Acknowledging the fact that you have an addiction and seeking treatment is the first step to recovery. However, even if you undergo successful addiction treatment, this doesn’t mean you’re cured. This is a lifelong battle. And the risk of falling off the wagon is always there. The main reason for this is that you’ll inevitably encounter triggers that will remind you of your past substance abuse. And you need a lot of willpower to overcome those triggers and stay clean. That’s why many recovering addicts relapse at least once after receiving treatment. However, making a plan and sticking with it can help you prevent this. So, here are some tips for managing addiction triggers.
One of the best tips for managing addiction triggers is to identify them
You can’t manage your addiction triggers if you don’t identify them first. And this can take a while because there might be many things that trigger you. Therefore, you must become self-aware and identify anything that makes you crave substance abuse. And note that triggers are rarely physical; more often than not, they are emotional or psychological. Thus, they might be harder to detect.
So, to identify your triggers, you should pay attention to how your body and mind respond to various stimuli. You can even keep a daily journal to help you determine what lights that spark. And if you need additional support, you can enroll in an aftercare program. These programs can help you identify your triggers and develop various coping mechanisms. So, don’t hesitate to seek their assistance.
Managing physical addiction triggers
The most obvious addiction triggers are the physical ones. And it’s not just about seeing a bottle of your favorite type of alcohol or a syringe. People and places can represent external triggers as well. For example, seeing a person you used to abuse substances with can trigger you. And the same goes for your favorite bar. It will take time to no longer make these associations, so in the meantime, you should avoid them.
Of course, this is easier said than done. But with a bit of determination, you’ll succeed. For example, you can come up with a good excuse for situations when someone asks you out for a drink. Or, when you have to meet up with someone, suggest a great restaurant instead of a bar. The idea is to prepare yourself for these types of situations to avoid being taken by surprise.
Managing emotional addiction triggers
Emotional addiction triggers are the worst and most common types of triggers. And sometimes, it’s very hard to identify them. Anything from guilt, regret, shame, grief, and loss can trigger you. And let’s not forget about stress. After all, many people turn to substance abuse because it’s the easiest way to escape stress. Unfortunately, the effect is only temporary. The following day, you’ll have to face those stressful financial or relationship issues once again.
Of course, you can’t escape your feelings. But what you can do, is focus on your new and improved lifestyle. Try out new things and discover what you enjoy. Watch a movie, read a book, meditate or find a new hobby. Moreover, since substance abuse can cause many health issues, you should start eating healthier and engaging in physical activities.
Managing psychological addiction triggers
While addiction is a psychological disorder of its own, other underlying psychological disorders can also trigger it. Specifically, if you suffer from two psychological illnesses, they can trigger each other. One of the most common disorders that trigger substance abuse is depression. When you feel extremely sad and helpless you crave substance abuse to escape. However, if you don’t seek treatment for these two conditions, you’ll end up in a vicious circle. So, find a program that specializes in co-occurring disorders.
Rely on your support systems
One of the best tips for managing addiction triggers is relying on your support systems. And yes, you should consider having more than one. Usually, your family and closest friends are your rock, and you should spend as much time with them as possible. However, if you mistreat them during substance abuse, some might not be as understanding and forgiving as others. In which case, they can represent triggers themselves. That’s why it’s essential to have other support systems in place as well.
Aftercare support groups are another great option. Talking with people who are struggling with the same issues as you can be extremely helpful. You can learn from their experiences. They can offer you advice on how to deal with specific situations. And you can even get a sponsor you can call and talk to whenever you feel an urge to use.
Moreover, the specialists at brightfuturestreatment.com advise you to seek a good therapist. Yes, it’s great to be surrounded by people who love you and understand you. But experts can help you identify and understand your feelings and triggers. And they can teach you how to manage them through various coping strategies. So, don’t waste any time and find a therapist you feel comfortable with.
Get back to normal gradually
At some point, you’ll have to resume some sort of normalcy. And some addiction triggers will be impossible to avoid. For example, birthday parties and weddings are joyous occasions that you shouldn’t miss out on. However, don’t forget that they can be triggering as well. So, the best thing you can do is take a trusted person with you. It can be a close friend or even your sponsor. The idea is to have someone there to firmly stop you from relapsing. Then, gradually, once you become more in control, you can start attending such events on your own. But you should always have a trusted person on speed dial for emergencies.
Seeking professional treatment when dealing with addiction is essential. However, recovery doesn’t stop there. Once you’re out in the world, you’ll face many internal and external triggers. And you have to stay strong to avoid a relapse. These tips for managing addiction triggers will help you do that. However, they don’t represent a guarantee. So, in case you do relapse, don’t beat yourself up too hard. It can happen to anyone. The important thing is to get back on that wagon and try harder next time.
Meta description: Are you struggling to stay clean after undergoing addiction treatment? Here are some tips for managing addiction triggers.