Tag Archive: relapse trigger

  1. Avoiding Relapse During Crisis

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    Avoiding Relapse During CrisisRecovery is a process of gaining the awareness, tools, mindfulness, and skills to maintain sobriety through any of life’s circumstances. Life is not always easy. That is why one of the mantras in recovery mentions learning to “live life on life’s terms.” One of the alcoholic’s and addict’s primary struggles is the marked inability to cope with living life itself. Life is full of difficulties, challenges, responsibility, and pain. On the other hand, life is full of beauty, love, purity, celebration, and joy.

    A relapse will typically occur as a result of two things. First, is neglecting to place recovery first. Minimizing meeting attendance, not participating in therapy, or refusing to attend group results in spiritual deprivation. Recovery is maintained by staying spiritually fit. All the components of a comprehensive recovery program are geared toward developing and sustaining a manner of spiritual living. Correlating to a lack of spiritual centeredness is the adverse response to stresses or crises. Without that spiritual foundation for living developed through recovery, young adult addicts find themselves lacking in resource to handle what comes their way.  They turn to the patterns of behavior and action which comes most naturally to them: get drunk and get high. Using and drinking as a solution to life’s problems is the most innate programming an adolescent in early recovery has. They’ve only just begun to learn how to react differently. When we drop the tools we’ve learned to pick up, it’s easy to forget how to access them. Right when we need them most, we find ourselves in a struggle of choices.

    Every difficult situation presents opportunities for growth, development, and change. In fact, the “serenity prayer” often used in recovery advocates for meeting stress with exactly this philosophy. We ask for the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference between the two. Most wise, of course, is choosing not to return to drugs and alcohol as a way of responding to crisis in life.


    Recovering adolescents suffering from addiction will learn to develop many other tools  for managing relapse prevention. Sustain Recovery Services in southern California provides extended care services to young adults and adolescents in recovery from drugs and alcohol. We offer a comprehensive and structured program as a foundation for building a life of long term sobriety. Please visit our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information.

  2. How Dopamine Affects the Relapse Trigger

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    How Dopamine Affects the Relapse TriggerDopamine is one of several neurotransmitters that are produced in your brain and nervous system to respond to and regulate pleasurable stimuli. Dopamine’s role in drug addiction and alcoholism is prominent, including the risk of relapse.

    Man’s dopamine reward system is an evolutionary vestige that developed prior to man’s ability to use logic and reason. Scientists believe that dopamine level increases occurred in response to activities that benefitted early man. Eating nutritional foods or participating in procreation signaled to him that he should continue those activities for survival. Dopamine works within the brain’s reward center, ultimately communicating with the midbrain. The midbrain dictates the totem pole of survival needs like food, sleep, and reproduction. Eventually, using drugs and alcohol climbs to the top of this priority list.

    In the context of modern man’s struggles with addiction, the dopamine reward system works against an addict’s greater benefit. Cravings and symptoms of withdrawal act as strong signals to continue using drugs or alcohol. As a result, the cycle is perpetuated. Drugs and alcohol stimulate the production of dopamine, rewarding the brain with pleasure, leaving the body in need of more.

    The psychological need for more can remain for months or years after the physical and chemical dependency has been healed. For many young people in recovery, it is the psychological desire to use that leads to the physical cravings. Euphoric recall, for example, can prematurely trigger the production of dopamine in the brain. Essentially, this process convinces the brain it has already consumed drugs or alcohol. Consequently, the brain turns on symptoms of withdrawal, desperately wanting to feel that pleasure once more.  

    Relapse typically occurs in response to stressful triggers. Remaining acutely aware of the fact that dopamines play a role in increasing their relapse risk is a mindful tool for recovery. Part of the recovery process is learning to recognize and manage triggering situations. Alcohol and drugs are no longer the solution to uncomfortable situations, thoughts, emotions, and experiences.    


    Sustain Recovery Services in southern California offers extended care services to young adults and adolescents in the early stages of recovery from drug addiction and alcoholism. Our unique structured program takes place in our luxurious homes. Each day our clients are educated on how the disease of addiction works in the mind, learning practical life skills to help them manage day to day activities. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information.

The people at Sustain Recovery are truly passionate about their work. They put all their love, energy and spiritual strength in to it. They continue to support me today as I continue my ongoing journey in my personal recovery. I now have over a year of sobriety, my own apartment, a job, true friends and a support network that is always available to me. Although all that stuff is great, what matters most today is that I love myself and have the ability to love others. Thank you to all who had a hand and heart in Sustain Recovery

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