4 Life Events That Can Trigger A Relapse

Whether you’ve been in recovery for 10 days, 10 months, or even 10 years, there will always be an underlying fear that you may suffer from a relapse. Even people with the strongest determination can be vulnerable to a relapse. Relapse is not exclusive to a certain set of people in recovery. It doesn’t matter whether you’re rich, poor, or you’re a famous Hollywood celebrity like Demi Lovato – you can still relapse.

One way to avoid relapsing is by being aware of the things and situations that trigger a relapse. While there are many different reasons why relapses happen, there are four major life events that commonly causes someone to fall off the recovery track.

Job Loss

Most people in recovery depend on their job as a means to become financially independent. Having a job means not relying on other people for your basic needs. It is also a way to prove to your loved ones that you can be responsible again and you can be trusted to keep your job while staying sober.

These are some reasons why it is important to find a job while in addiction recovery. Having a stable career can help people in recovery become productive citizens and integrate themselves back to society. A regular job also helps in establishing a regular drug-free routine.

This is the reason why losing a job can also mean loss of stability. This career downturn can cause a person to drink or do drugs because of depression and the fear of telling loved ones about the job loss.

Romantic Conflicts


People who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction are often advised to avoid entering a new relationship at least one year after leaving a treatment facility or finishing a rehabilitation program. This is because they may not yet be ready to date and involve themselves in the complicated emotions a relationship can demand. If the relationship does not work out, this can be a cause of relapse.

This can also be applicable to people who break up with their spouses while they are in recovery. Ending a partnership or a marriage can be really challenging especially if a divorce or children are involved. Drugs and alcohol can be used to get over heartbreaks and forget the hurt feelings people in addiction recovery may experience.

Talk show host Wendy Williams is an example of someone who relapsed because of her romantic relationship. After confessing on TV that she was living in a sober house to manage her alcohol struggles, it was not long after when she checked herself out of the facility and started drinking again. The relapse was reportedly caused by Wendy’s discovery that her husband had fathered a child with his mistress.

Family Arguments

Trigger A Relapse

Many people who are in recovery have troubled relationships with their family members. These situations often worsen when they are in their lowest point especially if they feel that they do not have the support of their family and relatives. After completing treatment, one of the steps in recovery is usually to start mending these relationships and rebuild trust. At this point, relationships are not that strong yet and are still very vulnerable.

When people in recovery are faced with a major conflict with their parents, siblings, or children, this can be a major trigger for relapse. If their parents try to kick them out of the house or if they had a shouting match with their siblings, there is a possibility for them to revert to their old ways and use harmful substances as a means to forget these issues.

Death of a Loved One

Losing a loved one is never easy. Whether you are going through addiction recovery or not, the pain from this heartbreaking experience can be too overwhelming to handle. Many people go through depression for long periods and for some people, getting over the loss can take months or even years.

For people in recovery, the struggle can be much more difficult. If the loved one was a person whom they consider an ally or an integral part of their support system, the loss can be devastating enough for them to consider getting a drink or doing drugs again to release their pain.

How to cope with these situations

These four life events happen to everyone, including people in recovery. They are life’s realities that cannot be avoided. It is understandable for people who are in addiction recovery to feel an added pressure during these moments but resorting to substance use again is not the only answer.

If you or a loved one in recovery is going through a difficult time, help is available. Talk to a counselor who can help you get through this challenging moments to avoid a relapse.

Adult & Teen Challenge MidSouth is here for you…423-756-5558