How to Cope With Addiction Triggers During Recovery

Addiction Triggers

I’m sure you’ve heard it before: once an addict, always an addict. What comes after addiction? Recovery.

Recovery is a process that never ends, and it’s not easy, especially when you’re newly sober. So how can you cope with addiction triggers once you’re in recovery? Here are a few tips and tricks.

Identify Your Triggers

The first thing you should do is identify your triggers. An addiction trigger is something that takes a person back to their original trauma. It can be a place, sound, smell, person — essentially anything.

If a bar near your home is a place you would go to buy drugs, that place may be a trigger for you. Even if you don’t have the intention of using drugs, triggers are psychological responses that can be difficult to manage.

Identifying triggers will make it much easier to avoid them. You may not know something is a trigger until you are triggered by it. Keeping a list (either physical or mental) or your triggers will be helpful as avoiding them will help you stay on the wagon.

Don’t Socialize with Old Drug Buddies

Recreation during recovery is important. It’s vital to have a support system of family and friends who will aid you in your journey. Recovery is a tough thing to go through, so you’ll need tough friends to keep you on the straight and narrow.

That said, the type of friends you need around you aren’t people you were using with before you got clean. Even if they’re on their own recovery journey, early recovery is such a delicate time that the friendship just isn’t wise.

Even if it is unintentional, the people you have used within the past are toxic to your recovery. They have built-in addiction triggers that jeopardize your sobriety. While relapse is a part of recovery – going through detox and getting clean again is something every recovering addict wants to avoid.

It is in both parties’ best interest that you avoid one another for the sake of your sobriety.

Go to Therapy

One of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself is to get a good therapist. Therapy (individual or group) is a part of recovery that can do you a lot of good.

A good therapist will help you identify triggers. A great therapist will also work with you to learn how to address triggers and face them head on should you come face-to-face with one.

There are a lot of different types of therapy. Really good self-work facilitated by a licensed mental health counselor can help you identify and heal the roots of your addiction, as well as give you tools to move forward in a healthy manner.

Therapy could benefit not only you but your family as well. Families experience a lot of turmoil when their loved one goes through addiction. Therapy for your family, or family therapy where you all attend together, offers everyone a safe place to express their feelings and get the coping tools they need to continue on the road of recovery.

Avoid Temptation in Social Settings

Just like you should avoid the bar. If someone you know is having a birthday party at a place where you used to score drugs — it’s probably best to avoid it, even if you’re sure you have the best intentions.

Unfortunately, sobriety asks us to live new lives where we don’t put ourselves into difficult situations on purpose. Social settings where people may be using drugs or alcohol can be triggering, sending you into a relapse.

It’s tough, but recovering addicts must learn to protect themselves and their sobriety. Protecting your sobriety may require avoiding social interactions and settings that will be detrimental to your abstinence from drugs and/or alcohol. It’s best to avoid putting yourself into questionable situations.

Medication to Prevent Relapse

Sometimes, the best thing to prevent relapse for a patient in recovery or struggling with sobriety is a medically supervised program. Some patients may benefit from a medically supervised methadone program.

There are a variety of prescription drugs available for people in recovery from all kinds of substances: from opiates to alcohol. There were over 300,000 in the United States on some form of methadone treatment program in 2011.

Could CBD Help with Addiction Triggers?

An exciting use of CBD could be to prevent relapse for addicts in recovery. The benefits for this use have been shown to be long-lasting, which could be a breakthrough in how we view and treat addiction and recovery.

CBD is totally legal for use all over the United States. CBD is derived from hemp, which contains no THC, so it won’t get you “high.” If smoking is a trigger for you, CBD can be ingested via tincture; in snacks or drinks; and via salves, lotions, or balms.

The multiple ways to ingest CBD and its long-lasting effects in resolving drug cravings make it a unique and practical way to deal with addiction triggers.

Staying on the Wagon

Getting clean and staying clean is tough.

Relapse rates vary between 40 and 60% — higher than that of divorce. Coping with addiction triggers is an important part of maintaining your sobriety. If you arm yourself with the knowledge and tools to cope with those triggers, you are more likely to experience success.

At Coastal Detox, we offer a complimentary 90-day recovery management program to help you learn how to navigate life as a sober addict. Click here for more information on the programs we offer.


Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.