Addiction recovery isn’t a one-time accomplishment that’s done and done after you quit. It’s a lifelong process and ongoing journey that will present speedbumps and potholes along the way. But don’t be deterred by rocky road conditions as these challenges can be sights to view along your solid path to recovery. In fact, standing strong when faced with adversity is the essence of successful sobriety. You are reclaiming your health, your life and your control!
Having the foresight to identify when relapse warning signs arise can arm you with the knowledge to respond accordingly. By recognizing warning signs early, you can take the necessary steps and actions to prevent relapse and remain sober. More often than not, triggers occur that prompt a desire to use. These triggers can be an event, an interaction, a relationship, or some other influence that is emotional or environmental.
Some common triggers include:
- Negative emotions like stress, anger, fear or frustration that stimulate the desire to use
- People, places or things that remind you of using
- Exposure to toxic behaviours
- Peer pressure to use
- Overconfidence in recovery
- Isolating one’s self
- Lack of self-care
- Sudden changes in routine
There are innumerable potential triggers but what is important is that you identify your own. By recognizing what causes you to feel like your recovery is comprised, you can then avoid these situations, create routines that prevent these occurrences, or be as prepared as possible to reach out to your support network when needed.
To prevent relapse:
- Know your triggers
- Have a solid support system in place to help you avoid triggers and detect warning signs
- Avoid places and people you associate with using
- Don’t attend events where you’ll be exposed to drug or alcohol use
A well used acronym is in the recovery community is HALT which stands for hungry, angry, lonely and tired. These four things are said to cause more lapses and relapses but can be absolutely prevented with a proper self care routine.
How you feel emotionally and physically has a huge impact on what you do and what you want to do. These feelings can serve as a warning system. Because addiction is sneaky, it can mask itself behind the guise of these cravings. By eating nourishing food, exercising, getting ample rest, and finding a support network so you don’t feel isolated, you can prevent these feelings from occurring. Also, self-awareness and self-assessment are key to recognizing that you are tired, hungry, lonely or angry.
When the going gets real tough and you’re feeling the need to resort to alcohol or drugs, this is when you call on your support network. Ask for help! Your loved ones and those who have seen you succeed throughout your recovery will be there to remind you of why you choose to get sober! You are not alone! And many people before you have had the same feelings. Just by voicing aloud your feelings, this in itself can help to alleviate the desire to use again.
Support groups are great for meeting like-minded people who understand what you’re going through and have succeeded in recovery. They “get” triggers and can remind you of why sobriety is so damn good, as well as give you the tools to help you respond the next time a trigger arises. AA and NA have several meetings throughout the city daily. Give one a try.
Being honest requires bravery and your bravery is the very reason you sought sobriety in the first place. Learning how to deal with triggers in a healthy way, only makes your recovery stronger. Stay strong and carry on!