The real work to stay sober begins when you leave treatment. Your commitment to abstain from drugs, food or alcohol is contingent upon your ability to identify triggers and a willingness to learn how to deal with them. Cravings, numbing out and a desire to escape from uncomfortable feelings are all potential triggers that will send you back to your drug of choice unless you have a plan in place. Practice these 4 tips when managing triggers in recovery:
1. Identify your personal triggers. Common ones include walking by a bar, seeing a sugary food you used to binge on, getting paid, getting into an argument with someone, and being bored. Pay attention to whatever situation arouses feelings of agitation and make a note of it.
2. Know what you are working with. Triggers and cravings are a very real part of recovery. Once you’ve identified your triggers, stay open to anything that may surprise you, and have a plan for when you feel yourself being triggered.
3. Practice your trigger plan. Come up with an action plan to put in place when you feel triggered. Take a walk, go to a movie, call a friend or sponsor, find whatever helps you. The trigger may be emotionally affecting you, but you will be less likely to react when you have a way to deal with those uncomfortable emotions.
4. Take care of yourself. You can handle triggers more easily when you are eating and sleeping well, exercising, and remaining aware of your emotions.
Identifying triggers and putting a plan in practice while taking good care of yourself will give you a solid start on the path to sobriety.