugs or alcohol and no longer cares for their treatment.

Is addiction an incurable disease?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States indicates that people in addiction recovery have a 40 to 60% chance of relapse. This puts addiction relapse at the same level as other chronic conditions like hypertension and asthma, which have a 50 to 70% relapse rate.

According to NIDA, addiction has no cure. But it can be managed successfully. Like other chronic illnesses, there’s medication to address the problem. However, the patient may need to go through lifestyle changes, routine maintenance, and checkups to prevent relapse. They also have to learn new ways of thinking. All in all, relapse is not failure. It only shows that it’s time to reinstate, adjust or try out a new treatment.

Relapse as part of the recovery process

Addiction is a chronic brain disease with biological, behavioral, emotional, physical, and social aspects. It is characterized by an inability to control drug or alcohol use. The chronic nature of addiction makes relapse part of the healing process as opposed to failure. As mentioned earlier, drug addiction disrupts brain circuitry and causes dependency. At this point, one is bound to experience side effects like drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they stop using. Unless they use their substance of choice, they may not feel “normal.” Relapse may seem like an excellent way to get back to “normalcy,” combat intense cravings, and relieve withdrawal symptoms. That’s why relapse can be a form of self-medication.

Drug relapse is a common part of the recovery process. When it happens and is handled correctly, it can strengthen one’s commitment to long-term sobriety. Recovery is the journey of maintaining long-term sobriety, reaching new goals, and facing life with new, healthier strategies. A hitch on the road doesn’t mean that all is lost. Yes, it might feel overwhelming – but with the right help, your loved one can get back on the right track.

Strategies to avoid relapse or mitigate its effects

More than half of the people in recovery relapse. But the fact that it is common doesn’t mean that you should not try to prevent it. An addiction relapse not only undoes the hard work, but it’s also potentially life-threatening. Relapsing can result in binging that can even lead to overdose. Here are some strategies to help prevent relapse or mitigate its effects.

Reaching out for help

People in recovery often feel humiliated and devastated when they slip or relapse. So, the last thing you want to do is reprimand them or come out as judgmental. You also don’t want to leave them to their own fate. Instead, try to encourage them to go back to their support network or treatment. It doesn’t matter how many times one relapses. In fact, experts agree that one is likely to have a successful long-term addiction recovery when there is more repetition of positive reinforcing habits.

Attending long-term treatment programs

Recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is not a quick fix. A single medication or a month of therapy may not guarantee a clean life. Often, one may need to engage in intensive long-term treatment, accompanied by continual support for a better outcome. A study with 1000+ addiction patients discovered that relapse rates reduced for every nine weeks a person spent in treatment. Sustained recovery also increased in the study for participants who had ongoing treatment with aftercare.

Identifying and managing triggers

Treatment programs integrate therapies that teach patients how to cope with internal and external stressors that may trigger a relapse. Mental health issues like anxiety, stress, depression, and mood changes tend to co-occur with substance abuse. When someone in recovery gets anxious or stressed, they may crave, think about, and eventually use substances. Triggers can be specific – like certain places or people, or very general – like hanging around people who are using. Evidence-based therapies help those in recovery recognize their personal relapse triggers and even train them to cope.

Lifestyle changes

Managing triggers is a great relapse prevention strategy. But you also want to encourage your loved one to make positive changes over the long term to build a healthier life. They can learn and use healthy coping mechanisms for negative emotions: recognize and manage mental issues: and develop positive activities like meditation, exercise, or art.

More Than Rehab is here to help. We have decades of experience in treating addiction, from the root-causes, to the after effects people experience once they become sober. If you, or a loved one needs help with their addiction, please don’t hesitate to call us! We are available 24/7.

888-249-2191

5 Ways to Conquer Drug Cravings

When you have a substance use disorder or an addiction, one of the hardest things to do in life is quit using drugs and alcohol. One of the main reasons for this is that you will begin craving the drugs or alcohol, almost immediately after you decide to quit. So, what are some good ways to conquer drug cravings, while you’re in recovery from your addiction? To start, understanding your addiction and the reasons why people begin using drugs and alcohol is a great start.

