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What Are Triggers in Addiction? Knowing What to Look Out For

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Once you realize that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, you spend time figuring out how to get sober. After you get sober, then your efforts go toward staying sober. Getting sober and staying sober are two entirely different things. However, the work you do getting sober will support your long-term life in recovery. One key thing is understanding what triggers are in addiction. More specifically, you need to know what your triggers are, and you need to know what you’re going to do when they arise.  We all have triggers. At Thrive Treatment, we understand the importance of doing the work in early sobriety so that you can stay sober over the long term. 

What Does the Word ‘Trigger’ Mean?

Simply put, a trigger is a stimulus that results in a reaction. We respond to triggers all day, every day. If you walk into a dark room, you will likely turn on the light. The dark is the stimulus, and turning on the light is the reaction. But, what are triggers in addiction? Triggers in addiction can be external or internal. You may have also used drugs or drank alcohol with a particular friend or group of friends. When you see them, you associate the behavior with them, and it is harder to refrain from using. Triggers can also be times of day or situations. Maybe you have a hard time being social at parties, and alcohol is how you’ve coped. Perhaps your job is very stressful, and you’ve developed a habit of drinking at the end of the day. From an internal perspective, you may have relied on drinking or using drugs as your coping mechanism for stress, anxiety, and a myriad of other emotions. When you encounter any of these situations or emotions, you may feel triggered to use. 

Relapse Prevention Tips for a Recovering Addict

One of the essential aspects of preventing relapse is identifying as many of your triggers as you can and developing a plan for when they happen. While some triggers can be avoided or removed entirely, others cannot. Still others will catch you by surprise because it is nearly impossible to identify all of your triggers in advance. You can develop a plan for the ones you know. For instance, you may have to change your social circle or avoid going to certain places to avoid being triggered to use. For those situations that you simply cannot avoid, you can develop strategies. Perhaps your family causes you a great deal of stress. In rehab, you can learn about communicating what you need constructively and setting boundaries. If your job is stressful, you can learn other things to do to relieve your stress and anxiety. Meditation, movement, and mindfulness practices are all extremely useful in processing emotions. Whatever your particular triggers are, the key is to accept that they will arise and to have a plan for how to respond without turning to drugs or alcohol. 

Get Help Today With Addiction at Thrive Treatment

At Thrive Treatment, we blend different modalities of treatment to help you succeed in sobriety.  We integrate relational and behavioral therapies, along with holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions, to put you on the path to sobriety, emotional health, and overall well-being.  We understand the importance of relapse prevention, and we’ll help you understand how to respond to your triggers.  Located in beautiful Santa Monica, we can provide you with an individualized plan that blends modern and traditional practices. Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!  

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