4 Tips for Coping with Triggers in Recovery

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Coping with Triggers in Recovery – 4 Tips to Help You

One of the most important aspects of recovery from substance addiction is what how a person deals with relapse triggers. The first year is the highest risk period, with studies revealing that 40 to 60 percent of people in substance use disorder cases return to their substance abusing ways. What are the best methods for coping with triggers in recovery and beating the statistics? We’ll explore the common drug addiction triggers and look at tips for maintaining abstinence.

Common Things That Can Set Off Substance Abuse

Triggers can come from almost everywhere. It can be a familiar smell, a particular song or anything that induces overwhelming stress. These stimuli can be the trigger to intense cravings, irrational thinking and ultimately relapse.

One of the first aspects of coping with triggers in recovery is being able to recognize them. Some of the common drug addiction triggers include the following:

  • Stressful situations or a buildup of stress.
  • Other people in the recovering person’s life that may entice the user with drug abuse.
  • Certain locations, such as a bar that the individual used to go to.
  • Important dates, such as Christmas or a birthday.
  • Familiar smells can be one of the triggers in drug addiction, such as the smell of a drug being burned or the smell of alcohol.
  • Moods such as a depressed mood or even an excited mood can be a trigger.

Tips for Coping with Triggers in Recovery

There is no reason why triggers in drug addiction recovery have to lead to a relapse. Coping with triggers in recovery can be difficult at times, but with the following tips, you can have the tools to prevent relapse.

  1. Know Your Triggers – We’ve discussed common triggers in recovery but your particular triggers may differ. Discover what your triggers are so that they don’t take you by surprise. You may also discover new triggers down the road, but being able to recognize them is important to be able to respond appropriately.
  2. Plan Accordingly – Once you are aware of the triggers that affect you, then you can begin to plan accordingly. It can be that you take a different route to work in order to not pass by a bottle store that you used to buy drinks from. Planning also helps for when you are going into a situation where you will likely experience cravings, such as at a party. Planning for what you will say to avoid drug and alcohol use as well as an exit strategy can prevent a relapse.
  3. Urge Surfing – An effective technique for dealing with triggers in recovery is to approach it with mindfulness mediation. With this technique, you embrace the cravings like a surfer riding a wave, going with the power of the wave rather than against it. Cravings only last for around 15 to 30 minutes, so all you have to do is “ride it out” for a short time. This approach can also lead to greater insight and control over one’s cravings.
  4. Speak to a Professional – The best way to deal with triggers is to speak to an addiction specialist. Effective relapse prevention strategies can be discussed with you and with the help of the specialist, you can make a relapse prevention plan that works for you. You may also want to use the aid of an addiction specialist anytime you begin to feel overwhelmed by triggers.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.

Sources:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/193144

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery