A Decision PointMany of us think that we're in "relapse territory" when we start craving drugs or alcohol.
Or that the "relapse" happens when we decide to use drugs or alcohol. This is what is called a "decision point."
For those who do not have an abstinence goal (or are in recovery for compulsive behavior) substitute "relapse" for not meeting your moderation goals, binging, or engaging in the problem behavior you are seeking to modify.
Looking at circumstances leading up to a relapse, one might find significant stressors in any of the following areas:
Early Recovery Struggles Financial Stressors Issues with a stabilizing factor ("pillar") or personal relationship(s) Changes in treatment Life events Health Issues Intense Craving (need more distance between you and the last drug), access to drugs at work/home or socially, access to money or means to use. Hanging out in bars, on the block with your boys, or "apps" with a high prevalence of PnP or other drug use. Income, bills, rent, employment, no access to stable housing (or looming threat of the loss of housing), healthcare, medication, and other psychosocial needs. Poor relationships at work, in your homegroup, places you rely on for strength including even this chatroom.
[This is why this site has a STRICT non-toxic non-bullying non-harassment policy.]
Grieving over lost loved ones, breakups, being "on the outs" with close friends, etc
Starting/stopping therapy, group, treatment, medication. Loss of or change in "sponsor" or other types of supportive relationships in recovery. Marriage, Newborn Child, Changing Jobs, Changing Cities, Moving, Starting or Graduating School. Losing a job or a service position. Serious conditions, disability, chronic pain, mental health including depression and anxiety [recurrence of PTSD, trauma schemas, hallucinations, irritability, poor impulse control, hypervigilance, etc]
If you think back to your last binge or relapse, you might recognize one -- or even several -- of these.
These things can all cause the "Jenga" tower shown above to start wobbling. It's time to tighten the wheels down and focus on remaining stable! Relapse happens when that tower collapses or we say "f**k it" and knock it over.
One of our goals is to educate participants to be vigilant about relapse triggers and recognize the need to reach out to their community for additional support. This would be a good time to focus on walking through life's changes and challenges with your support community instead of binging or having a behavioral relapse.