meditation

Addiction triggers are one of the main reasons why many people with substance abuse disorders relapse if they have not picked up appropriate coping skills to combat them. Learning to identify and tame your addiction triggers makes recovery so much easier.

What are Addiction Triggers?

An addiction trigger is a feeling that sets off a memory or flashback of a traumatic event that haunts and greatly pains a person in recovery. Addiction triggers can be brought on by a variety of sensory impulses including: scents, sights, sounds, touch, or taste. Think of an addiction trigger as a deju vu – with one exception – the memory takes you back to a traumatic time of your life rather than an innocent moment.

Many people start using drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication to escape the torment of past trauma. These traumas are often set off by addiction triggers. The knee-jerk reaction is for the traumatized individual to seek drug or alcohol to escape from these uncomfortable and sometimes paralyzing feelings.

How to tame your Addiction Triggers?

1. Identify 

To identify your addiction trigger(s) you must first think back to what evoked them in the first place. Sometimes it is not easy to identify your addiction trigger.

The following list includes some of the most common emotional triggers, meaning you react when you feel as though you aren’t getting or will not get one of these things that are very important to you. What is important is to identify and associate both the addiction trigger and the moment.

AcceptanceRespectBe Liked
Be UnderstoodBe NeededBe Valued
Be in ControlBe RightBe Treated Fairly
AttentionComfortFreedom
PeacefulnessBalanceConsistency
OrderVarietyLove
SafetyPredictabilityIncluded
FunNew ChallengesAutonomy

2. Use your acquired Coping Skills 

Once you have identified your addiction triggers your next step is to apply coping skills. Hopefully, you  have learned these skills while receiving addiction treatment. Utilizing your coping skills is the best way to ensure that you do not succumb to your addiction triggers. The last thing you need is to fall back into a relapse. In response to your addiction trigger, your brain might tell you to use drugs or alcohol in order to escape those traumatic feelings. However, at this time you should use coping skills such as breathing techniques, meditation, or exercise. You can also involve yourself in music or art.

These two steps are vital for anyone in recovery. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in recovery for a few months or several years. Your ultimate goal is to gain a firm understanding how these two steps are necessary to prevent an addiction trigger. You do not want it transforming into a traumatic event.

Here are some other ways you can tame your Addiction Triggers:

  • Incorporate a breathing/meditation exercise into your daily routine
  • Speak with a psychologist about resolving your past trauma
  • Work on creating positive memories to replace the negative ones

Addiction triggers are real feelings whether they are rational or not. They can be extremely painful. Try these techniques when you sense a traumatic episode is imminent.

Share your very own Coping Skills

And if you have your own coping skills not listed above please share them with us. You never know who you will be helping in their recovery. And also easing the pain from an addiction trigger. Sharing is easy. Just contact us.