Understanding Your Triggers
Sweet summertime — where the days are full of late nights, friendly gatherings, family barbeques, music festivals, and all the like. But those months of extra sunshine are also often accompanied by triggers that could lead to relapse.
Recovery is a lifelong journey, and avoiding relapse triggers may be one of the hardest aspects to navigate after completing treatment. There are a number of warning signs to look for before a relapse occurs. One of the critical components to preventing relapse is to know and understand your triggers.
A trigger is a person, place, or thing that leads to cravings or physical substance use. Triggers can be found in specific situations, songs, or even smells. They often cause an overwhelming amount of emotion that may feel impossible to manage in the moment.
How to Avoid the Most Common Triggers
Boredom is one of the most common triggers that lead to relapse. It is easy for boredom to increase during the summer months because there are fewer responsibilities and more freedom. That is why it is essential to combat this trigger by keeping busy!
Summer is the perfect time to spend quality time with supportive friends and family. You can plan picnics, volunteer at your local animal shelter, or even start a new project. There are so many positive activities that can be done to fill your free time and avoid having too much idle time.
Stick to a Routine
For many, the summertime comes with more free time and less daily structure. However, having a daily routine is pertinent to avoid participating in self-destructive behaviors. Having a set schedule also provides a sense of accountability for accomplishing everything necessary in a single day.
Hang Out with the Right Crowd
Summer activities may provide new opportunities to meet new people. These new people may not be aware of your addiction recovery journey and tempt you by offering you alcohol or drugs.
Who you surround yourself with can have a direct impact on the success of your recovery. Hanging out with people who use and abuse drugs and alcohol can put your sobriety at risk.
Surround yourself with the people in your life who are healthy, supportive, and wish to see you healthy and happy. It is also encouraging to make friends with like-minded people who may be going through a similar situation.
Spending time with sober friends will make it easier to avoid any temptation.
Skip the Summer Parties
Your friends are getting together and want you to join them, but you know there will be alcohol at the party. It is okay to say no when you feel uncomfortable! Not only is it okay, but it is also in your best interest not to be there, so you do not have to be put in the position of resisting the urge to use again.
There are so many other fun activities that can be done during the summer, without any temptation. Instead of going to that party with your friends, try these:
- Plan a quick getaway with a friend
- Start a house project
- Try a new hobby like rollerblading, hiking, reading, or horseback riding
- Focus on exercise and nutrition
- Give back to your community and volunteer at a nonprofit
If You Relapse
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, nearly 40 to 60% of people will relapse while in recovery. Relapse occurs in three phases and actually begins far before physically using your substance of choice.
Avoiding relapse may be one of the most challenging parts of your journey. People who relapse often feel emotions surrounding shame and embarrassment. That is why Decision Point Center offers a relapse prevention program.