Unfortunately, millions of Americans struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol. It is estimated that more than 21 million people in our country suffer from an addiction or substance abuse problem every year. To make matters even worse, out of those 21 million people, only about 10 percent of them will ever receive any help or treatment for their disorder. Furthermore, nearly 1 in 8 adults in the United States is considered an alcoholic.

Additionally, drug and alcohol addiction may be of even more concern today than it has been in the past  because of the Coronavirus. The Coronavirus has not only caused issues like the forced shutdown of many major businesses, closures of public school, and mask mandates, but also an increase in things like alcohol sales, recreational drug use and even relapse rates. This was particularly an issue when the pandemic first hit because those in addiction recovery were left without a lot of their support system when AA meetings and NA meetings stopped, and counseling services shut down, along with being laid off or sent home from work.

Hopefully though, now that we are all a bit more used to what daily life looks like while living during a pandemic, we are able to better adjust. Today, there are things like online virtual counseling sessions and social distancing that allow us to still get access to the fundamental building blocks of a support system. All of these things are extremely crucial to a successful recovery from addiction. Even without the Coronavirus, relapse among those with a drug or alcohol problem is very common, with around a 40-60% relapse rate. This is in part due to the drug cravings, relapse triggers and withdrawal symptoms that are often experienced while recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction.

To help with this, we have put together this list of 5 ways to help conquer your drug cravings, so that you are at a lower risk of relapse.

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1. Understand What Cravings Are

First, it is important to understand that your cravings are an entirely normal experience. Just about everyone in drug and alcohol recovery will get them at least one time or another throughout their sobriety. Cravings are classified as an intense urge to use drugs or alcohol. While they are a completely normal experience, (especially in the early stages of recovery), it does not mean they will last forever. Not only will they eventually go away with enough time in sobriety, but the typical craving will likely only last around 10-15 minutes. In the event that you have delayed the craving for some time and you’re still feeling it, then it is likely you are still around the stimulus that triggered the craving. Relapse triggers are identified as the stimulus (person, place, thing, feeling, etc) that triggered the craving in the first place. Cravings and triggers are a result of altered brain functioning and chemistry that occurred because of the drug or alcohol addiction. Over time, your brain will learn to stop associating these triggers with drugs or alcohol making your recovery and sobriety much easier.

2. Identify What Your Triggers Are

As mentioned earlier, a trigger is a stimulus that causes a craving for drugs or alcohol. So, being able to identify exactly what it is in the first place that made you crave drugs or alcohol will be extremely helpful. While a trigger can be anything for anyone, they usually fall into a few different categories. Pattern triggers are places or things that you associate with past drug or alcohol abuse, such as your favorite bar or even something seemingly innocent, like seeing a spoon. Social triggers are people or even groups of people that bring back memories of past substance abuse issues. There are also emotional triggers, such as a cause for celebration or the pain of losing a loved one. Withdrawal can even be considered a type of trigger, as this process usually results in the body feeling like it needs these substances in order to survive.

3. Avoid Relapse Triggers, or Find Ways to Deal With Them

Once you have identified your triggers, it is best to come up with a plan to try and avoid them. If you feel triggered every time you drive by the street your old hangout used to be, then simply try taking a different route instead. Stop hanging out with friends that you used to do drugs or drink with, especially if they aren’t supportive of your recovery. Of course, not all triggers can be avoided, like spoons. When it comes to triggers that you have no way of avoiding, come up with an action plan that you can easily use to help fight off the craving, remember they only last around 10-15 minutes once you have gotten away from the stimulus.

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4. Take a Walk or Exercise

If you do feel that you are about to get a craving, try going out for a breath of fresh air and taking a light walk. Almost any form of exercise will help you fight the craving, but many agree that walking takes the cake when it comes to beating drug cravings. Getting out in the fresh air and taking in the world without a real sense of where you are going can be a huge relief for people experiencing drug cravings. Just remember to try and avoid any places that might trigger you even further. If you are unable to exercise or walk, just getting out in the sun and breathing some fresh air can definitely help.

