If you’re in recovery, chances are you’ve experienced a trigger or two. A trigger is anything that can set off a craving or lead to relapse. While triggers are an inevitable part of recovery, there are ways to handle them so they don’t derail your progress. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips for how to deal with your triggers so you can stay on track.
Forgive Yourself In Case Of A Relapse
If you have a relapse, don’t give up. Relapse is a part of recovery; it’s not the end of your recovery program. If you slip up and have a relapse, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just go back to your recovery program and get back on track again as soon as possible so that you can continue to make progress toward your goal of becoming addiction-free.
For example, if you have relapsed after long-term sobriety, try to remind yourself how long you have been sober. This will give you the courage to right your wrong instead of fixating on it and spiraling into depressive thoughts.
Avoid The Triggers
It is important for people in recovery to identify and avoid any potential triggers that could lead to a relapse. Triggers can be anything from places to people to things that remind you of using drugs or alcohol.
If you can, avoid the situation that causes your addiction. If you are trying to stop smoking, avoid going to a bar or a party where people will be smoking. If you are trying to stop eating junk food, don’t go shopping at the grocery store or don’t go to places that sell junk food. If you are trying to stay away from drugs and alcohol, avoid places where others are using these substances.
Keep a list of all the times that triggers have caused problems before so that later on when another similar situation comes up again, you can identify the trigger and make sure it doesn’t happen again right away.
Replace The Trigger With Something Else
If you can’t avoid the situation that causes your addiction, replace it with something else. For example, if you want to stop smoking but have a hard time doing so in bars or parties, find an alternative activity for when you’re out with friends who smoke (e.g., play cards instead).
If you want to stop eating junk food but can’t resist going grocery shopping or visiting restaurants that sell junk food, bring healthy snacks when you go out so that you have something else besides junk food available (e.g., cut up vegetables).
Whenever you’re feeling tempted to relapse, take some time for yourself to reflect on your goals and why you want to stay sober. Remind yourself of the progress you’ve made and how much better your life is without drugs or alcohol.
Use Positive Reinforcement When Avoiding Triggers
When you avoid a trigger, give yourself a reward. For example, if you are trying to stop eating junk food, and didn’t buy any processed food during your last grocery trip, give yourself a pat on the back or something else that will make you feel good about what you did.
Likewise, give yourself a reward whenever you steer clear of a potential trigger. For example, if you are trying to stop smoking and engaging in a healthier activity instead of going out for drinks with friends who smoke, give yourself some kind of treat when doing this (e.g., go out for ice cream).
Get Support From Others In Your Recovery Program
Tell your friends and family about your addiction so that they can support you in avoiding triggers or replacing them with something else. If they know what is triggering your addiction, they can help by not letting these situations happen when you are trying to recover from it.
If possible ask others in your recovery program for support as well; for example, if there is someone in AA who has been through what you’re going through now, ask him/her to talk with you about how he/she handled the situation that triggered his/her relapse and how he/she overcame it successfully without relapsing again.
No matter how hard it may seem at times, remember that relapse is always possible but it’s also always preventable. With effort, determination, and support, you can stay sober for the rest of your life.
We hope that by understanding your personal triggers and how to handle them, you’ll be better equipped to stay on the wagon for good. Remember, relapse is always a possibility, but it’s important not to let that fear immobilize you. Just take things one day at a time and use the tools we’ve talked about today to keep yourself on track.