Getting sober is tough work. No one can argue otherwise. There are many steps that you need to take to ensure that you stay sober, and this includes avoiding triggers in recovery. It is amazing how easily a trigger can influence you to have the desire to relapse. Even if you wants to stay sober, the right series of events, combination of people, or sequence of thoughts can easily lead to a relapse.
What are Triggers in Recovery?
Triggers in recovery are people, places, and things that can lead to a relapse. They can be grouped into two different categories – avoidable triggers and unavoidable triggers. Examples of avoidable triggers include:
- People you used to get high or drunk with.
- Places where you used to buy or use drugs or get drunk.
- Things that remind you of using, like songs, articles of clothing, and more.
Unavoidable triggers are a little more difficult as they often come up without notice. They include:
- Emotional events like a breakup or death of a loved one.
- Boredom and loneliness.
- Undiagnosed Anxiety or Depression.
The good news is that steps can be taken to make sure that you navigate both avoidable and unavoidable triggers so that you can maintain your sobriety. With dedication and a strong mind set, even the most addicted person can achieve sobriety if they want it badly enough.
How to Avoid Triggers in Recovery
The first step to any kind of recovery from drug and alcohol abuse is getting treatment. It is quite literally a foundation on top of which the rest of your life stands. Treatment should ideally start off as a full-time endeavor so that you can completely immerse yourself in healing. During this kind of treatment, you will learn more about yourself and what triggers your addiction. You’ll be given the tools you need to stay sober once you are done with treatment.
Once you are done with full-time treatment, the best thing you can do is continue with a long-term treatment plan. A long-term treatment plan might include outpatient treatment along with living in a sober home. This is important because it helps keep you away from most of the avoidable triggers you might encounter.
- You’ll be surrounded by other people in recovery, therefore less likely to hang out with people who are still in active addiction.
- You’ll be living in a sober home, and not in the place you lived in when you were actively using. You won’t be triggered by old memories of the place you are in and the things that previously went on there.
- You can get rid of old things that remind you of using and replace them with new, more happy things.
As far as unavoidable triggers, the key to navigating those is in the strength of your recovery program. The more you can learn about yourself and your addiction, the more you will be able to avoid a relapse when times get tough. Clearly, sad and unpredictable things happen in life, but the answer does not lay in drugs and alcohol. Instead, you can learn healthy coping mechanisms so that you don’t turn back to your addiction.
Many people find that navigating triggers in recovery gets easier as you get more sober time. As each day, month, and year of sobriety goes by, you learn more and more about yourself and what makes you individual. You understand how you deal with things and how to react in a rational way. It is important to also rule out any anxiety or depression, because mood disorders play a huge role in addiction. When they are managed, you have a much better chance at staying sober.
Triggers in recovery will always be around. However, as long as you work hard you can avoid the ones that can be avoided, and learn to rely on your strength for the ones you can’t. Continue working on yourself and putting your recovery at the top of your to-do list and you’ll eventually be able to navigate around any trigger that could have caused a relapse.