5. Reach Out To Others

Part of a successful recovery is having a strong support system. Trying attending an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) support group and reach out to some peers who know a lot about how you are feeling. Chances are they know exactly what you are going through and will offer advice that can help. If you have a sponsor or a counselor from a treatment group, then reach out to them. There is almost nothing worse than trying to go through life on your own, especially when you are learning to do it without the use of drugs or alcohol.

If you or a loved one are struggling with relapse, drug cravings, or need help getting sober, please reach out to our family of highly trained addiction specialists at More Than Rehab. You are certainly not alone, and we are here to help 24/7.

(888) 249-2191

Why Do People Get High?

In today’s crazy world it may seem like more and more people are reaching for drugs and alcohol to get high, in order to help them cope with the struggles of our "new normal". Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic that our country is still facing, alcoholism and relapse rates are once again on the rise. Unfortunately, this is due to a multitude of different reasons like self-quarantine, isolation, boredom, change in routine and schedule, closures of local AA or NA support groups, and even having kids home full time, or being around your partner 24/7. All of these are stressful situations which could lead even the strongest willed person to have their long-lasting sobriety to come to an end.

Though COVID-19 has certainly caused a surge in relapse rates, alcoholism, and drug use, that certainly doesn’t mean that substance abuse problems weren’t a problem before 2020. In fact, it is estimated that every year, nearly 21 million Americans will suffer from a substance abuse problem of some kind. With so many people affected, it may be easy to wonder why do people get high in the first place? Well, for someone who has ever struggled with an addiction firsthand, they may know that sometimes the answer to that question is simple… But sometimes, the answer to that question is much more complicated. While we certainly cannot find one or two primary reasons people choose to get high, we can isolate some of the more common reasons people turn to drugs or alcohol.

Here are some of the most popular reasons why people, especially teens and young adults, get high:

Boredom

We are all pretty familiar with being bored, perhaps today even more so than ever before with practically everything moving online and becoming virtual. Sometimes, when a person is left to one’s own devices, it can be pretty easy to see the temptation in trying drugs or alcohol just for the sake of having something to do. That is why drugs and alcohol are so dangerous around young teens and adults because they are particularly susceptible to boredom.

Curiosity

We have all probably heard the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat” -- and while trying drugs and alcohol likely won't kill you the first time, it still most certainly could. With dangerous drugs like fentanyl being laced in some common street drugs, a drug overdose death is more likely now, than ever.

Beginning with something as simple as wanting to know what it feels like to be high or get drunk, can end up leading someone down that path of a lifetime of hurt caused by an addiction to drugs or alcohol. If curiosity ever strikes, it is best to remember that there is no way to tell who will become addicted to drugs or alcohol and that even one time could lead to an addiction.

The Desire to Belong

As humans, we all have an innate desire to fit in or belong. For teens and young adults, this is even more important. According to a recent survey, nearly 29% of teens said they had tried drugs or alcohol because their friends were also doing it. It seems that friends can play a huge role in determining whether or not a teen or young adult will eventually try drugs or alcohol for the first time. The same can be said for adults as well, something as simple as changing jobs and getting asked to go out for drinks with your new coworkers and agreeing, even though you have been sober for a year, could potentially be a huge relapse trigger for anyone.

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Peer Pressure in Social Situations

Along the same lines as the desire to belong is peer and social pressure. A lot of times people, especially teens and young adults, try drugs or alcohol for the first time because of pressure from their peers. Even though someone may initially say no to using drugs and alcohol, pressure from friends can eventually make them give in for fear of being ostracized or outcast. In turn, they may continue using drugs or alcohol even if they don't want to, simply out of the fear of rejection.

Trauma or Abuse

Any past or current trauma and/or abuse, such as a sexual assault, a car accident, childhood neglect, or emotional abuse, can lead anyone to trying drugs or alcohol. Traumatic events can imprint on the memory, making it very difficult to get past the experience. Oftentimes, people get high in an attempt to escape having to deal with the painful emotions associated with the experience.

