How to Deal with Triggers

Identifying and Eliminating Triggers

How do you stop an addiction? Like any undesired behavior — such as anger, drinking, smoking, emotional eating or drug use,it’s important to know what causes the behavior you are trying to change. Identifying and eliminating these “triggers” increases your likelihood of successfully combating your addiction.

Emotional triggers are much like physical triggers — they cause an automatic response from the mind or body. A loud bang, for example — may cause you to jump and feel a rush of adrenaline. Similarly for addicts, triggers often cause an automatic thought or feeling that leads to drinking or drug use.

How do you reduce your exposure to the people or situations that trigger you addictive response?

Start by recording events that led to your drinking or drug use. Be sure to note what you were doing right before it happened.

1. First , you need to identify those triggers.

  • What were you thinking about?
  • Who were you around?
  • Where were you?
  • If you were with someone, what were you talking about?


2. Then, note your emotions

  • How did you feel when you gave in?
  • How about the next day?
  • What would you have done differently?


Motivation to Combat Your Urge and Your Triggers

After you determine the trigger that sparked your undesirable response — make a plan for next time to avoid the same situation, or if it is impossible to avoid, about what to do when faced with the urge again. Develop countering and coping statements to use when faced with the urge; for example, tell the urge to forget about gaining control — in any way you feel is necessary.

Then, quickly switch your focus away from the urge and onto some other thought. Keep handy quotes, photos and statements you can use as motivation to combat your urge and your triggers.

12 Keys Rehab can help you identify and create a plan to combat the people, places, habits or activities that trigger your addictive behaviors. Call today to speak with one of our caring professionals about beginning your new life free of alcohol or drugs.

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