Coping with Triggers in Addiction

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When you’re recovering from addiction, certain triggers can cause cravings or uncomfortable feelings resulting in a potential relapse. If you’re not equipped with the proper coping mechanisms to handle these situations, you’ll be vulnerable to relapsing, which can set you back on your recovery journey. Knowing effective coping skills helps you remain diligent and prevents further substance misuse so you can improve your health and quality of life.

Below, you’ll learn about substance abuse triggers and coping skills to help prepare you for various situations you may encounter post-treatment.

The Importance of Coping Skills Post-Rehab

When a person goes through addiction recovery, they overcome the physical and psychological dependence on a substance. While physical dependence can disappear in a matter of weeks once the substance has entirely left the body, it often takes significantly longer to overcome the psychological effects of substances. A person may feel cravings well after their treatment has ended.

Addiction is a disease, and recovery is a lifelong process that requires diligence to overcome. Coping skills for recovering addicts play an essential part in preventing relapse and making the recovery process more rewarding and less challenging. At a rehabilitation facility, you’ll learn important coping skills for substance abuse outside of treatment.

7 Coping Skills for Being Around Substances

Once you’ve finished treatment, there’s a chance that you might encounter situations where substances are present, such as celebrations with alcohol or friends who still use drugs. These situations can trigger individuals who are in recovery, but there are coping skills you can use during these moments to maintain your sobriety. These coping skills for addiction include:

1. Relaxation Techniques

When you’re in a challenging situation, practicing relaxation techniques is essential to keep you grounded and focused on the present. The more you use relaxation techniques, the better you’ll handle stressful situations. Some methods you could try include breath work, yoga, spending time in nature, taking a walk or drinking herbal tea.

2. Mindfulness and Meditation

You can ground yourself in reality and induce a sense of calm when experiencing stressful emotions with mindfulness and meditation. If you’re around substances, take a moment to practice these techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, to ground yourself and positively process your feelings.

3. Waiting to Respond

If you’re in recovery and have found yourself in a situation where substances are present, it’s crucial to wait to respond rather than making an impulsive decision. Taking a moment to analyze your situation and ground yourself can prevent you from making rash decisions in stressful situations. You’ll be able to think more clearly, manage your emotions and make informed decisions that benefit your recovery.

4. Staying Busy

When you’re in a situation where people are using substances, keeping yourself occupied can help keep your mind off everything. Focus on building new skills and hobbies or spending time with friends and family. If you’re around people using substances, do things you enjoy and that will make you feel good while preventing substance use.

5. Exercising

Exercise releases endorphins and makes you feel good. If you’re in a situation where you’re around substances, take some time away to exercise. It’ll help clear your mind and reduce any potential cravings. You’ll also feel better physically and mentally, improving your long-term health.

6. Journaling

Writing is an excellent way to express your emotions and work through thoughts or cravings. When you’re in a situation where people are using substances, you can take a moment to write what you’re feeling and remind yourself why you’re dedicated to your recovery. Reading through previous journal entries can help give you perspective when facing a challenging situation.

7. Calling a Friend, Family Member or Sponsor

If you’re feeling particularly challenged, you can call a member of your support network for support. They can be there for you and get you out of the situation if need be. They can also help reinforce the importance of your sobriety and remind you of the progress you’ve made.

Coping Skills to Avoid Relapse

When you’re recovering from addiction, one of the things you have to be cautious about is the risk of relapse. Using healthy coping mechanisms can help you prevent relapse and sustain your recovery. Some of the coping mechanisms you can use include:

Talking With a Counselor

There are many challenges in the addiction recovery process. Talking with a trained counselor and attending individual therapy sessions can be an opportunity for you to talk about difficult emotions and find healthy outlets for handling these feelings. A counselor can listen to you and offer expert advice to help prevent a relapse.

Building a Support Network

A robust, sober support network is an essential part of the addiction recovery process. You can call on them when you’re feeling difficult emotions or feel like you’re going to relapse. They can help hold you accountable, remind you how important your recovery is and account for the progress you’ve made through the process.

Attending 12-Step Meetings

12-step programs can create a routine and help hold you accountable, preventing a potential relapse. You can talk about your concerns or vent your feelings to people who understand what you’re going through. You can also find lifelong connections and further build your support network. You’ll be able to offer help to those struggling and receive help when you’re experiencing your own challenges.

Maintaining Your Physical and Mental Health

Part of the recovery process involves improving your physical and psychological health. You’re less likely to rely on substances to handle stressful situations or uncomfortable emotions when you feel good. You can take care of your health by exercising, eating a healthy diet, treating underlying mental health conditions and participating in activities you enjoy.

Being Honest With Yourself and Others

If you’ve gone through substance addiction, you’ve likely become familiar with lying, whether it was to hide your substance abuse or the effect it was having on your health. When you’re in recovery, it’s essential to be honest with yourself and the people around you about your cravings and feelings. The more open you are, the more help you receive when experiencing challenges.

Learn Coping Skills at DreamLife Recovery

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, DreamLife Recovery is here to help. We use evidence-based practices to help you heal your physical, mental and spiritual health. We’ll teach you methods of coping with triggers in addiction and how to apply them as part of an aftercare plan to prevent relapse and improve your quality of life.

We’ll also help you identify the underlying cause of your addiction and personalize your treatment based on your individual needs. Our caring staff takes the time to get to know you so you can receive the best care possible. If you’re experiencing a relapse, our inpatient residential treatment program is the safest place to recover with medical supervision and round-the-clock care. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help your lead a successful life after treatment.