Once you’ve gotten out of a drug treatment center, chances are you’ll run into some things that trigger you to want to use again. Triggers are things, people, or thoughts that cause you to think about drinking or using drugs again. In the beginning of your recovery, they can be quite strong and if you don’t know how to contend with them, your chances of relapsing are higher.
For example, if you happen to attend a party and see other people drinking, that could be a trigger for you. The sight and smell of alcohol could cause you to want to drink again, which won’t serve you any good. For this reason, it would be a wise choice to avoid places where people are drinking.
What are common triggers?
Each person has different triggers, as what may trigger you might not trigger another person. While in a drug treatment center, you most likely created a relapse prevention plan that listed what your triggers are. If not, it is a good idea to sit down and make a list of the people, places, and things that trigger you to want to reach for alcohol or a drug.
Common triggers include:
- People that you used to party or use drugs with
- Bars and/or restaurants
- Certain holidays
- The ABC store
- Seeing the liquor isle in the grocery store
- Fights with the spouse/partner
- Movies that have drug or alcohol use going on
How to combat triggers
While in drug rehab you most likely did not encounter many triggers, but once you get back to your regular life, you will face them regularly. Combatting them requires some wisdom and insight. If you’re seeing a counselor or if you have a 12 Step group sponsor, sit down with him/her and discuss ways you can combat your triggers. Maybe you can avoid driving through the part of town that has your favorite party places. Or perhaps you can make some new friends and let the old, partying friends go.
Calling your sponsor or trusted friend when you’re feeling triggered is a great way to combat triggers. Just be honest and say that you feel like drinking or using drugs and ask them to help you. Maybe you could get together until the feelings pass or maybe the phone call alone will be enough. The key is to reach out for help when you need to.
To continue on in your recovery after drug rehab, here are 10 things to do once you complete treatment:
Consider attending a support group.
It’s important for continued success in your recovery to have a positive support network surrounding you after drug rehab. Consider attending a support group like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous, so you can continue to learn about the disease of addiction and have accountability. You’ll also be able to meet peers who are in the same shoes as you, and this can help you feel less alone.
Get a counselor
You may benefit from attending counseling for a season after your drug treatment center stay. Many times, once an addict stops using his or her drug of choice, various emotions pop up and it can be challenging to feel them and work through them on your own. Seeing a professional counselor can help you process and heal old wounds, and learn some effective coping techniques for challenging times.
Surround yourself with friends
Once you finish drug rehab, it’s a great time to make some new friends that will add value to your life. You may have to give up your old party friends, as oftentimes that can be a trigger for you to relapse. You may be able to find such friends in a support group, or get involved with others in the community where you have the same interest.
Take care of yourself
Chances are before your drug treatment center stay, there were times when you didn’t take the best care of yourself. Now that you’re in recovery, it’s time to make wonderful investments in your well-being. This means adopting a healthier eating lifestyle, tending to your personal hygiene needs, getting adequate sleep, and taking steps to keep yourself inspired and motivated.
Move if necessary
If your current neighborhood serves as a huge trigger for using alcohol or drugs, you may consider moving to a new neighborhood. If you’re surrounded by drug activity or people who party all the time, that’s a really big temptation to start using again. Do whatever it takes to find yourself a new neighborhood that will be a better influence.
Make follow-up appointments
Whether it’s a substance abuse professional, primary doctor, psychiatrist, clergy, or other medical professional, be sure to stay on top of follow-up appointments. Recovery is a long-term process, so it will suit you well too continue to see those professionals regularly – especially for early recovery.
Remember your relapse prevention plan
Hopefully, during your drug treatment center stay, you created a relapse prevention plan. This plan helped you identify your triggers and listed ways that you could avoid them. Make sure that you keep this prevention plan handy, and follow through with the steps necessary to avoid things or people that would trigger you to pick up a drink or drug.
Invest in your mental health
When you feel stable emotionally and mentally, you’re less apt to relapse. Invest in your mental health by continuing to educate yourself on the disease of addiction and inspiring yourself in whatever way works for you. For some people, investing in themselves mentally will mean seeing a counselor. For others, it may be attending meetings, workshops, reading books, or watching insightful and educational videos. You may also benefit from having a mentor or life coach.
Those that volunteer and help others tend to feel better about themselves. When it comes to recovery from the disease of addiction, it helps when you can give away what you have. If you have sobriety, you can always encourage others who are struggling with addiction by sharing your story. Once you have a certain amount of clean time, you can sponsor other people in recovery 12 step meetings. Giving back is a great way to keep what you have received.
Never give up
Adopt the attitude that no matter what happens, you’ll never give up! Life may throw some curve balls at you, but you have the choice to keep swinging no matter how many times you miss. Never give up!
You’re never alone on your recovery journey, so if you ever find you need some help, simply reach out to the many people willing to help. You can have the life you’ve been dreaming about. Follow these tips once you’re out of drug rehab and you’ll be well on your way to experiencing such a life.