Recovering from drug and alcohol addiction is a process that takes time, effort, and commitment.
Once a person has decided that they want to make a real change and quit using and abusing substances, certain actions have to be taken. Inpatient rehabs often play a significant role in the early stages of an individual’s recovery. Some drugs and alcohol require the user to undergo the detoxification process before any other real recovery work can be done. After that, individuals take part in educational classes and therapy sessions, many of which continue after primary care (residential treatment) in settings such as intensive outpatient programs, often referred to as IOP.
Almost all inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs offer classes in relapse prevention.
Now that the individual has gotten cleaned up and is working toward living a life free from drug abuse and addiction, they must stay that way. In other words, the next goal is to maintain that newly found sobriety. This means examining the underlying reasons that triggered them to start and continue to use despite harmful consequences. Identifying addiction triggers is a big part of relapse prevention. So what is an addiction trigger? Triggers are usually people, places, or events that an individual associates with using or drinking. They are called ‘triggers,’ because they trigger a response that is somewhat emotional in nature but is experienced as a craving or urge to use drugs and alcohol.
How does a person go about identifying addiction triggers?
Probably the most simple exercise is to sit down with a pen and paper and do some thinking. What situations have you been in when the urge to use or drink comes on strong? Stress is a common trigger for people, and while stress itself is common and can happen at any time, there are often situations an individual may identify as causing them stress or anxiety. There may be certain ‘friends’ and acquaintances that you always use with as well. If you have tried to get sober before, without success, what caused your relapses? Some triggers are external, and some are internal. A popular adage in the recovery community is the Hungry Angry Lonely Tired (HALT) symptom check. These four states of being, singularly or combined, can put a person in a rocky place, especially if they are trying to navigate early sobriety. The idea is to HALT and take care of whichever symptom is causing you unease. Identifying addiction triggers is an excellent way to stay in check and practice self-care. If you or someone you love are struggling with addiction, help is available.