Substance abusers with borderline personality disorder (n = 34) were compared with substance abusers who were not borderline (n = 89) on measures of impulsivity, coping skills, hostility, negative affect, and triggers for craving or relapse. Borderline substance abusers abused more substances over the course of their lifetime and scored significantly higher on measures of impulsivity. Borderline substance abusers utilized escape/avoidance coping mechanisms more often, and used problem solving and positive reappraisal less often than nonborderline substance abusers. Borderlines had cravings and relapses triggered more often by negative emotional states, tension, social rejection, and negative physical states. The findings support the utility of focusing on treatment-relevant psychological constructs that characterize substance abusers with borderline personality disorder.