Career Pressure

Teens and young adults are not the only age group that can fall victim to addiction from environmental pressures. For instance, career pressure can drive someone of any age to get high on drugs or alcohol. A lot of times, people tie their self-worth into their career and if they feel as though they are not living up to their potential or are struggling to meet demands they may turn to drugs and alcohol in order to make themselves feel better.

Dealing With Grief

Losing a loved one is a devastating feeling and grief is an especially painful experience. Living through a loved one’s death is an especially difficult time for people and no two people grieve the same. Unfortunately, many people who are undergoing grief may want to get high, in an attempt to forget about the loved one’s passing. However, while this is normally just a short term coping mechanism it can turn into a life-long problem for those who are not careful.

There are many other reasons why someone may want to get high from drugs or alcohol.

Usually, the reasons are psychological, mental, or physical. Some people use drugs or alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate some sort of mental illness like depression or insomnia. There is also no way to tell who will become addicted to drugs or alcohol, so it is best to try and steer clear of all illicit substances when possible.

If you, or a loved one, are having difficulty with a substance abuse disorder, then we are here to help. Reach out to us today and let our family at More Than Rehab help take care of you, or your loved one who is struggling. We have years of experience and knowledge when it comes to treating substance abuse disorders and many of our staff have been where you are before, so we know what it takes to lead a healthy and fulfilling life of sobriety! Call us anytime. We are available 24/7 and we hope to hear from you soon!

(888) 249-2191

Fun Things to Keep Busy & Off Drugs for the Holidays

For a lot of people, winter marks a great time of the year. They look forward to fun things like spending time with family, eating great food and celebrating the holidays. What some people don't know though, is how difficult this time of year can be for a recovering alcoholic or drug addict. For someone who is in recovery from a substance abuse problem, the holiday season can be especially troubling. Most of the time before getting sober, holidays used to be about getting drunk or high and using their drug of choice. Holidays were often an excuse to abuse drugs or alcohol, even if that meant hiding it from their friends and family.

When someone is newly sober, or sometimes even long into recovery, celebrating holidays can often become a relapse trigger and make them want to abuse drugs or alcohol again. Not to mention the limited outdoor activity, reduced sunlight, and less social contact that often comes with winter and colder temperatures. This can dramatically increase the risk of relapse for many addicts, especially those who also struggle with their mental health. If you or a loved one struggle with maintaining sobriety during the holidays, then you can probably relate.

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Here are a few fun things you can try to help keep you busy & off drugs this holiday season:

  1. Exercise

Though initially exercise may not sound like fun for everyone, it never hurts to try. Many who exercise regularly report feeling happier and less stressed when compared to those who don’t. Try signing up for a free membership at your local gym or start small by doing workout videos at home and cranking up the music. You can even download a video game like Just Dance to help get your heart rate going. If you can make it a regular habit, exercise is proven to increase things like self-confidence and reduce stress.

  1. Volunteer

Another great way to help keep you busy during the holidays is to volunteer your time to a great cause! You can start by working at your local soup kitchen or reach out to a local organization whose efforts you would like to support such as the Humane society. Research has consistently proven that those who give back to others, often feel better than those who only take care of themselves. Simply giving even just one hour of your time each week can make a world of difference for more than just yourself.

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  1. Fix Up Your Space

Is there a new design idea you have always been wanting to try? Or perhaps a cool new chair for your man cave? Try sprucing up a room in your house, one bit a time and on a budget that you can afford. Paint the walls a new color. Do whatever creatively comes to mind. This is a great way to expel some of your pent up mental energy. You can also spend time cleaning out places like the garage or the attic. All of these are great examples of things that will keep you busy and help you feel better at the same time.

  1. Get A Plant

Getting a plant can actually be very rewarding. If you have ever had the chance to speak with a gardener, they will likely tell you how mentally and spiritually fulfilling it can be. The same thing goes with getting a house plant. Attending to the needs of something as simple as a plant can help you stay busy and feel better about yourself. It can also help give you something to look forward to, which helps you further avoid a relapse, as getting drunk or high would likely mean its end. Getting a plant is also a great way of fixing up your space on a tight budget. Try visiting your local plant store and speaking with someone to help figure out the right type of plant for you.

