When a person first gets sober, they may struggle with triggers. These triggers are stressors that remind a person of using and sometimes drive them to relapse. For some people, relapse is a part of their recovery journey. Some people even relapse multiple times before they can accumulate months or years sober.
Understanding your triggers is an integral part of living a life of sobriety. When you know what causes a burning desire to use or drink, you can combat those feelings with something more appropriate.
So what counts as a trigger? For most people, it’s other people, places, and things. People you used to use with are one obstacle you’ll face. You’ll also want to avoid situations that remind you of drug or alcohol use and things that remind you of using. For example, as a newly sober person, you have no business in a bar of any kind. You also have no reason to hold on to hold onto drug paraphernalia or shot glasses.
“Catching up” with your old drug buddies will only lead you to more temptation and reminiscing about the “good old times.” (Even if they were quite bad times!) And doing things like keeping lots of cash on hand instead of depositing it in the bank can also lead you to think of your drug of choice.
4 Major Triggers to Avoid in Recovery
- STRESS. You can’t control the world, but limiting stress is essential. Early in recovery, it’s important not to pile a lot of new stress into your life. It’s not the time to start a new high-powered job or get married. Give yourself a chance to stay sober.
- BOREDOM. People often think they’re bored when they’re feeling depressed or nostalgic for old times. Life was probably “exciting” when you were getting drunk or high, but do you want the excitement of fearing arrest or other dangers? If you’re bored, go to more 12-step meetings and get a sponsor to help you find new activities.
- LONELINESS. Loneliness is a lot like boredom – you think you miss your old drinking or drugging friends. But you may also miss the lifestyle of drug use. If you’re lonely, pick up the phone and call somebody who is sober.
- FEAR. Maybe you’re afraid of what will happen tomorrow or fearful of the person you will become if you stay sober. Anxiety is normal, but now that you’re sober, you can tackle it. Accept that you may feel fear, but that will soon pass. You’re stronger than you realize.
Coping With Triggers
In treatment, you’ll learn a lot more about the disease of addiction and how you can begin to recover. You’ll also learn new patterns to replace your old ones. Learning self-care, making new friends, and finding new passions are all things that can be part of your future. Just stay sober a day at a time, and you can get help with all the rest.
Your mind wants to play tricks on you. Addiction doesn’t want you to stay sober and free from it. You can’t avoid triggers altogether, but by being aware of them, you can change the behavior that follows when you feel the urge to use. Get help from your therapist, sober friends, or sponsor. You don’t have to use drugs or drink, even when you want to. Just take a breath and keep moving forward.
Getting Help for Addiction
At Design for Change, located in Lancaster, California, we can help you begin to embrace change and heal from your addiction. We offer a compassionate, safe place where professionals will help you reclaim your life and recover from the past, one day at a time.
Even though COVID-19 is still an issue, we are able to accept new clients safely and responsibly.
Please call us at 855-977-1372 to learn more about your treatment options.