What are triggers?
Triggers are the people, places and things (material and non-material) that may cause you to crave the your drug of choice, become nervous, anxious, depressed or put in a negative state of mind that can cause relapse. Triggers are very dangerous to people in recovery and the most challenging part about them is that they vary from person to person. What may be a trigger for one person is not for another. An alcoholic might have trouble sitting at a table with people who are drinking. This might trigger them to drink and thus relapse. A person who used to be a sex worker in order to fuel their drug habit might not be able to drive down certain streets alone or may feel uneasy around men (or a certain type of man). The triggers are far and wide but knowing what your individual triggers are and working through them can help prevent a relapse before it begins.
How to manage triggers in recovery.
Once a trigger happens it feels impossible to ignore it, nonetheless walk yourself through it.
1. See a therapist – First and foremost you should focus on seeing a therapist. By now you should have a therapist that you see regularly. Developing a relationship with a therapist can help you form a bond of trust with someone who’s trained in addiction therapy and can provide you with the best way to handle your particular triggers.
2. Master Your Symptoms – Journal, journal, journal! When you journal you develop chronological proof of when you’re more likely to react to triggers and what causes triggers for you. In journaling you will learn to anticipate triggers and do your best to work through them. Sometimes you will come to the realization that you’ll have to avoid certain triggers completely in order to get passed them. You might not be able to conquer some triggers for a very long time but the day will come when you’ll be able to tolerate it and work through it better than before.
3. Self Soothe – Self soothing techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and relaxation can help you take more control of how the triggers affect you. Triggers can make you fell trap and like a victim to your addiction. Triggers are like the monkey on your back or the elephant in the room that just won’t go away. In focusing on deep breathing, meditation and relaxation you can put the control back in your hands. In self-soothing, you will learn to accept what is, feel the emotions and simply let them go so that they don’t bother you anymore.
If you or someone you know is need of addiction treatment, please give us a call at 1-855-441-2449.