Hello Fellow Travelers,
In todays post I want to identify 6 of 12 basic “relapse triggers”. But first lets understand what a trigger really is. Simply put, a trigger can be described as any “internal” emotion, thought, or memory that elicits or drives an urge to change or numb that emotion or thought. There are also “external” triggers and I will cover those in the upcoming article on the 6 remaining basic triggers.
Lets nail down a basic truth before proceeding here; drinking alcohol and recreational substance-use typically begins as an effort to “have fun”, mix with the “in crowd”, and in many cases just out of curiosity. I have yet to meet a person who told me that their objective in life was to become addicted to mood-altering substances!
The rest of the truth about addiction is that once a person experiences a mood change or personality shift as a result of substance-use, they never forget the effect and some begin to use drugs and alcohol to avoid or change unwanted emotions like sadness, anger, fear, anxiety, akwardness or feeling overwhelmed in their surroundings or thoughts.
I agree with many experts that there are several factors at play in the determination of who will become truly afflicted with addiction versus the majority of people who will maintain the ability to “take it – or leave it” throughout their life. The explanations and data are fascinating and I address these in the Recovery Journey course in detail for those who are like me and have to know the “why’s”!
One more item of note about triggers in general and this is why I developed my Recovery Journey course to address “real world” circumstances in real people’s lives – unlike the safe and sheltered protection of inpatient treatment center life.
Triggers almost always start with something small or seemingly insignificant, a minor disagreement or even an obscure reminder or memory of a past event or encounter. But here’s the dangerous factor; triggers behave like small snowballs rolling down a hill picking up more and more density, growing larger with expanding thoughts of gloom and an increasing alarm for something to intervene and stop the progression of anxiety and quell the desire to cure the negative thoughts and feelings.
Without effective tools and provisions for immediate relief, triggers are progressive and insidious – they cannot be effectively overcome for any significant period of time with simple willpower. This is the cold truth I address in the Recovery Journey course modules.
Below are the first 6 Common Addiction Relapse Triggers. I suggest that anyone with concerns about substance-use take more than a glance at these categories. Identify and own the truth you may recognize in them. One additional note, the Recovery Journey Addiction Freedom Course is NOT a 12-Step based program, however it does speak to solutions for those who have been involved in 12-Step recovery and I use relative terminology that I hope speaks to those who may feel that AA or NA did not work for them as well as those who have never stepped inside a 12-Step meeting or opened an AA book.
1. Exhaustion: Becoming overly tired or sleep deprived. Not following through on self-care actions like adequate rest, good nutritional habits and regular exercise. Good physical health is a component of improving emotional health. How you feel physically will be reflected in your thinking, judgment, recovery actions and patience with others.
2. Dishonesty: It begins with a pattern of small, unnecessary lies with people you interact with like family, friends, or coworkers. This behavior can then spill over into your recovery relationships with “little lies” to your mentor, recovery sponsor, trusted confidant, or maybe a 12-step group you are involved with. This is a form of denial and is often followed by, or even preceded by, lying to yourself, rationalizing excuses for these little lies, avoiding your recovery program work, attending meetings and many times, giving up on spiritual balance.
3. Impatience: Things are not happening fast enough for you. Maybe others are not doing what you want them to do and are not performing to your perfectionist demands. This behavior is usually a precursor to several of the other triggers listed here.
4. Argumentativeness: Arguing over small and insignificant points, indicating a need to always be right. This is sometimes seen as developing an excuse to drink or use and opens the door to the old feelings that called for “numbing” with substances. Remember that addiction is a cunning disease and a subtle foe.
5. Depression: Overwhelming and unaccountable despair may occur in cycles. If it does, talk about it and work through it with your recovery team (sponsor, coach, therapist, physician, etc.). You are now learning to be responsible for your recovery and asking for help. Recovery is a “We” thing, and sometimes people need professional help for success.
6. Frustration: Anger and irritation with people and circumstances because things are not going your way. Remind yourself that things are not always going to be the way that you want them, or think they should be. In most cases our perceived “problems” are only temporary and with time and practicing our recovery routines, these concerns seem to fade away as our thinking becomes clearer and sanity returns.
I hope you gained usable knowledge from the article above. I will post Part 2 next week at the same time and will include and introduction to the second type – the wide world of “external triggers”, and most importantly – how to beaat them in your sustainable recovery!
Be safe and care for one another.
The Recovery Journey to Addiction Freedom Online Course is Now Available as a Fully Digitized and Interactive Program Experience on All Mobile Devices and Computers.
Recovery Begins With Acceptance and A Commitment to Coach Chris’s 21 Day Self-Paced At-Home Course. This Amazing Course was Developed over Many Years with the Coach’s Experience as a Trained and Licensed Addiction Counselor and 3 Professional Coaching Certifications. This Solution-Focused Course Is Not Like Costly Rehabs or Treatment Centers, Does Not Require Group, In-Person, or Virtual Sessions. Includes Daily Coaching Videos, Medical Expert Video Interviews, Celebrity Recovery Video Interviews, Self-Searching Worksheets and Interventions, Relapse-Proof Guidelines, Early Recovery Craving Solutions, Safety-First Guidelines, Daily Relaxation and Wellness Video Productions, Goal and Intentions Worksheets, Art Therapy Modules, and many more Interventions in Perfect Order and Alignment for a Full and Sustainable Journey to Freedom from Addiction to All Mood-Altering Substances.
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Asking for Medical Help
If you or someone you know exhibits withdrawal symptoms, psychological problems, or any signs of self-harming behavior, contact your medical professional, call 911, or reach out to SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)