Recovery from addiction is an ongoing process, one that requires plenty of patience and self-compassion. Even after substance abuse treatment, recovery comes with significant challenges, the most substantial being exposed to people and places that remind the recovering addict of past drug or alcohol use. Many people who complete substance abuse treatment and leave rehab to find early recovery to be a minefield of people, places, events and situations that trigger their desire to drink or use drugs. Fortunately, there are strategies and techniques a recovering addict can use to deal with triggers in addiction and avoid relapsing. For more information about addiction recovery and triggers from substance abuse, contact A Forever Recovery today at (877) 459-9723 to speak to a professional addiction recovery counselor.
Common Triggers in Addiction
In addiction recovery, a “trigger” is any form of stimuli, physical or emotional, that spurs a “craving,” or the desire to engage in addictive behavior. In many cases, an addiction trigger is unconscious, meaning the mind links a certain person, place or emotion with alcohol or drug use without you realizing it. Some common triggers in addiction may include the following:
- Feeling hungry, angry, lonely or tired (known by the acronym HALT)
- Perceived negative emotions
- Stress, anxiety or depression
- Social isolation
- Physical or mental illness
- Getting a promotion or new job
- Sex and relationships
- Romanticizing past drug or alcohol use
- Social situations where drugs or alcohol are available
Strategies for Dealing with Addiction Triggers
Recovery is stressful, and it’s too much to expect not to experience any cravings or desires to use post-rehab. The truth is that triggers and cravings are inevitable in recovery, and if you’re experiencing them, know that you’re not alone and that there is something you can do about it. The following are some strategies and techniques for dealing with addiction triggers:
- Be aware of your triggers. The first line of defense against cravings to use is being aware of what your triggers are so you can deal with them appropriately.
- Don’t fear your cravings. Your natural impulse may be to see cravings as “bad,” and therefore be frightened of them. However, research has shown that fear of cravings can actually make the cravings stronger and more difficult to evade.
- Maintain your physical health. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly have been shown to ease the power of cravings in recovering addicts.
- Talk about your triggers and cravings. Whether you simply voice them aloud to yourself or have a conversation with a loved one or professional counselor, it’s important to talk about your cravings so you aren’t tempted to begin using again in secret.
- Don’t test yourself. As tempting as it may be to see how strong you are against your triggers, it’s never a good idea to set yourself up for failure.
- Form a strong support system. Surrounding yourself with friends or family members who care about your well-being will help keep you accountable.
Contact the Experts at A Forever Recovery for Help
Triggers and cravings are a normal part of early recovery, and the majority of people in recovery experience them, some more frequently or intensely than others. The good news is that, just as triggers are created, even unintentionally so, by linking a stimulus (a person, place or event) with a reward (using drugs or alcohol), they can also be extinguished, by simply depriving the body of a reward in response to a stimulus. If you are in recovery, and you are experiencing strong cravings to use, call (877) 459-9723 today to discuss your addiction triggers with an expert at A Forever Recovery.