Addiction triggers are defined as something that reminds you of the times when you were suffering from addiction. When you see a person, a place, or something that was a big part of your addiction, your brain is cued to produce cravings.
Cravings are urges to use drugs or alcohol again, to relapse. Sometimes the cravings can become obsessions, making it too hard to avoid a relapse. Without proven methods to avoid addiction triggers, a relapse will happen.
To help you avoid addiction triggers, we have listed 11 actions you can take to help you avoid them so you can remain in sobriety.
1. Know Your Triggers
While there are common triggers for every addict, there are more individualized ones that you need to be aware of to avoid a relapse. What are your specific triggers?
In treatment, you have likely been advised to avoid people, places, and things that make it hard for you to remain sober. These are your triggers.
Some triggers are internal, like stress and negative thinking. Some triggers are external, like bumping into your ex that was also your dealer. Know the difference between the two and set clear guidelines for yourself on how to handle each.
2. Misunderstanding Your Body
Throughout your addiction, you answered every signal from your body with drug use. If you were hungry, you used drugs. If you were sick, you used drugs. If you were hurt, mad, or in love, you used drugs.
Not understanding what your body is telling you can be an addiction relapse trigger. To avoid relapsing, get to know your mind and body well, then respond by giving it what it needs.
When you were using drugs, you were never alone. You always had the cure. It was your best friend. Now that you are sober, it’s crucial to overcome times of loneliness. Start enjoying time alone. Discover your talents, dreams, likes, and dislikes.
If you find yourself struggling during alone time, have a backup plan that includes meeting up with sober friends or family, or attending meetings.
If you don’t believe you can remain sober for the rest of your life, you probably won’t. Confidence is what can get you through the more challenging times. It gives you that extra boost that helps you push through a difficult moment.
You have every reason to feel confident. You have accomplished one of the hardest tasks on the planet, getting sober. You have it in you to stay sober.
So, this may seem confusing. We just said you need to be confident. But there is a fine line between not enough confidence and too much confidence. Being over-confident in recovery can be dangerous. If you think, “I’ve got this” or “this will be easy,” you are over-confident and will likely relapse.
Having a little bit of fear about relapsing can be a good thing; it keeps you aware of your addiction triggers and on track to avoid them.
6. Not Enough Treatment
The longer you stay in treatment, the higher your chances of staying sober.
Move from detox to inpatient rehab to sober living. Then, attend Intensive Outpatient Programs, which allow you to participate in both individual and group educational and therapeutic sessions every week- and online. Through virtual treatment, you can continue to work with peers and counselors.
After completing Intensive Outpatient Treatment, you can continue with individual therapy or attending meetings as needed.
7. Jumping Into Relationships
New relationships can be fun and exciting. They can also be a distraction and hindrance to reaching sober goals. To avoid relapse, ease into new relationships. Give yourself enough time to adjust to being sober.
Take a long time to get to know someone before committing to them. This helps you avoid switching addictions, as well as returning to old habits.
8. Lack of Preparation
Some successful people claim they became successful without a plan. This is true for those successful in recovery too. Success is not built on the “just wing it” theory.
Set long-term goals, short-term goals, and the steps to help you reach both. Plans allow you to stay focused on the positive. Without focus, you are susceptible to addiction triggers.
9. Poor Mental Health
Substance use alters the chemistry in your brain. It has been proven that mental health issues usually accompany addiction. Depression and anxiety are prevalent mental health problems associated with drug use.
You may have even by trying to self-medicate your mental health problems with drugs or alcohol.
If you do not fix your mental illness, you will find it harder to avoid addiction triggers. Seek help from your local mental health facility. Meet with a psychiatrist or psychologist who can assess your mental health, and if issues are found, they can help you fix them.
10. Poor Physical Health
Mental health and physical health are also directly connected. If your body is in pain, you may feel depressed. Research has shown that depression symptoms involve aches and pains in the body. To cope with both, you may have leaned on your addiction.
If you are new in your recovery, you may be starting to realize you have physical issues that have been covered up by the effects of the drugs. Now is the time to seek help from a medical professional who can give you a full-body exam and help you achieve positive physical health.
11. Unrealistic Expectations
If you start recovery with unrealistic expectations, they can turn into addiction triggers and relapse. Keep it simple. Focus on getting through each day without relapsing. Don’t expect your friends and families to do better or be better. They may be struggling with their issues.
Set daily goals and feel proud when you achieve them. Because you can reach them, you can avoid triggers and prevent relapse. You deserve a sober life.