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National Recovery Month is observed each September as an initiative to educate Americans on the challenges, realities, and options available for those living with substance use disorders (SUD).  While social interaction and support from others play major roles in seeking help and maintaining sobriety, this pandemic has brought unique challenges for many people struggling.

Whether you are currently battling addiction or in recovery, isolation and temptation can be a toxic mixture. A study conducted in May by Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMP) found that almost 62% of counties with state mandated stay at home orders experienced an increase in overdoses.

This National Recovery Month, we’re raising awareness of the triggers and stages of relapse, and the resources available for recovery.


Truly anything can trigger someone and send them down the slippery slope to relapse. Even something as seemingly harmless a “positive mood” can be a trigger since alcohol is usually associated with celebratory events like birthdays or anniversaries. The lure of triggers impacts everyone differently, so it’s crucial for people in recovery to identify when they feel most tempted to slip up and work to avoid the catalyst of those feelings. 

Common, current, and possible triggers of relapse include:

  • Losing a job
  • Lack of physical interaction
  • Being thrown off routine
  • Lack of motivation
  • Too much alone time
  • Mental health struggles
  • Stress
  • Low self-esteem
  • Emotional and physical pain

Understanding Relapse

Relapse can be classified into two main groups, including:

  1. “Traditional” Relapse: When a person makes the conscious decision to use drugs or drink after a period of sobriety.
  2. “Freelapse”: An accidental relapse where a person doesn’t mean to use drugs or alcohol but does. (For example, being served an alcoholic drink or marijuana brownie when they believed it was a non-alcoholic drink or regular dessert.)

There are considered to be three stages of a traditional relapse; they are:

1. Emotional relapse

This is the beginning stage where someone may feel like they’re losing the ability to cope with emotions in a healthy way. This stage can take the form of bottling up emotions, self-isolating, neglecting self-care, or denying the issues at hand.

2. Mental relapse

During this stage, someone has become aware of their conflicting feelings. The part of the brain that fights cravings may start to waiver. In this stage, it’s common for someone to have thoughts about how they would use their vice of choice if they gave in to the temptation. 

3. Physical relapse

The physical relapse takes place when someone surrenders to their desires and uses drugs or alcohol. Sometimes this starts with the intention of only having one drink, or using a drug one time, but can quickly snowball into losing control, resulting in a relapse.

What to Do if You Relapse

The aftermath of a relapse can feel lonely and shameful, so it’s best to take action as soon as possible after it occurs. The quicker you act, the less set back you will feel in your recovery. Relapsing does not take away the possibility of rebuilding a clean life, and you are capable of reestablishing your sobriety.

Steps to take following a relapse include:

  • Reaching out for help
  • Going to a self-help group
  • Getting a sponsor, or confiding in them if you have one
  • Avoiding triggers at all cost
  • Setting healthy boundaries
  • Investing in self-care
  • Reflecting on how and why this happened
  • Creating a relapse prevention plan

In many cases, the desire to keep using after a relapse is too overpowering for one person to face alone. In these instances, rehabilitation programs can be an effective tool to get sober. Even in the wake of COVID-19, there are safe options for seeking help. SE Texas ER & Hospital’s detox program, Hope Restored Treatment Center, offers discrete, effective, judgment-free services that provide the tools to regain control over your decisions and life. Our facility has taken the proper precautions to lessen the risk of exposure while receiving treatment.

SE ER & Hospital’s number one priority is helping you make the transition to recovery as smooth as possible. With the aid of medications and new-aged detox protocols, we can personalize a treatment plan to ease your withdrawal symptoms.

We offer medication-assisted detoxification programs in a safe environment for:

  • Opioids
  • Heroin
  • Vicodin
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxycontin
  • Percocet
  • Etc.
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Clonazepam
  • Kratom
  • Alcohol

If you feel it’s time that you or a loved one get sober, our highly trained staff is here for you with open arms. For compassionate and individual medical care, give us a call at 1-833-862-7236, or visit Hope Restored Treatment Center. 


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