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Today we’re going to talk about three ways to avoid relapse, and they all center around one thing: triggers. Let’s jump into it!
So, addiction is a brain disease, meaning that if you have an addiction, the reward system in your brain is now hardwired to seek out and respond to the people, places, and things connected with your past use. These people, places, and things trigger you to start thinking about using—thus the name “triggers.”
Now, you can’t remove triggers entirely from your life, but you can take steps to avoid the most dangerous ones. This brings us to number one in our three ways to avoid relapse, and it is…
Avoid the people.
If you used to use with Johnny and Julie every weekend, well, guess what? You probably need to say goodbye to Johnny and Julie and make your weekend revolve around not seeing them. Go catch a movie, grab a coffee, go outside—just do something other than see the same friends that you used to use with.
Avoid the places.
This is another obvious one, but if you used to get high on the corner of Main and 2nd, don’t go to Main and 2nd! Heck, don’t even go downtown! Just change it up! Don’t drive by that bar! If you gamble, don’t go to the casino just to “get the atmosphere.” Treat those places like you’re going to get radiation poisoning if you go there. Don’t go near it, don’t drive by it—just stay away.
Avoid the things.
If you have a porn addiction, don’t put yourself in a position where you’re alone with an uncensored technology device. If you’re a food addict, don’t stock your pantry with junk and processed crap that’s only a step away. If you’re a former meth user, and having a wad of cash in your pocket makes you think about using, deposit that cash in a bank account; use your debit card.
Look, I know that these things seem kind of obvious, but you would be shocked at how many people in recovery—from whatever—struggle with making these simple changes. Well, why do they struggle? Because sometimes things can be really simple, but also really hard.
Triggers are powerful. They trigger us subconsciously, meaning we may not even be thinking about it, but our subconscious brain is moving us to use again. And that is what we have to avoid at all costs. So, figure out what your triggers—those people, places, and things—really are, and make plans to avoid them whenever possible.