You will face substance abuse triggers when you’re on the road to recovery. However, learning how to cope with and overcome those triggers will assist you in maintaining your sobriety after addiction treatment and place you on the path to long-term recovery. There is no wrong method to overcome addiction triggers; however, developing skills to cope with triggers is vital for long-term success.
Learning how to cope with addiction triggers requires consistency. Conquering triggers is about more than abstaining from drugs and alcohol. It’s about the emotional and psychological factors that come with it. Developing a plan that works to combat your triggers and being consistent with them will benefit your recovery. Our team of addiction counselors, therapists, and social workers is here to help you develop coping skills that will assist you in overcoming addiction triggers.
Understanding Triggers And How They Affect Sobriety
Since addiction is a multidimensional disorder, a trigger is a stimulus that causes the individual to begin to think, smell, taste, feel, or be tempted to give in to addiction. It causes that feeling of retreat back into old patterns and behaviors, which results in a relapse. A trigger isn’t always physical. It could be something someone says, how someone behaves or based on a feeling.
At Avatar Residential Detox Center, we work with the client to identify the triggers that lead them to substance abuse and assist in developing coping mechanisms that the individual can use outside of treatment and in long-term recovery.
Common Triggers Faced In Recovery
Just like addiction recovery is unique to the individual so are addiction triggers. What might cause one person to crave drugs and alcohol might not necessarily cause another person to break their sobriety. However, everyone in recovery has an addiction trigger and needs to learn coping skills to face them. One of the most common addiction triggers is stress. During addiction treatment and therapy sessions, individuals can discuss their stressors and share how they triggered them to crave drugs and alcohol. Repressed feelings and emotions can also be a trigger. Familiar places, people, or things that remind the individual of their past substance abuse may trigger them to want to go back to it. Recovery is new and unfamiliar, so it often feels like an uncomfortable choice compared to the former life of addiction that the individual knows so well. Realizing you don’t have to face addiction alone and that going back to active addiction is not the safe choice even though it may feel like it at the time is a coping mechanism.
Dealing With Physical Triggers in Addiction And How To Cope
A physical trigger is usually an object that is encountered. For example, you go to your primary care doctor for a physical and need blood drawn. This could be a physical trigger if you were someone that previously engaged in intravenous drug use. Failure to change your daily routine could result in a trigger. For instance, if you previously got up every morning, had breakfast in the kitchen, and then got high, this routine could trigger you to repeat the pattern and relapse. Even something as simple as our car could be a trigger. If you previously used drugs or alcohol in your vehicle or stored items in your car, it may cause you to want to use again. When fully immersed in substance abuse, it ruled your life, and you became a significant player in it. It may take more than avoiding people, places, and things to get you to break old habits. During addiction treatment, therapists will use cognitive behavioral therapy to help you identify your triggers in addiction, establish ways to cope with them, and replace bad habits with good ones.
Emotional Triggers That Sneak Up
During addiction treatment, you will participate in individual and group therapy sessions. These sessions will drum up some of your past and past trauma, which may create some emotional triggers. Dealing with these emotional triggers with a therapist and embracing addiction education will allow you to work through some of these triggers. If you still struggle with emotional triggers upon leaving inpatient rehab, look into outpatient treatment. This way, you get rehab benefits like unconditional support, structure, and therapy but can slowly integrate into society.
Underlying Addiction Psychological Triggers Can Lead To Relapse
Another factor that can be difficult when coping with addiction triggers is mental health. Addiction has a psychological component but often occurs alongside other mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, borderline personality, eating disorders, or PTSD. These co-occurring disorders often are not revealed until the drugs and alcohol are out of the individual’s system after detox. When these underlying disorders go undiagnosed and untreated, they often trigger substance use disorders. Not all addiction treatment facilities treat co-occurring disorders, so it’s essential to find treatment for co-occurring disorders near you, like Avatar Residential Detox Center in NJ.
Dealing With Unexpected Addiction Triggers
Sometimes regardless of how much you prepare for something, you can still end up blindsided by the unexpected. These triggers are the worst because you didn’t expect them, so the impact seems much more significant. For instance, you may run into a former acquaintance with whom you used to use drugs or alcohol. You’ve been doing your due diligence to avoid all past people, places, and things; however, here this person is in one of your new recovery spots questioning where you’ve been, maybe even offering you to use with them again. When an individual is fresh out of detox or inpatient treatment, an unexpected trigger like that could easily cause them to relapse multiple times. Creating an aftercare plan before departure from your treatment facility is a great way to plan for the unexpected. Some addiction treatment centers offer medication-assisted treatment if you feel it will be extremely challenging to overcome these unexpected triggers or the will to use drugs or alcohol. These medications are not designed to be used forever; however, if you need to work on reducing cravings, reducing withdrawal symptoms, or having a negative experience if you use a substance, then MAT will be helpful to you.
Setting Boundaries To Avoid Relapse
It is essential to set boundaries in recovery. It is a significant part of self-care. However, boundaries are not just set for other people. You will also need to set them for yourself to reduce your exposure to addiction triggers. Don’t take on too many things at once; don’t say yes to plans if you feel like staying home. If you’re feeling exhausted, then rest. Please don’t set the goal too high; sometimes, individuals in recovery set goals that are too hard to achieve instantly, leaving them disappointed and discouraged, resulting in an emotional trigger. Set small achievable goals so as you continue on the path to long-term recovery, you feel you are accomplishing things along the way.
Managing Triggers In Recovery
There are many benefits to coping with addiction triggers. The best way to manage triggers overall is to reduce stress. Finding a positive outlet to reduce stress is the best way to start. Keeping busy and active is. An excellent way to stay healthy and sober. Some good ways to manage stress and cope with addiction triggers could be the following:
Incorporate one or more of the above activities into your daily routine. Some days you may need to go for a run to let off some steam. On other days journaling about it will suffice; however, having these activities built into your daily routine will alleviate stress. These activities will become something you look forward to each day. When we make time for stress-reducing activities that we enjoy, it reinforces recovery. Any issues or triggers also seem more manageable and easier to overcome.
Ask For Help
If you feel yourself sliding into a potential relapse due to an addiction trigger, don’t wait. Ask for help immediately. Contact your sponsor or your therapist to discuss what you are feeling. There are also partial care programs available that provide the support of treatment without impacting your everyday life. Make time to assess and cope with your triggers; there is nothing wrong with taking more time to develop coping skills to cope with addiction triggers effectively.
Using Addiction Treatment To Cope With Triggers and Stay Sober
Addiction triggers will be there regardless of how long you have been in recovery. Addiction treatment doesn’t stop at abstinence from drugs and alcohol. It’s a process that involves detoxing from drugs and alcohol, treating past trauma, identifying triggers, developing coping mechanisms, setting boundaries, and working on yourself.
Begin your journey toward recovery today by speaking with dedicated professionals that can customize a plan to suit your needs. Don’t face your triggers or addiction alone.