The road through alcohol and drug rehabilitation has many highs and lows for the individual in recovery as well as for their supporting friends and family. From one moment to the next, an individual coping with addiction may experience mood swings, bouts of depression, and even rage.
As a bystander observing from the sidelines, it can appear to be a never ending spiral of chaos. In contrast, those who are going through treatment are constantly faced with the potential for relapse.
Usually, this temptation is brought on by what’s known as “triggers.” These could be prompted by a number of things ranging from certain environments, to memories or social groups. The key to seizing control of your addiction and avoiding an unwelcome relapse is to manage these triggers in the appropriate manner.
If you’re serious about getting your triggers under control the first step is to identify exactly what they are. Put pen to paper and make an actual list of the environment, individuals, and words that evoke a desire to binge.
Some examples include driving past a liquor store, being in a bar, or around others who are engaging in the addiction you’re battling. Triggers also vary from person to person so just because one person is set off by something doesn’t mean it’ll have the same effect on you.
Create a Coping Strategy
After you have a solid understanding of your specific triggers, it’s critical to develop a strategy for overcoming them. Think of them as hurdles on the track to recovery. Your primary job is to learn the proper technique necessary to jump over them.
The Relapse Prevention Approach is a highly used psychotherapy method for executing this very thing. Based on the theories of G. Alan Marlatt and others in the field, the RP approach borrows concepts of self-organization, context effects, and feedback loops to understand the science behind addiction.
Address Your Needs
If you’ve gone through in-patient or addiction treatment then you’re probably already familiar with the 12-step model. In times of trouble, reverting back to the skills learned in this model can be very helpful for combating powerful urges.
Another exercise hailed for its efficacy is known as H.A.L.T (hungry, angry, lonely, and tired). These four components can help you quickly identify your conditioned responses to certain stimuli. From there you can retrain your mind to respond in a more appropriate manner. If you’re having difficulty identifying these needs, consider one of the drug addiction treatment programs at Ambrosia Treatment Center.
Monitor Your Progress
The last component of managing triggers is to monitor and track your results. Some individuals find it helpful to create a trigger chart with their ongoing progress.
On the chart, divide the trigger or situation into different categories (feelings, behavior, consequences) and document how each event triggers a different reaction. Over time, you should see a dramatic improvement in the way you handle certain scenarios and situations.
If you’re still not noticing the type of growth you’d like after employing these four strategies, seek professional help through an outpatient treatment facility or addiction specialist.