Advice for Living Sober in Chicago | Stairway to Freedom

Four Potential Addiction Relapse Triggers


Getting sober is not easy, but statistics continue to show that staying sober is even harder. Recovering addicts put so much time, sweat, pain and energy into getting healthy, but all of that hard work can disappear incredibly quickly, often without the person in recovery even realizing it’s happening. As many as 60 percent of people in recovery relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and that relapse can start long before someone actually returns to using.

Knowing how fragile recovery can be, we here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living have put together this list of four potential addiction relapse triggers to help those in recovery avoid those drug and alcohol relapse triggers by understanding the warning signs that come along with them. Stress and anxiety obviously are two of the largest problems, but there many others, including:

#1 Overconfidence

There is a certain level of exhilaration that comes on the heels of finishing a rehab program and putting oneself on the right course toward recovery, and self-confidence is a really important part of that process. However, growing overconfident, believing you are “cured” and no longer need to make use of the services that have been so helpful to date, can be a big problem. Be confident, but stay humble. No recovering addict should ever tell themselves they are “cured” from substance abuse disorders. Addiction just doesn’t work that way.

#2 Ending a Relationship

Stress is one of the biggest triggers in addiction recovery, but seeing a relationship of any sort fall apart is the sort of thing that can push someone in recovery to use again. Losing an important person in your life causes a swirl of confusing emotions, and someone in recovery may take that as an excuse to start using again.

#3 Television

We look at TV as a distraction, but escaping from reality and going mindless behind the television can take away one’s focus on recovery. Not only that, but some recovering addicts have found that seeing drug or alcohol use on TV can trigger their desire to begin using again, so there are a number of ways that watching TV could trigger someone in recovery.

#4 Troublesome Anniversaries

There are dates on everybody’s calendars that bring with them a certain measure of grief and stress, whether that be the anniversary of a loved one’s death or an estranged family member’s birthday. Whatever the troublesome anniversary may be, knowing it’s coming, practicing the proper coping skills, and seeking help for those days can help people in recovery avoid a relapse.

While people in recovery will do their due diligence by staying on top of their treatment program and attending support groups, the fact is that there are certain alcohol and drug relapse triggers that can cause big problems for people working so hard to get their lives back. Here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living, we want to see every person in our halfway house and sober living homes making the most of the recovery process, and that means avoiding some of these triggers. Of course, knowing what those addiction relapse triggers are is the first step in avoiding them.


Opioid Addiction Recovery: 5 Important Steps

When many people think about opioid addiction, the first substance that comes to mind often is heroin, and while that is an incredibly harmful drug, even more people die every year overdosing on prescription pain medications like oxycodone, Vicodin, morphine, and others.

In fact, a 2016 study found that over two million Americans suffer from a substance abuse disorder involving prescription pain medications, while almost 600,000 were dealing with heroin overdoses. Deaths related to opioid overdoses number in the in the tens of thousands annually.

It is an epidemic, but those struggling with these addictions are not without help. The following include some of the most important steps in kicking an addiction to heroin and prescription pain pills:

#1 Acknowledgment

In order to solve any problem, there first must be an admission that a problem does in fact exist. As you or someone you love develops a growing awareness of this issue, either through conversations with family members or through developing issues in the arenas of work, health, or money, the time will arise to admit that certain behaviors are destructive and potentially dangerous. Admitting this is the first step to opiate recovery.

#2 Consideration

After acknowledgment of the problem, the addict and their support group will need to move toward a plan of action, which includes making informed decisions about next steps, which includes deciding upon the best fit in terms of detox and rehab – and even in to a sober living community for their recovery such as a halfway house in Chicago.

#3 Detox

Any addict that has gone through the process of detoxification knows that it can be challenging, which is why going through that process with the help of professionals is important. Often, medication-assisted treatment is necessary for kicking opioids, mostly as a means of limiting the negative withdrawalsymptoms that can come with detox. It’s a tough step, but a necessary one.

#4 Treatment

Next comes therapy and support, which help recovering addicts address the root of the problems causing addiction in the first place. Several facilities in Chicagoland offer both individual and group therapy to address each person as a whole, all as a means of helping keep people from the addictive behaviors that led to their problems in the first place.

#5 Maintenance

Finishing rehab and officially entering sobriety is a huge step, but it’s not the end. The quest for long-lasting sobriety is never really over, so aftercare programs and extra support can help ensure that former addicts stay sober and avoid relapse. Narcotics Anonymous and Heroin Anonymous are excellent support groups for those looking at a future of prolonged sobriety, and of course we are able to help kick start any such efforts here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living, as we strive to help recovering addicts achieve lasting sobriety.

