How to Avoid Trigger Situations

How to Avoid Trigger Situations by Gregg Gustafson

Image-HopeRecovering from addiction isn’t just about quitting your drug of choice; whether that drug is illicit narcotics, alcohol or even cigarettes. It’s also about changing your attitude, surroundings and even, if need be, your hometown and friends.

If you are pulling yourself out of an addiction that encompassed your entire life, it can be difficult to step away from familiar friends and comfortable situations, as these are also forever tied to your unwanted behaviors. Learn to identify your addiction triggers and how to avoid relapsing by changing your attitude and your life.

Your Friends and Family

For many recovering addicts, their friends and family members are the biggest triggers that draw them back into the world of drug or alcohol abuse. Quite simply:  if your best friends are still in the grips of addiction, chances are you’ll return to your old ways if you’re constantly surrounded by the murky throes of temptation. It’s a difficult decision, but to save yourself, you might have to walk away from new or long-established friendships. Many addicts become friends of convenience because you share the same destructive habits. Say goodbye before all your hard work is thrown by the wayside.

Your family is a whole other beast; as it can be hugely difficult simply quit your blood relatives. If this is the case, ask family members to not participate in your past unwanted behaviors in your presence. For instance, ask your cousins, siblings or even your own parents to refrain from encouraging you to drink at a wedding or birthday party. Don’t worry about offending anyone; it’s more important to stay on the path to recovery than step on a few toes.

Social Situations

The easiest way to stay away from your drug of choice is to steer clear of obvious establishments and situations that trigger your addiction. If you’re a recovering alcoholic, stay out of bars and nightclubs. If you comfort yourself through food, walk away from the grocery store’s candy or bakery aisle. This probably doesn’t sound like the recipe for a fun life, but there are other ways to have a good time that won’t tempt you to indulge in your old behaviors.

Discover New Passions

Substitute your old, destructive addiction with a new positive outlet for your fears, frustrations and anxieties. It might seem like you don’t have tons of energy, but exercise is one of the best ways to recover from an addiction. You’re not only getting yourself physically fit, you’re changing your attitude and stepping into a healthier, active lifestyle.

Aside from exercise, rediscovering or finding a new passion, hobby or pursuit is an excellent way to steer clear of your old haunts and habits. Keep it simple by taking up golf or bowling, or get involved in a volunteer organization in your area. If you always enjoyed painting before you fell into addiction, pick up a brush and get to work. Even just walking every day is an amazing distraction that will keep you stepping in the right direction (no pun intended).

Quitting Smoking

Almost any former smoker will tell you that giving up their beloved cigarettes was one of the most difficult journeys in their life. Nicotine is a highly addictive stimulant and quitting can trigger a variety of unpleasant side effects, including depression, anxiety and severe irritability. Learn about your common smoking triggers and how to combat them. Here are a few instances you might recognize in your own life:

• After meals. Many smokers indulge in a cigarette after eating, and if this is your routine find a new way to wind down after dinner. Perform a simple household chore, walk around the neighborhood or help your kids with homework to distract you from smoking.

• While driving. If you’re used to lighting up on the morning commute, bring along a healthy snack or hard candy to indulge in instead. Keeping your car clean is a great way to prevent smoking, as it compels you to keep ash off the dashboard and seats.

• Around other smokers. This is probably the most common trigger, and the hardest to stay away from. Ask your friends, family members and co-workers to not offer you a cigarette. If worse comes to worse and you’re experiencing a huge craving, walk away until they’re finished.

Have a frank and honest conversation with yourself to determine your unique addiction triggers. For you, hearing a certain song or even watching a movie is enough of a temptation to draw you back in. Once you realize and stay away from these triggers, you can continue down the road to your recovery.

Author: “How to Avoid Trigger Situations” was written and provided by Gregg Gustafson who is a freelance writer and consultant for Gustafson works with individuals who suffer from drug abuse, in turn referring them to some of the most prestige drug rehab centers active today.