Beware Your Triggers
While you’re slogging it out in the trenches, fighting your own personal battle with something most people can’t and don’t understand, every day is a precarious knife’s edge where anything could set you off toward a relapse. (Especially early on in your recover!) In order to stay strong in your marathon challenge, it’s vitally important that you identify your triggers and build in safeguards against those sneaky devils.
Deciding to quit smoking or get clean is actually the easiest part. It’s a grand goal for some, however, and actually getting through the daily grind of saying NO! to cravings and passing on that delicious indulgence is much more difficult. So how do you combat these addiction triggers?
Make a List
Some triggers are obvious. Recovering alcoholics shouldn’t go to bars where their friends are drinking and having a good time, just as a heroin addict shouldn’t hang out in the same neighborhoods and with the same people that used to get him/her high. Other triggers are more subtle.
Your triggers could be a particular time of day (like when you normally take smoke breaks), certain people (like other drug users), or even activities that make you think of using. Be honest with yourself and keep an ongoing list of things you discover leading to cravings.
Find the Antidotes
Once you have a good strong list of triggers, you’ve identified the poisons. Now we just need to build defenses into your life for each one. In a column next to each trigger, we’re going to identify something you can do to minimize or negate it as soon as it rears its ugly head.
On your old smoke breaks, for example, you may commit to going for a walk and talking to a supportive friend. Or you get to play an addictive video game (instead of the usual cigarette). You can counter tempting situations with alternative situations and people. These should be ACTIONS you can take, not vague ideas.
For example, if one of my triggers for cocaine addiction is punk rock music (because that was my jam when I was snorting coke), then I won’t listen to it anymore. Instead, I’ll actively explore new music. Sometimes an antidote (or anti-drug) can be a person you call when you’re friends are inviting you to the bar, or it can be a food you’ll eat.
Just find something that will negate or combat the trigger and turn to it every time that trigger forces a craving down your throat.
You can go to war with addiction and in. Just identify the right weapons and shields.