Getting help and admitting you have an addiction is the first step on the long road of recovery. However, once you begin the process of healing yourself there are still obstacles to overcome. Avoiding triggers is something that you’ll have to work through for the rest of your life. Learning what causes them and how to combat them, can keep you from falling into a relapse.
Identify and Develop
Knowing what could trigger a relapse is one of the first steps to finding freedom. Typically, there are 3 types of triggers: environmental, social, and emotional. Environmental triggers are places or situations that bring back poor memories from your past substance abuse. Social triggers may be conversations or people who push you to slip back into old habits. Lastly, emotional triggers are complicated and come from a variety of emotional and mental concerns. Knowing the types of triggers that affect you can help you avoid these situations or prepare for them mentally and emotionally with your support system.
Developing a solid support system is another step in remaining on your road to recovery. A support system should consist of more than your normal 12-step program or outpatient group. It should consist of others in your life who are committed to seeing you stay clean. This support system could include friends, groups who share common interests as you, or maybe even a spiritual advisor of sorts. By surrounding yourself with positive influences and sharing your story with them, you can create an open environment to help you stay on track.
Take Care of Yourself
To stay healthy, you need to balance the right amount of sleep, food, and exercise. By taking care of these basic needs, you’re building the foundation of recovery. By really focusing on fulfilling these basic needs, you can create a space to cultivate a healthy mind, body, and soul.
Managing stress and other mental triggers is one of the key ways to avoid a relapse. Stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration are some of the emotions commonly associated with a relapse. By learning how to handle these feelings, you can manage not only your addiction but underlying problems as well. Treat yourself well and take care of your physical health. Exercise can be an excellent distraction during free time and will help you cultivate a healthier lifestyle. Self-talk is an excellent way to combat low self-esteem and feelings of temptation. Be your own loudest cheerleader by encouraging yourself to stay sober.
Surround Yourself with the Right People and Places
As we’ve discussed, creating a solid support system should be one of the first steps you take as you prepare for mitigating triggers. Building up your support system means you’ll need to reflect on your current relationships. You may find that you need to purge old relationships, as some of your triggers may be people themselves. Maybe there’s a family member who constantly pushes you towards your addiction or a friend who only wants to hang out in bars. Re-evaluating your relationships is essential to your betterment. It may be difficult and harsh, but it will help you in the long run.
Refraining from visiting places that cause you to fall into addiction is important as well. This will be different for everyone, so you’ll have to find which places really affect you. You may find that a neighborhood or specific restaurant could cause triggers for you. Try to stay away, but if you absolutely must visit one of these places or spend time with people who have added to your addiction, go with a support member and go on your own terms. Always have an exit strategy in mind and stay honest with your support member that is attending with you.
Commit to Yourself
Ultimately, you are responsible for your journey and recovery. Knowing the facts, seeking outside opinions, and having people stand by you is highly important but when it comes down to it, you are the person making the decision to stay sober each moment. Use this to your benefit! You are stronger than you think and can truly realize your potential when you commit to yourself. By showing up for yourself every day you’re making the conscious choice to strive for a life free from addiction. Ready yourself with the knowledge of your triggers, know who and what to avoid, and when it comes down to it, stand up for yourself against the addiction you face.