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  1. Go Ice Skating or Play Hockey

Even though you may not be able to go outside as easily as you can in the summer, there are still plenty of activities that you can do during the colder months. There are many places to go ice skating, usually both indoors and out. You can also try to find a local hockey league in your city if you want to get a little physical on the ice. Perhaps even try getting together a group of sober friends or people from your local AA or NA support groups so that you can all lace up together and hit the puck around the ice. This is a great way to combine physical activity with your social support network while doing some fun things.

  1. Take Naps

With reduced sunlight and the related chemical changes that can happen in the brain with shorter days, it may be no surprise that you are tired halfway through the day more often than you used to be. Don't be afraid to take a nap every once in a while, maybe even once every day. Taking a nap is a great way to pass the day and has many proven benefits, such as improved cognitive abilities and heightened mood. Just as long as you don't start sleeping too much, as that can have its own set of problems.

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  1. Do Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to get the creative juices flowing in the brain and release some mental tension. They also take up quite a bit of time to finish, which is great for the wintertime and holidays. Plus, once they are done it's a very celebratory and rewarding moment. Go to your local supermarket and take a peek at their puzzle section, you are sure to find one that you would like to complete. The great thing about puzzles is that you can do them alone, or with loved ones or friends.

These are just a few ideas to get you started on how to have fun and avoid any potential drug cravings during the holidays. We wish you the best during this time of year but if you do find that you need some additional support with your sobriety, then we are always here to help. Reach out to us at More Than Rehab any time of day!

(888) 249-2191

I am Addicted: 10 Steps to Take to Get Away From Drugs

Struggling with an addiction can oftentimes be a very overwhelming and emotional situation where the user may feel as though they are trapped by their drug addiction, with little to no chance of ever getting help and escaping the deadly grip of drugs or alcohol. So, why even bother trying? This feeling is what can ultimately lead them to continuing their destructive way of living without ever getting the help they so desperately need. For those of you who know, overcoming a substance abuse problem can prove to be very difficult, especially when someone is unwilling to admit they have a problem or is afraid to seek help.

How Do I Get Away From Drugs and Alcohol?

The first step in any recovery plan is admitting that you are powerless over drugs and alcohol. So, if you are here because you are addicted to drugs and alcohol and are seeing what it takes to begin the recovery process, then congratulations! You have already completed the very first step in recovery. At this moment, you are already on the right track to leading a healthy and fulfilling life, but it will take a few more steps to get there. As any expert will tell you, recovery is a process and it will look different for everyone, but here are a few steps you can take that will help to get you away from drugs and alcohol.

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Help For Your Addiction is Available in Many Forms.

Always remember that there is hope for recovery and that someone who cares is never more than a phone call away. You are not alone and getting help for addiction recovery is never a reason to feel any shame. Beginning a life of sobriety is very important for your physical and mental health. We really hope this list of steps will help to lead you in the right direction toward a lifelong journey of sobriety. The sooner you get help, the easier it will be to overcome this addiction! Don't hesitate to call us right away:

888-249-2191

6 Common Triggers for Drug Use and How to Avoid Them

Once you have embarked upon the journey of getting clean, remaining sober can often times prove difficult, especially for those who have recently found sobriety or overcome addiction. While relapse can sometimes be considered part of the recovery process, by allowing us the opportunity to learn about the potential causes that may lead to unwanted drug or alcohol abuse, we hope to avoid them altogether by becoming more aware of some of the most common triggers associated with drug use and techniques to better cope with them.

