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When it comes to addiction of any kind, there are various triggers that cause a person to seek out a specific behavior, such as using, drinking, food-related trauma, and or self-harm.  Sometimes it takes years before a person can get to the root of their troubles to acknowledge and process events such as childhood abuse, assault, or tragic loss. However, there are also known triggers, triggers that are more easily seen and understood. These triggers can look like everyday places such as restaurants with fancy drinks, bars, and clubs with upbeat music, concert venues, and even an old friend’s house. Let’s call these “known triggers” and explore what they are, how they become a trigger, and how to release the connection.

What Are Known Triggers, and How Do They Manifest?

Known triggers are people, places, and events that will spark the need to use. These aren’t the triggers that stem from repressed emotions or trauma. These triggers are created because of those repressions. They become triggers over time because they are the places you used and the people you used with. These are the corners of the earth where you hid from your problems and let addiction run free. And that’s okay. But when it comes to getting clean and sober, it means making significant changes.

Think about it this way: If your drug of choice is alcohol, you’d be playing Russian roulette walking back into your favorite bar after getting sober. If you loved club drugs, you’d be putting yourself in a precarious situation by attending your favorite nightclub to see your favorite DJ. If you struggled with meth use and fought your way to get clean, why would you want to return to the house where you used? When we read these words on the page, it seems crazy that anyone would dive right back in, but these thoughts aren’t coming from the clean and sober brain.

Most recovering addicts want to return to a sense of normalcy. They trick themselves into thinking they can go back to the same life they had before they got clean and sober, however, this is not rationality speaking. This type of narrative is the addiction talking to you, reminding you it’s there, and that it wants to come out and play. And if we give in to this voice even once, we increase our chances of relapse times ten.

Making a List and Checking It Twice

The best way to battle addiction and relapse is to be prepared, and being prepared means having an honest conversation with ourselves regarding our known triggers. Here are some questions to help get you started:

  • Where did I use/drink, and can I avoid these places?
  • At concerts, did I enjoy the music, or did I enjoy altering my state of mind?
  • What does my relationship with (insert person, place, or thing here) look like with and without substance?
  • Is there a person or place in my life that would cause an immediate need to use?

There are myriad questions we can ask when it comes to finding our known triggers. You’re encouraged to start with these questions and pull the threads that present themselves. The more information you can find in your heart, the easier it’s going to be to avoid certain scenarios and keep you from relapsing. But the bottom line here is honesty. If you want to get clean and sober and stay that way, you must be honest with yourself. No one can do that for you.

Releasing Known Triggers

Many people in recovery ask if they can return to certain venues or keep their close friends, and honestly, the answer is unclear. There are some people out there who learn how to process their trauma and have no problem sitting at a bar with friends drinking a ginger ale. There are some people who can never set foot in a bar again due to the depth of their addiction. Some people will return to concert venues years later and have one beer, while others will avoid a certain genre of music indefinitely. The answer here goes back to the honest self-talk conversation. Only you know what’s right for you, and the question should only be answered after years of treatment, therapy, and self-work.

You are the only person who can clearly and confidently define your triggers and your boundaries, and at the end of the day, you cannot compare your journey to anyone else’s. You can listen to the advice, you can learn about different types of coping mechanisms, but only you know what your mind, body, and soul need to remain healthy, happy, and free form addiction’s control.

Everyone is different which means everyone’s path to recovery will look different. If you or someone you know needs help with honest self-talk and boundaries when it comes to addiction, reach out to Summer House Detox in South Florida. In the holistic business of helping addicts get clean and sober for almost twenty years, Summer House offers a step-down detox program in West Palm Beach where comfort is their number one priority. If you’re looking for help, this is your sign. Call today to learn about treatment options: (800) 719-1090. You can also visit us at 13550 Memorial Highway Miami, FL 33161. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.