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Recovery Tools: How to Identify Your Relapse Triggers

Person dealing with relapse triggers

If you have experienced a relapse, do not beat yourself up. Pick yourself up and win the battle again. Use this article and other tools available to help you be stronger and help you learn to guard against your triggers.

If you or a loved one is struggling with relapse, contact Serenity Grove today at 844.904.3485 for more information about our addiction treatment.

Understand Relapse Triggers

Relapse triggers are things that cue your brain to crave using again because of your past substance use. An important step in identifying your triggers is understanding what they are. It is a myth that you can permanently remove relapse triggers. But knowing what they are will help you make an action plan to deal with them.


The phrase HALT represents some of the most common triggers for relapse. HALT stands for:

  • H – Hungry
  • A – Angry
  • L – Lonely
  • T – Tired

All of these emotions can trigger a relapse. Each of these emotions has its own feelings and complexities to unpack.


Hunger is not just the feeling of needing a good meal. However, if you are hungry, it can trigger different emotions that may be relapse triggers. So it is important to be sure to feed your body healthy meals that nourish it. When discussing the soul part of hunger, it is a hunger for more in your life. This type of hunger is about community. Emotional needs such as attention, comfort, understanding, or companionship are all things that people hunger for; it’s what makes you human. When you feel a void in your life, it is easy to seek fulfillment from people or things that are not healthy. In recovery, it is essential to surround yourself with healthy people who understand the battle you are fighting and can support you.


Anger can act as a motivator for change. The problem comes when you do not know how to handle anger constructively. When you hold anger in a destructive way, you turn it against yourself or others. There are various ways you can work to let go of feelings of resentment. Some ways to let go of anger include:

  • Acknowledging resentment
  • Identifying what is in your power
  • Taking action where you have that power
  • Letting go of anything outside your power
  • Making gratitude a daily habit


Have you ever been lonely even though you’re surrounded by people? Loneliness is so much more than just not being physically alone. That is why when loneliness gets discussed, it connects back to hunger and community. However, there are key differences.

If you are experiencing loneliness, reach out to your substance use disorder counselor for tips and tricks to create meaningful connections.


Being physically tired can dangerous in many ways. When your brain is not fresh, you tend to make regretful decisions. In addition to being physically tired, you can be emotionally and spiritually exhausted. This is the most dangerous type of tiredness for those in recovery. When you are so overwhelmed and overloaded that you cannot deal with your emotions in healthy ways, it leads you to deal with your feelings in old familiar, unhealthy ways.

Some ways to gain perspective:

  • Take breaks to breathe
  • Take vacations
  • Smell the fresh air
  • Write in your journal
  • Practice mindfulness

Build Your Toolbox at Serenity Grove

Begin building your toolbox today by identifying your relapse triggers and finding new and healthy ways to address them. Serenity Grove is a dual diagnosis alcohol and drug treatment center. Our attentive, experienced, and friendly staff are on hand to help you through your addiction recovery journey. Take the time to prioritize your health and contact Serenity Grove today via online form or by calling us at 844.904.3485.