Why Triggers Are So Harmful and How to Cope When They Hit 

Why Triggers Are So Harmful and How to Cope When They Hit 

Therapy is a helpful way to work through triggers that may be harmful in recovery. When they come on stronger than ever, it is good to have some strategies to deal with them effectively. It starts with outlining how to navigate them when they hit and what to do if they are too strong to deny, putting you at risk of relapse.

Why Triggers Happen

There are many things a person can do that return them to thinking or seeking drugs. Stress, triggers at work, relationship woes, and other things can make a person ‘miss’ that feeling or desire it as a coping mechanism. It may be years later and those feelings can surprise a person in recovery. Triggers are the brain and body’s way of saying ‘i remember this felt good at the time’ and so it goes back to that when it is triggered to think about it during times of stress or other triggers. 

Why They Are Harmful

Triggers can be harmful because it brings a person back to a time when they used drugs or drank alcohol. This may have caused them to:

  • Lose confidence
  • Feel stressed
  • Lose self-esteem
  • Feel stigmatized
  • Remember any previous relapses
  • Get anxious
  • Kick up mental health issues like depression or other issues

The main reason they are harmful is that they can trigger relapse where a person ends up using substances again and needs help quitting. Coping strategies are the most healthy way to deal with triggers so they don’t take over your life.

Coping Well with Triggers

Have a relapse prevention plan for times of challenge in recovery. The transition from rehab to recovery is difficult, but many people don’t realize years later, relapse can still rear its ugly head. A good prevention plan needs to be amended over time so a person learns how to remain sober every day and finds a better purpose for relapse prevention. A good plan includes:

  • Finding supportive family members to stay engaged (not just when things are hard)
  • A physical list of triggers and writing down or tracking people or things to test sobriety for self-awareness
  • Going to meetings for recovery that keep communication open and honest for better accountability
  • Make sober friends committed to sobriety
  • Focus on unhealthy habits and work on them a little at a time, including building a healthier diet and regular sleep schedule
  • List negatives of using drugs and remind yourself why you are sober. Keep this list handy when you may be tempted to use and remind yourself why you worked hard for sobriety

The goal is to stay sober, but remind yourself if a relapse happens, you can still pick yourself up and get moving forward away. Reach out, ask for help, and seek support for the journey. This is a lifetime commitment and there are people out there who want to support you. Don’t be afraid to ask them to come alongside you for the journey.

Oceanfront will help you fight back against relapse and provide tools and resources for the journey. We are located in beautiful Laguna Beach. Call us to find out how we can help you navigate addiction recovery: 888-981-4295