Addiction treatment programs are not a panacea. They don’t cure addiction but they can help people find hope and healing for the day-by-day walk forward. Knowledge is power when it comes to recovery. Triggers are things that get in the way of recovery, that pop-up and create struggles for people to move on from addictive thoughts and feelings.

Relapse can happen in the first few months to a year of recovery but it is also likely the rest of the time a person is in recovery. Recovery is for life, it is not a one and done deal. Watching out for triggers can be helpful and noting those things that are difficult to avoid for a healthier outlook in recovery.

What Triggers Do

The use of alcohol triggers difficult emotions that make a person in recovery feel the need to do something about it. Typically, this means using alcohol. It might mean using pills, too, or some other type of substance to deal with the triggers. Drinking triggers may come from the environment (social media, billboards, friends, neighbors, negative emotions from stress) but it may also come from internal triggers of not feeling completely connected to recovery for some reason. It may be stress, anxiety, pressure, or other issues that keep the person from feeling like they are fully engaged with recovery. Some people go to all the meetings and fully embrace recovery but face a setback with a trigger.

Dealing with Triggers

To deal with triggers is to identify what pops up most commonly, then having an action plan. Even if you haven’t been to treatment, you can still write up a plan for how to stay sober if you want to try it on your own. It is easier to go to treatment and work with others who know the best ways to do it and offer support. However a person does it, what matters is finding the best way to cope when these happen:

  • Accidental exposure to alcohol or substances
  • Stress triggers
  • Environment

The environment includes people, places, and things that trigger a desire to use. Going by old haunts or places that were areas of substance use can be triggering. Re-exposure triggers can occur in any location where others are drinking or through exposure to television and movies. Negative emotions like fear, anger, and shame can be strong triggers. Lack of decent sleep, not eating well, hanging out with old buddies who still drink and physical pain can be triggers for use.

Finding Hope

Don’t let triggers run you over. Ask people for support. Have sober companions ready to help when triggers rear their heads. Avoid drinking buddies if they are not sober. Find new ways to work and around old places if those are triggering. Examine relationships that may be toxic or stressing right now. End relationships that will never get better and decide what works for work and living arrangements to see what will help in the fight against triggers. There is hope, with perseverance, that triggers will begin to subside day by day and offer a glimpse of peace in recovery.

Alta Loma Transformational Living is a place of hope and healing for people with addiction and mental health issues. We offer help for you to recover from the difficult challenges of life. If you are struggling, we can help. Call us to find out more: 866-457-3843.