If you have ever experienced a relapse, or are new to recovery, know that you are not alone, research suggests that between 40 to 60 percent of people who have recently undergone treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction will relapse within just one year of sobriety. https://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2017-04-24/why-do-alcoholics-and-addicts-relapse-so-often One of the ways to keep from becoming a member of this statistic is to pay attention to cues or situations that can lead to this unwanted drug or alcohol use, below is a list of 6 common triggers and some additional tools so that we can hopefully avoid them:

  Negative Emotions

After having masked negative emotions with drugs or alcohol throughout the span of an active addiction, learning to cope with these emotions in a healthy way can be one of the most challenging fundamentals to sobriety. Beginning to sit with these feelings can cause uncomfortability and anxiety, especially when we have never confronted them before. Having a strong support system when we feel sad, confused or frustrated can help alleviate some of the stress that newly recovered addicts may experience. Joining a twelve step program and finding the right sponsor, seeing a new therapist or a counselor, and even going to a gym can be a great start in learning how to cope with these emotions in a healthier way. By allowing ourselves to feel these negative emotions and openly communicating them, our comfort level will begin to increase as we see that eventually these feelings do subside and that we had the strength to face them without the use of drugs.

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   Do you need to H.A.L.T.?

Emotions play a major role in recovery and getting to know your body is a key step towards remaining sober. Are you hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? Knowing when to listen to these feelings and having an action plan to resolve them will ensure that you are not reaching for drugs or alcohol and that you are giving your body what it needs instead. Try setting aside time for meal planning if you find that you get hungry around a specific time of day, practice good sleeping techniques before bed if you have trouble falling asleep or plan for an emergency cup of coffee if you begin to feel sluggish throughout the day. You can always attend a 12 step meeting or call a trusted friend, just by understanding these needs we can effectively avoid the trigger.

  Dating and Relationships

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Finding love is one of the most amazing things you can experience in life. Relationships can also cause a lot of stress which could trigger a relapse into drug or alcohol abuse.

Often suggested, but commonly ignored, is the advice to steer clear of any romantic involvement (no matter how casual) within the first year of recovery. There are many reasons why dating early in the recovery process should be avoided, addiction is a disease of emotion and new relationships come with many, they may begin to replace the substance and form an addiction of their own. Abstaining from any kind of sexual relationship when new to sobriety will assure that healthier coping mechanisms are being established instead of putting yourself at risk for relapse from the emotional stress of a new relationship. Also, by waiting till we are healthy enough as an individual to begin dating again will only increases the likelihood of finding a more suitable partner.

   Times of Celebration

Birthdays, holidays, and other times of celebration are usually associated with positive emotions but when new to recovery it can be a trigger for drug use. It may not be realistic to expect that you can simply just skip going to all of these events but knowing what to expect when you get there can decrease the chance of falling back into old habits, especially when considering going to a place where drugs or alcohol may be involved. Many recovering addicts feel that they are able to control themselves and their addiction by "just having one", we know that this is a common misconception. By preparing yourself before the party, you can limit your exposure to these triggers, ask others in attendance what kind of substances will be there and have a support system set in place by bringing along a sober family member or friend who can help remind you how important your recovery is and deter you from any potential relapse.

   Professional Success

Alternatively to negative emotions, positive experiences can also be a trigger for unwanted drug use. Have you just landed a new promotion at work or have you finally gotten that long sought after raise? Be careful not to fall back into the old mindset that you have somehow overcome your disease by attaining this accomplishment. A mistake often made by people in recovery is that they are now cured because an addict could have never cultivated this achievement. It is all too easy to want to go out and celebrate, just like old times, but we know by now that addiction doesn't just go away. Make sure that you keep your support system in place by sharing your thoughts and emotions with others in the event that you are headed for a relapse.

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    Overconfidence

While having confidence in yourself during recovery is a good thing, becoming too confident can be a potential trigger and lead to a relapse, as many forget the importance of their recovery plan. It is easy to feel as though you have conquered your addiction as the day to day struggles of sobriety seem to lessen but reminding yourself that you are still susceptible to triggers can go a long way in continued sobriety. Staying in contact with your sponsor or therapist, attending regular meetings, and staying humble about your addiction are essential to a life of sobriety. If you find yourself getting complacent or feeling as though you are now above your addiction, consider mentoring someone who is newer in their path to recovery and remind yourself that staying sober requires a conscious daily effort.

