There is a 40 to 60% relapse rate for people with substance use disorders. Why do addicts relapse when things are good? The road to recovery can be daunting, and relapsing can unfortunately be easy when you’re surrounded by triggers.

The first 30 days after leaving an inpatient drug treatment center are the hardest, being that individuals typically relapse within this period. Although, no matter how far a person is during their recovery, there is always a chance of relapsing. Let’s dive into the potential triggers and common risks that can lead to a relapse.

Why Do Addicts Relapse When Things Are Good?

There are a plethora of reasons that contribute to a relapse. For example, those fighting addiction may not know that the environment they surround themselves with can make or break their recovery.

Understanding the main causes and triggers of relapse and ways to fight it can also help you build a strong support system with loved ones who are struggling with drug abuse.

Unhealthy Environment

Some may have heard of the saying “You are who you surround yourself with.” Being around individuals who engage in substance abuse while you’re trying to get out of that world can be triggering. It’s also dangerous when there are no boundaries set.

Set boundaries with friends and family, especially in the beginning stages of recovery, and let go of peers who do not respect them. Until you are stable enough to be around substance, ditch the bars, liquor stores, clubs, and parties.


It is common for addicts to relapse due to the loss of a job or loved one. Stress-related instances can also be a bad day at work, dealing with road rage, or a pile of assignments that haven’t been done yet. Nobody wants to deal with hardships alone, that’s why turning to substance abuse again can seem like the only way out.

It’s important to be aware of your emotions and cope with these emotions in new healthy ways. For example, exercising is known for increasing dopamine in your body and can help you relieve any built-up stress inside you. As a loved one, don’t forget to check up on those recovering and ensure they have someone to turn to during difficult times.


It is typically encouraged to avoid getting into relationships until you are fully stable. This is because the dating scene usually involves going out, which means the potential involvement of alcohol. You also have to ensure that the person you’re dating is on the same page about your sobriety.

Relationships can introduce negative emotions and experiences like insecurity and infidelity. Arguments can escalate and lead to stress, which we know is also a cause of relapse. It is best to stay out of a relationship until you have a good foundation on your sobriety, and avoid looking for another individual to fill that void.

Feeling Too Confident

There is nothing wrong to feel good and confident about your recovery. Enjoying the process and maintaining a happy outlook on this road is important. Although, overconfidence can be detrimental when you think you are incapable of a slip-up.

Those who are overconfident may not be mindful of hanging around areas like bars, clubs, and environments with drugs and alcohol. It’s important to avoid these risky situations at the beginning of recovery, and continue to follow relapse prevention therapy techniques that will help sustain long-term sobriety.

A Healthy Road to Recovery

Now that you learned why do addicts relapse when things are good, you can now look for the key things to avoid to maintain a healthy road to recovery.

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