Cocaine Relapse

Cocaine relapse is a tough battle that many recovering drug addicts must face. While cocaine relapse is probably the hardest part toward making that full recovery, it is not insurmountable. It can be achieved through the proper forms of drug rehabilitation.


Unfortunately cocaine addiction is one of the hardest drug addictions for addicts to overcome, which is why the majority do experience a cocaine relapse at some point throughout the recovery process. Just because a former user experiences a relapse, this does not mean they cannot find their way back to the road to recovery. A cocaine relapse typically occurs because the addict is overwhelmed by the strong sense of craving, just like with many other forms of addiction. The physiological craving of cocaine is often considered stronger than most other types of physiological cravings of alcohol and other types of addictive drugs. Because of this, cravings and craving tendencies are usually addressed as a primary concern in relapse prevention therapy, which is especially important during the first 90 to 120 days of recovery.

Those trying to recover from a cocaine addiction should know and understand that this is not a process that can be tackled alone. Almost all cocaine addicts must seek some form of official therapy in order to successfully overcome the addiction. During these therapy sessions, the issues of a cocaine relapse can be addressed properly with the least risk of actually occurring. For example, in a traditional relapse-prevention therapy meeting, the former addict will need to address the possibilities of relapse in stages.

Stage One:

It is a good idea for the user to address the set-up behaviors. These include ways of thinking, managing feelings and behaviors that increase the risk of having a relapse. For example, it is important to first address the psychological reasons behind the person's first intent to try drugs. Many times a person falls victim to exploring the heightened effects of drugs like cocaine because it is an attempt to escape from the pressures of their daily life, avoid emotions or not cope with other traumatic issues and experiences. 

Stage Two:

Now is the time to identify what are going to be trigger events. These are typically events in a person's day or routine that activate the physiological brain responses associated with cravings. For example, for some former users these events might be when they see a certain person who they used to do the cocaine with, or it might be after a particularly stressful event. These are all triggers that are more likely to cause a person to experience a cocaine relapse. During therapy, the former addict will have to learn how to overcome these triggers in order to avoid a relapse.

Stage Three:

This is the stage in which the former user goes through a series of self-reinforcing thoughts and behavior modification that continues to intensify the craving process. During therapy, they must learn to overcome this step in the recovery process. If they are unable to cope with the intensity of the cravings, they are at the highest risk of cocaine relapse. 

Because of the steps that are involved in the recovery process, it is clear as to why the users must go through a rigorous form of therapy to be able to successfully overcome having these tendencies and likelihood to relapse.  There are a few different steps that a user needs to try in order to prevent cocaine cravings. These include:

  • Recovery program assistance. As mentioned, it is imperative to get into a structured therapy recovery program that puts the user in direct contact with those ready to help them overcome their addiction, as well as in contact with other people who are recovering. Being in contact with other former addicts who are also receiving treatment for the same thing is a great way to provide the user with support and assistance toward recovery.
  • Know the triggers. Be sure to have on mind the things and activities that are most likely to trigger a cocaine relapse. By knowing these triggers you are more likely to cope with them.
  • Know and avoid the set-up behaviors that might cause a trigger of relapse. Don't set yourself up for a craving, or you will be more likely to fail in resisting the cravings. 
  • One of the best ways to avoid cravings and relapse is to stop thinking about future use. Don't assume there will be any instances of future cocaine use. Stop thinking about your sobriety as something awful. Find something you can do to help you cope in a healthy way like exercise or other healthier hobbies. 


Related Article: Signs of Cocaine Addiction >>