Recovering from addiction isn’t a matter of just doing away with your toxin of choice. It’s about creating a new life for yourself. To do so means participating in acts of self-care and avoiding situations that may trigger old behaviours. It's about leaving old habits behind and establishing new ones.
Of course you can’t become a hermit in an effort to avoid all the potential triggers and situations that may arise. But by being aware of them, you won’t be caught off guard when they do arise and you can prevent a mini craving from turning into a major urge and then a full on relapse.
To effectively tackle triggers during your addiction recovery, here are a few tips and tricks to help you along the way:
People, Places and Things
Think of high risk situations as the people, places and things that you associate with using. Places where you’ve used. People who you used to use with or who were related to your substance abuse. People who piss you off or make you sad and thus, make you want to use. People who associate celebrating with you, with using. People who encourage you to use. Or items or places that trigger wanting to use.
Avoid your drinking buddies, don’t walk by your local watering hole just because, don’t keep booze in the house. Avoid people you did lines with, going past your dealer’s house or keeping your particular vice anywhere in your vicinity. The point is to make a bunch of little adjustments to make it much easier for you to create your new life.
By identifying your own personal triggers, you can avoid these situations. Addiction is sneaky and sometimes you won’t see your high risk situations until you’re smack dab in the middle of one. But, by doing away with the people, places and things that you knowingly associate with your addiction, you’re actively making the small changes that add up to saving your life.
The Acronym HALT – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired
How you feel has a massive impact on what you do and want to do. High risk situations include feeling hungry, angry, lonely or tired. These four things are said to cause more lapses and relapses. Cravings arise when a need is unmet and because addiction is so sneaky, it can be masked behind these aforementioned guises.
This is why taking care of yourself is of the utmost importance. Eating healthy, exercising, getting enough rest, joining a 12 step or support group so you don’t feel isolated means minimizing the occurrence of being hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Again, its about making changes that inhibit these scenarios in the first place. By altering your habits, you are creating your beautiful life free of toxic behaviours.
Recovering from addiction and reclaiming your life is an amazing achievement. But, the work doesn’t end when you graduate from rehab or a 12-step program. Part of maintaining recovery is rebuilding relationships and developing new connections to foster an environment for continued growth and endless gratitude.
During active addiction relationships can suffer severe damage. Addicts will often lie to protect their addiction, failing to follow through on promises, forgetting their commitments and deceiving those they love most. The anger and resentment that forms from family, friends or co-workers, during addiction can seem impossible to overcome once recovery is accomplished. But again, recovery may have also seemed impossible. It wasn’t. You did it.
You can rebuild trust in your relationships. With time and effort, you can reconnect with your loved ones and heal the wounds that formed prior to your recovery. Below are some guidelines to remember including actionable tips to help you strengthen your relationships and rebuild trust with those that you love.
It Will Take Patience and Time
Especially in early recovery, when sobriety is the primary focus your friends, family and/or significant other may feel neglected. This cannot be farther from the truth. The self-involvement necessary for successful recovery is actually an act of love for all those in your life and more importantly for yourself.
Involving those you hold dearest in your recovery by being honest with your feelings and where you’re at helps them feel like a part of the process. By being patient with yourself and with those in your life, you are acknowledging the hurt that has been caused and giving all those involved the necessary time to forgive and move on. It takes time to rebuild trust and it takes time for others to forgive past indiscretions. Know this and respect this.