We know that sobriety is a lifelong journey and that it will require hard work on a daily basis in order to sustain, no matter where you are in the process. Staying vigilant to your recovery plan and maintaining a good support system lessen the chances of giving in to these triggers that may lead to an unwanted relapse. Take some time to think back upon instances where you felt triggered or had a craving to use drugs or alcohol and come up with your own plan of action to avoid them. Share them with your sponsor, a therapist or a trusted family member or friend in order to remain accountable for your recovery process!

Relapse Prevention: The Basics Everyone in Recovery Should Know

For those in recovery, focusing on maintaining sobriety is an often difficult task. Most people who go through an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program will end up relapsing. Some will go through rehab over ten different times, before sobriety sticks. While it is important to acknowledge that relapse is a normal part of most people’s recovery, it is crucial to avoid relapsing with every ounce of your strength and willpower. If relapsing wasn’t a problem, drug rehab would be easy. While quality rehabilitation centers attempt to make recovery from addiction as easy as possible, it will be difficult. You will face many challenges. The temptation to relapse and start using again will be one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome in your recovery from addiction.

Everyone has their own unique relapse triggers. Avoiding these are essential in early addiction recovery.

Understanding your own unique, personal relapse triggers are important to avoid a potentially life-threatening relapse. We say life-threatening because many people die from a drug overdose the first time they relapse. Too often an addict in recovery will use the same amount of a drug they may be familiar with, thinking they can do as much as they used to before they quit using. This is dangerous because when your body had built-up a tolerance to the drug, you gradually begin using larger and larger doses. Once you’ve had a chance to go through detox and had weeks, months or even years of sobriety, your body’s tolerance is gone. This can easily result in an overdose death so it is important to avoid relapsing with all means necessary.

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The easiest way to stop a potential relapse is to simply avoid relapse triggers. These are situations, experiences, places, even people who bring out your inner urges to use drugs or alcohol. Sometimes it’s a holiday or special day when maybe you lost someone close to you. Or it could be a club or place you used to hang out when you were using that makes you romanticize your past substance abuse. It could even be a family member or friend who you previously used with that makes you want to do it again. For others, it could be a trigger of solitude or loneliness that will give you the urge to get high or drunk again. This varies, wildly from person to person. It is important for you to identify your top relapse triggers while in recovery from addiction at a drug rehab.

Most effective addiction treatment programs will have a class or group therapy focused on relapse prevention. More Than Rehab, located just outside of Houston, Texas is no different. We see our relapse prevention group therapy session as one of the most important components of our addiction treatment program. This class helps you identify your personal relapse triggers and hear others’ that you might not have thought of as a trigger before. Simply acknowledging them and making a plan to avoid the triggers and what to do when you cannot avoid them is the key to maintaining your long-term sobriety. Heck, that’s the ultimate goal of a great drug rehabilitation program.

Focus on creating and achieving goals in sobriety.

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The main goal of drug rehab is to quit using drugs, recover from your addiction and maintain your sobriety. Most people feel great after first stopping their use of drugs or alcohol, but this feeling fades and many people report a feeling of “emptiness” once they’ve been out of rehab for a little while. Loneliness, restlessness and depression can start to sink in because the addict doesn’t know what to do anymore. This is why it is important to set goals in recovery, beyond just staying sober. Making small, achievable goals is important because each success will be a cause for you to celebrate. Goals help you move closer and closer to your dreams and will help create the foundations for positive outcomes in recovery.

Setting realistic goals is of utmost importance here, because you certainly don’t want to fail. Failure to reach your goals can be a source of depression which could become a strong trigger for relapse. Setting smaller, achievable goals is a great way to begin. Once you accomplish them you can celebrate yourself and your recovery, finding a way to really create a new life for yourself, one small step at a time.

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Tips For a Recovering Addict During the Holiday Season

You’ve heard of black Friday, but what about blackout Wednesday? That’s right, the holidays are often the most inebriated times of the year for many Texans. Overindulgence is common and the holiday season presents a unique challenge for people who are recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction. As people get into the holiday spirit, they often pay little attention to how much alcohol they are consuming. Many former drug addicts are faced with temptation as they go home for the holidays. It is a time of year where you may run into an old friend whom you used to use with. Many people make the excuse that: “I’ll just use this one time, it’s a special occasion!”