Our role in all of this comes at the maintenance stage, but there are resources for addicts through every step of this process to ensure they get the help they need. Here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living, our halfway housing gives recovering addicts the structure and stability they need to make positive strides in their lives.

Learn more about sober living in Chicago and get started today on the road to recovery.

How Addiction Can Affect Your Family

One in five Americans has lived with an alcoholic relative at some point during their childhoods, and considering there currently are over 325 million people in this country, that statistic is especially staggering. It is no secret that addiction to drugs and alcohol is a tremendous problem in every possible way for the person abusing the substance, but what often gets overlooked is the effects of addiction on family members. They suffer in their own way, as well.

Children Suffer… Even Adult Children

Children are especially prone to the turbulent lifestyle of a home ravaged by addiction. When drugs and alcohol are a parent’s primary personal and financial concern, it means the kids are going to be left at times without proper parental supervision. If nobody is cooking meals, bathing the children, and getting them to bed on time, those kids are almost certain to suffer in every other aspect of their lives. They shouldn’t have to care for themselves, but the effects of drug addiction on a family can force children to grow up much faster than they should ever have to.

Of course, even grown-up children can struggle with a parent battling addiction. Rather than living their own adult lives, these children are transformed into caretakers for the older generation. It’s one thing when that happens as a result of disease or old age, but it’s something else entirely when the parent has the ability to exercise the control to make positive changes in their lives and simply chooses not to.

Financial Instability

Another way that addiction can absolutely destroy a family is through the financial instability that often comes as a result of purchasing these expensive substances. Getting drunk and high on a daily basis is not an inexpensive habit, and burning that money affects the rest of the family in that it siphons away cash that could have been spent on groceries or utilities or even vacations. Spending money on drugs and alcohol takes these things out of the equation, not only for the individual but everyone else in their family.

Worse Personal Relationships

Perhaps the scariest consequence for addiction, especially as it pertains to the family, is the isolation that can occur as a result of prolonged issues. Many people ultimately shun the person causing so much hurt and pain in their family, especially if they don’t show any interest in getting the help they clearly need. On the one hand, this leaves the addict entirely alone, completely devoid of the support group they need to heal, while the rest of the family finds themselves without an integral part of their family. Family is the most important part of almost anybody’s world, and in terms of alcohol addiction effects on the family, losing that family seems as though it would be among the most brutal.

Here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living, we can help people in recovery by providing a safe and structured environment to help addicts and alcoholics rebuild their lives and start mending those injured ties with family members. Our network of halfway housing in Chicago provides the support these people need to do right by the people who love them and want to see them live happier, healthier lives.

Why Having a Strong Support System is Important for Sober Living Success

When an addict finally comes to the conclusion that they need to get treatment for their disease, they know that real recovery is going to fall squarely onto their shoulders. While it is true that making it all the way through addiction recovery does require a certain measure of individual fortitude, nobody has to go through the process completely alone. In fact, here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living, we emphasize the importance of building a strong support system for life after the treatment facility, since that is so integral to long-term sober living.

In fact, there are a few very important reasons why good support systems are so essential. These include:

They Hold You Accountable

While everybody in recovery likes to believe that they have the willpower to experience sober living without a constant watchdog, the truth is that a little accountability goes a long way toward long-term success. And this isn’t just accountability in terms of ensuring you don’t fall back into old habits; on your way out of recovery, you will set goals for yourself in life after addiction, and supportive friends and family members can help make sure you continue to strive toward those goals.

They Serve as Positive Motivation

Beyond accountability, a strong support system also is going to do a great job at keeping you motivated as you strive toward those goals. It is very likely that you will need a little extra push finding a reasonable job or making amends with people you may have hurt, especially considering how frustrating some of these things can be to complete. Having someone to help push you to complete treatment, achieve your goals toward sobriety, and become the better person you know you can be are great reasons to put together a strong support system.

They Lower Social Anxiety

Many people got started using alcohol or drugs in the first place because they experienced some measure of social anxiety, but once those drugs take control of your life that social anxiety becomes exponentially more daunting. Support friends or family members can accompany you to certain social situations in recovery you help lower that social anxiety, which hopefully also lowers the potential for relapse.

They Remind You That You’re Not Alone

Perhaps most importantly is the reminder that you are not alone throughout the process of recovery. This just isn’t something that recovering addicts should have to do by themselves, which means a system of support is absolutely essential for having the most successful recovery experience possible. These people are rooting for you to succeed, and using that positivity to remind yourself that you’re not alone significantly raises your chances of enjoying long-lasting sober living.

Here at Stairway to Freedom Sober Living, we want to see recovering addicts make their way back into the world with as much sustained success as possible. Clearly, putting together a strong support system is a tremendous help in making sure that happens.

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