Choosing to go to rehab to battle opiate addiction is a courageous step towards a healthier and brighter future. However, the path to recovery has many challenges and one of those you’ll come across is trigger situations.
Triggers can be anything that brings up the thoughts, feelings, or memories of past substance abuse. They vary from individual to individual and include people, places, situations, things, thoughts and feelings. All these can affect your emotional and mental state, setting off intense cravings for opiates and leading to relapse. Due to this, understanding and effectively managing trigger situations is essential both in recovery and for long-term sobriety.
Identifying Personal Triggers
The first step in managing triggers is to identify your personal triggers. Knowing what to look out for empowers you to anticipate and prepare for situations that might challenge your commitment to sobriety. To increase your self-awareness, you can start by noting how your mind and body react or feel in certain situations. Additionally, you can keep a journal or engage in therapy sessions to uncover your triggers.
Common internal or emotional triggers include guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, stress, or grief. External triggers on the other hand include people you used to use drugs with, places you used to buy or use drugs, and conflict, among others.
Developing Coping Mechanisms
After you’ve identified your triggers, the next step is to come up with coping mechanisms to avoid or deal with them. Some effective coping mechanisms include:
Learning to manage your emotions
Your emotions play a great role in how you behave and getting them under control can help you avoid reaching for drugs when overwhelmed. Techniques such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing help keep you grounded when emotions threaten to take over.
Developing positive and healthy habits
Engaging in positive and healthy habits is a great way to replace the void left by drug abuse. Learning self-care practices also improves your outlook on life, strengthening you against certain triggers.
This involves changing the way you perceive a trigger situation. Through cognitive-behavioral therapy, you can learn to restructure negative thought patterns and challenge irrational beliefs to develop a healthier perspective that’s more resilient against triggers.
Creating a supportive environment
Living in an environment that supports your recovery and healing is a great way to cope with triggers. This includes surrounding yourself with positive and supportive friends, families, work colleagues, etc. as well as avoiding places or getting rid of items that remind you of drug use.
Relapse prevention strategies
These should be an integral part of any rehabilitation plan and they involve creating a detailed plan for managing triggers, including steps to take when facing a trigger situation and ways to seek immediate support. For instance, what to do when invited to a party or who to call when facing the temptation to take opiates.
We’re Here to Help
Dealing with triggers during recovery can feel overwhelming and isolating but with comprehensive treatment from the Findlay Recovery Center, you can break free from the cycle of opioid abuse. Get in touch with us to learn how our residential treatment programs can help you take back control of your life.