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Relapse Triggers – Even after one gets sober the danger of relapse always looms. All people in recovery need to remain vigilant about the temptation of picking up. There are any number of things that can lead a newly recovering addict or alcoholic to pick up again. We should make no mistake here, picking up never ends well. By definition the addict or alcoholic cannot safely use substances and walk away from them. One of the main things one can do to guard against relapse is to learn to recognize the things which trigger the desire to use or drink.
Obviously, chief among the things which will trigger the desire to use is being exposed to the substance one is recovering from. Alcoholics have no business going to bars and anyone in recovery for an addiction to a controlled substance should avoid any situation in which that substance could be available. All of this seems obvious but it is worth saying. Far too many recovering addicts and alcoholics have mistaken their good health for a too firm a ground with respect to their substance addictions and ended up falling back into the disease.
For many of us stress is a major trigger for using. Unfortunately stress is also just a part of life. What we need to work on are ways of handling stress that are productive so as to avoid the habitual tendency to rely on our addictions. The behavioral therapy many people undergo in drug and alcohol treatment generally involves an entire process of stress management. One learns to back away from stressful people and situations rather than engage and escalate those situations. We learn to measure out our reactions to stressful moments so that we do not become part of difficult situations. 12 step programs emphasize acceptance toward things we cannot control. We accept that there are stressful situations and there are people who will create problems, and by doing this we recognize that it is not our responsibility to manage these situations and these people. We simply do what is within our grasp and let difficulties pass us by.
Relapse Triggers – Not all triggers are negative things. For most addicts and alcoholics, any time of celebration was a time to indulge. We certainly want to mark happy and joyous moments with celebration but celebrating with drinks or drugs are not options for the alcoholic or the addict. We find more healthy ways to mark these happy times. For people in support groups one can find a ready-made group of people who will share in their triumphs. Treating oneself to things you enjoy such as good food or a night out at the movies are other ways to mark celebratory moments.
Relapse Triggers – The main point here is that all kinds of things can trigger the desire to drink or use. WE need to become aware of what these things are and be ready for them. It is not that we need to avoid all things and situations which are triggers. It is that we need to be aware that they ARE trigger. Knowledge and awareness are keys to trigger management.
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