With more parties occurring between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, it is no wonder overindulgence is commonplace.

While the holiday season can be fun and festive, it can also be the source of a lot of stress for many people. The stress can be attributed to financial responsibilities conflicting with the generosity of the season or the stress of dealing with family members and friends you may not have the best relationships with in the past. Many people also experience SAD, or seasonal affective disorder, which is due to the lack of sunlight and warmth with the shorter days. This has physical and psychological implications for a multitude of reasons in different types of people.

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As a recovering addict, it is a difficult time of year to watch family and friends indulge in alcoholic beverages and in some cases prescription and illicit drugs. If you are in recovery, there may be a sense of guilt or embarrassment associated with your past substance abuse. You may feel that your loved ones will think of you differently, and judge you for your personal struggles. This may be the source of a lot of stress for a person in recovery around the holiday season.

As your past has likely shown you, using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with all these sources of stress may be a familiar, easy way out. As you feel the temptation and see others indulge, (or overindulge) just know that you are your own source of strength. Perhaps you’ve just made it through a period of time in sobriety. Your own resistance to temptation will be tested and you have the power to remove yourself from difficult situations or simply say no to a friend or family member who presents you with an opportunity to use again.

There are simple, effective ways to deal with these temptations and prevent a potential relapse.

You can avoid the relapse mentality with a set of specific techniques and ideas that we hope will keep you safe and sober this holiday season.

  1. Avoid the “just have one” mentality. This is a slippery slope that many in recovery know they can’t handle the just have one drink, one line, or one hit without reverting to a full blown substance abuse.
  2. Limit the likelihood of experiencing depression or loneliness. Sometimes when surrounded by your close friends and family can make you feel the most alone. Especially for someone struggling with substance abuse. In a lot of cases the toxic relationships with family members was one of the causes of your addiction. Many people simply do not have happy memories with their families. This can be a great source of pain that is brought up around holiday time as you make plans to see them again. Perhaps your family dynamic is what led you to abuse drugs or alcohol in the first place. If this is the case you should limit your exposure to anyone who was a negative influence in your life. Tell them upon arrival that you will not be able to stay long. This way if a problem arises, you can make your exit without feeling an obligation to stay to make someone else happy.
  3. If you happened to have a problem with alcohol specifically, you should bring your own beverages to any party or gathering. Having a drink in your hand at all times is an easy coping mechanism to deal with the temptation to indulge in alcohol again. You shouldn’t leave it up to the host to cater to your special needs. Bring your own beverages. Maybe it could be a fancy coffee drink, or your favorite type of juice. Whatever you decide, make sure you have one in your hand at all times. This way people won’t ask to get you a drink and you wouldn’t be tempted in those passing moments.
  4. Don’t go it alone. Take a friend or family member with you who understands your struggle and can help enforce your limitations. Make a plan early and discuss the plan with them. If a strong temptation arises have a signal that it is time to leave.
  5. Offer to be the designated driver. If you think you can handle people using substances around you, this is a good way to help not only your friends, but also your community as a whole. There is a major increase in traffic accidents and DUI’s during the busy holiday season. If you can handle being around those who are drinking or possibly using drugs, offer them a safe ride. This will also give you a greater sense of purpose that may be just enough to help you resist temptations to indulge yourself.
  6. Sweet treats are a common pacifier to help calm cravings. Sugar triggers the chemical reward system in the brain and can help you navigate temptations during family functions and parties. Exercise is another way to boost endorphins and help you minimize cravings.

The holidays should not be an excuse to relapse or let go of all your hard work in recovery. If you know someone who is struggling with addiction in Texas, look up More Than Rehab or a treatment center in your area to find out what programs are available to help you or your loved one. The holiday season is one of the most common times that relapses occur. Let’s help each other make it through this season, sober.

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