Getting clean after dealing with a substance abuse problem is one of the hardest things you’ll do. You can make your path easier by simply knowing yourself.
Knowing your substance abuse triggers can help you stay clean and sober. Whether you’re undergoing medically assisted treatment or just trying to cut down on drinking, knowing your triggers is an essential starting point.
Consider the following points so you can cope with these triggers and thrive in your daily life.
1. Consider Your Social Settings
Social settings are some of the main contributors to relapses.
The peer pressure to drink isn’t something that stops in college. Maybe you’re celebrating a friend’s birthday and feel left out seeing everyone take shots. You tell yourself you’ll have just one.
Or maybe you’re at a professional mixer and feel your nerves getting the better of you. It’s easy to take a drink to blend in or deal with these nerves.
Planning can curb these issues. For instance, if you know you won’t have the resolve to deal with these social triggers, it’s probably better to stay home.
Having an “out” can be one of the best ways to handle it. Perhaps you can let the group know upfront that you won’t be drinking, or confide in one person in the group who can choose to not drink with you.
Having somewhere else to be before the night progresses can also save you some trouble. Remain conscious of your triggers and never overestimate your willpower.
2. Biological Deficiencies are Common Substance Abuse Triggers
Simple human deficiencies can weaken your resolve and make you more likely to relapse. The acronym “HALT has broken down some of the most common scenarios.
This acronym stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. If you feel yourself triggered and going through cravings, always start with these four matters. It would shock you to find out how easily even the strongest craving can be curbed after you get something to eat, confront unresolved anger and frustration, reach out to a friend or take a nap.
Take care of these basic needs to build a strong foundation for dealing with cravings. Make working out a habit and lifestyle so that you can regularly work the stress out of your body.
Meal prep healthy home-cooked food so that you never allow your body to go into starve mode.
Develop a circle of friends that you can bond with regularly so that you never feel isolated or anti-social. Give yourself 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night, and develop a wind-down routine that helps you fall asleep without issue.
3. People in Your Life Might Prompt Triggers
Be mindful of the people that you keep in your inner circle. You might have feelings, memories, or attachments that you associate with certain people that prompt you to relapse.
Perhaps you still hang out with a friend that you used to drink or do drugs with. Maybe you have an ex that stressed you out that you just can’t seem to let go of.
Hold yourself accountable for the relationships that you keep, rather than blaming them. You don’t need to excommunicate people from your life either, but always pick and choose which friendships and relationships you invest time and effort into.
Put yourself first and only maintain relationships that are healthy and that make you better.
4. Stress is one of the Biggest Triggers
The average person walks around with daily unresolved stress. Perhaps you have money problems, issues with your marriage, or your work is stressing you out.
Replacing stress with a good feeling is human nature. If you remain conscious of what stresses you out, you’re better able to create healthy ways of dealing with it.
For instance, maybe you can hit the gym before or after work every day so you can keep stress under control. Rather than turning to substances, you can work on a business idea so you can do something with this latent energy.
Getting massages and acupuncture sessions can also help you to unwind and deal with the accumulated stress. Decide which strategies work best for you and deal with your stress head-on.
5. Everyday Life and Boredom Can Cause a Relapse
Your triggers aren’t always rooted in major ordeals. Even the most normal life situations can prompt substance abuse triggers.
The human experience is filled with neutral situations. Some people find themselves triggered having to deal with mundane situations.
This is why meditation is such an important practice to develop. You’re less likely to succumb to triggers when you can breathe and feel comfortable in your skin.
6. Life Events Might Trigger You
Stress life changes are also major trigger sources. Something like a divorce or even the birth of a child can bring cravings.
Going to a therapist can help you deal with these life changes as they come about. A licensed professional can help you process these thoughts and emotions so you can face them, rather than having them come out in the form of a trigger or craving.
Consider These Substance Abuse Triggers and Get the Help That You Need
The substance abuse triggers are some of the most common that you’ll face no matter what sort of substance abuse issues you’re dealing with. Getting professional help can empower you to deal with even the worst triggers as they come about.
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