Here are ten common situations that are very dangerous to a person in recovery. Recognizing these dangers will help you avoid a possible problem in the future.

1. Believing you are finally cured of your addiction. This is a dangerous form of denial. The lie is that you either are finally “cured” or maybe you were never an addict or alcoholic in the first place. Another variety of the same situation is I can return to being a social drinker or user. Sometimes, the longer your sobriety the harder it is to avoid these. “Surely after 10 years of no drinking I can drink a cold beer with my friends.” Sound familiar? Any way you slice it these can lead to relapse, quickly.

2. Using prescription drugs that can get you high. Doctors today are quick to prescribe drugs (opiates, Valiums, Xanax, etc.). I had an ER doctor come into the cubicle I was in several years ago for knee problems and hand me a prescription for pain pills.. I had never seen the man before. He got his information from the nurse. I told him I didn’t want to take opiates and he looked at me like I was crazy. The number of clients I have worked with in the last several years who relapsed after using drugs as prescribed is huge. It is your responsibility to let the doctors know that you have a drug or alcohol problem.

3. Suddenly acquiring a lot of cash. In fact, I have had a lot of clients who told me having a $20 bill in their pocket was a trigger. You have to know yourself and what is a trigger for you. If cash is a trigger for you make sure that you have people in your support network who can help you with accountability. We don’t like being held accountable but it is necessary for all of us.

Danger Placard4. Listening to war stories or just dwelling on “the good times.” The truth is, they were all good times till the bad times started. We need to remind ourselves that we quit for a reason. Some kind of pain prompted us to quit. We need to remember that and stay avoid glorifying any use like the plague.

5. Physical pain. In the last year I have worked with more clients who were opiate users and who started with a legitimate prescription than any other group. (Meth users come in second, by the way.) Addicts have a way of justifying the “use” if it’s prescribed. But, you have to remember it will not be the doctor in the jail if you get stopped for a DUI on opiates. Another dangerous drug people tend to use as “medicine” is marijuana. This is a whole different subject but the facts are these: marijuana is illegal to use or grow or distribute—don’t do it. I have worked with a huge number of people who justify their marijuana use by using it to self medicate (anxiety, stress, etc.).

6. Using a different drug since you are only addicted to your drug of choice. My experience is that I have switched through several drugs and behaviors before I started working on all addictions (drugs and behaviors) at the same time.

7. Boredom. We can get into a lot of mischief when we are bored. It is important to plan for down times and keep yourself occupied. I will move on since I don’t want to “bore” you… OK, I know that was lame.

8. The desire to celebrate. Whether you want to celebrate something small or something big…we tend to splurge and indulge ourselves with things we don’t usually do. Be careful that you don’t celebrate yourself into a relapse.

9. Negative emotions. Be wary of anger, sadness, loneliness, guilt, fear, and anxiety. Any of these in extremes could open the door to relapse. Get help and trust your support network and listen to their feedback if they are talking with you about any of these.

10. Places. Being around people who are using or drinking or just as bad, being in places you used to go when you used or drank. Do I have to say it? It is very dangerous. Even if it doesn’t immediately lead to relapse it might eventually. Relapse is progressive–it starts small but grows fast.

There you have it, 10 common dangers to your recovery.

One last thing. Remain alert since relapse doesn’t begin when you pick up to use or drink. It starts days, weeks, or even months before with a change of attitude or a change of routine (such as, missing your regular support group meetings or regular calls or meetings with your sponsor). Pay attention to your support network when they give you feedback.

Author's Bio: 

Tim Gray, MA, CADC
Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling. Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. 20 years of experience as therapist working with mental health, addictions, and co-occurring disorders. I am very passionate about living a balanced, healthy life in recovery since I know the benefits in my life and struggles with additive behaviors.