Triggers are an unavoidable part of the recovery process. Sobriety takes practice, and an integral part of that is recognizing your triggers and learning to cope with them in a healthy way. Check out these tips and refer back to them when you’re feeling like your sobriety is being tested.
- Recognize Your Triggers
First and foremost, it’s important to recognize what things (or people) trigger you. Triggers are things, people, places, or words that spark an intrusive thought or emotion, usually because you associate them with a traumatic experience. Your triggers can be hard to think about but knowing what they are will allow you to avoid them or have a plan in place for dealing with them.
Speaking with a mental health professional is the best way to identify your triggers, what caused them, and how to cope with them. Sometimes, we don’t always understand what certain things trigger us or why we suddenly get upset about something that seems so small to others. Engaging in counseling allows you to better understand the connection between personal triggers and past trauma, while learning how to heal from them.
- Connect With Your Community
Whether you’re in treatment for your addiction or living in recovery, there are many communities where you can connect with others who have also struggled with a substance use disorder. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, religious or spiritual groups, peer recovery centers, or other community gatherings can help you find a sense of belonging with like-minded people who can offer support and encourage you to live your best life.
Many people in early addiction recovery connect with a mentor or recovery coach – usually someone who is further along in their recovery. Lean on that person, learn from their experiences, and always reach out when you feel triggered or tempted to return to substance use. One day, you may find yourself in a position to be a mentor to others who are in the early stages of their recovery!
- Find Your Strategy
Once you identify your triggers have a community to lean on, find out what helps ease your spirit when you need it. Come up with a simple plan that you can execute when you run into those triggers. Everyone is different and responds to different coping strategies, but here are some ideas to consider when you need to feel grounded:
- Exercise – take a walk, do yoga, go for a run, get those endorphins flowing!
- Show gratitude – replace your negative thoughts with what you’re grateful for. Even the smallest things in life deserve gratitude.
- Journaling – writing down your thoughts and emotions in a journal is cathartic for many. One day, you’ll be able to look back at your past entries and recognize how far you’ve come.
- Call your sponsor – your sponsor knows what you’re going through because they’ve likely been in the same position. Give them a call and let them know how you’re feeling. Sometimes it’s just nice to vent.
- Meditate and practice positive affirmations – ground yourself in meditation and practice mindfulness techniques that remind you why you’re in recovery.
- Do an activity you enjoy – put on your favorite music, go for a car ride, play with your kids, do the things that make you the happiest.
Remember that triggers are temporary. As you grow further in your recovery, those triggers may not have as much of an impact on you anymore. However way you’re feeling about your triggers, honor your feelings as valid and a part of the process.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, call the New England Recovery Center today and speak to our admissions team. Start your recovery today at 1-877-MyRehab.