Sobriety is a lot more than not picking up a drink or chasing that drug. It is a constant process of preventing relapse. The reason that the process is constant is because there are certain factors and obstacles that cannot be avoided and only stand to complicate the process of recovery. This makes recognizing triggers that much more important. Recognizing will help to avert the problems associated with triggers and relapse.

Most people that are diagnosed as chemically dependent are dual diagnosed, meaning they usually have psychiatric problems as well. These problems could be personality disorders, major depression, paranoia, anxiety, panic, bi polar, or PTSD. While these people do require professional treatment, the treatment must include an integrated treatment approach.

When all disorders are not dealt with the chances of relapse are even higher. Treatment approaches generally include counseling and group therapy coupled with prescription medications. As long as one of the issues remains it will almost always spill onto the other one and render treatment useless. These people are harder to treat than those with only single disorders.

Relapse for a person with a chemical dependency creates a life or death situation. Even short stints with a substance can lead to full relapse and this increases the chances of accidental overdose and suicide. Unfortunately, the truth is that relapse is an ever present reality and most people that are chemically dependent do experience at least one while in recovery.

Years of programming the body and the brain have caused them to learn habitual behaviors. There are emotions and situations that all come into play and surround the chemically dependent with feelings and urges they often cannot control. A bad day can lead to a relapse which brings about pleasure. People that are not chemically dependent can find releases through other vehicles but it is not so easy for one that is addicted.

So, the chemically dependent must be non-programmed to see signs of danger and triggers for what they really are, dangerous and they need to be avoided at any cost. These bad feelings have to be replaced with new and better coping strategies and ways to handle the sometimes dreadful realities of everyday life.

Every chemically dependent person knows the places and people that they used around and they are different for everyone. It doesn’t even have to be people or places it can be songs, smells, or food. These things evoke emotions of pleasure or respite. The human brain can be doing what it is supposed to do and if a chemically dependent individual walks into a triggering situation the circuits of the brain go haywire and remember the feelings associated with drug or alcohol use. This is a subconscious performance and can come unexpectedly.

Another thing that reaps havoc on the chemically dependent is bad feelings of jealousy, boredom, depression, loneliness, anger, grief, and hatred. These feelings can be equally as detrimental as feelings of immense joy, jubilation, and happiness. In the brain these things are celebratory and can cause relapse.

Making a new life is not an easy task for people who were once dependent on a chemical to take care of everything. It takes time for a gratifying life to emerge from the darkness. There will be problems and calamities but this is life. There are ways to work through the problems and not fall back off the wagon. You will grow and become stronger every day. Learn how to appreciate crying, laughing, joy, and sorrow.

Author's Bio: 

Cheryl Hinneburg is the content writer for KLEAN Treatment Center, located in West Hollywood CA. She is also working on her MS in substance abuse counseling. Cheryl has a BBA from Baker College. Cheryl's specialty is in the field of drug addiction.