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What are triggers, and how do I avoid them?

May 6, 2018

A trigger is something that gives you a strong desire to use drugs or alcohol. It might be a place, emotion, situation, thought, person or object. Everyone’s triggers are different, and identifying them is an important tool in preventing relapse.

A trigger might be emotional – when you are feeling bored, stressed or overwhelmed, you might have the urge to use, for example. In this case, it’s a good idea to look for alternative methods of coping with these emotions, such as writing in a journal, going for a walk, or getting some exercise. It could also be something that brings back memories of your time using. If, for example, you pass a pub where you used to drink every day on the way home, you might want to start taking a different route. Talk with your therapist, counsellor or support group about your personal triggers. Making a list in a notebook can help, too.

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