During your recovery journey, you will discover triggers in your life that tempt you to use substances. This could be something or someone who you associate using a substance with, or an environment or situation that triggers an overwhelming emotional response. These triggers can be places, people, situations, or environments that bring up negative emotions, remind you of trauma, or remind you of your past substance use. Managing triggers can help you have a successful recovery.
It’s easy to avoid these triggers in the bubble of a treatment facility like Restoration Recovery Centers, where you are surrounded by support and understanding peers. However, once you complete the treatment program and go back to your everyday life, avoiding triggers may become more complicated. In some instances, you won’t be able to avoid them at all.
Managing Triggers in the Workplace
Learning how to manage your triggers in the workplace can be especially tricky because you are surrounded by people that likely don’t know you too well, but who you encounter daily. You have to figure out what you are and aren’t comfortable telling people about your recovery journey. Depending on the culture of your workplace, you may not feel comfortable with people knowing all of your triggers. You don’t have to tell anyone anything you don’t want to. This is your recovery, not theirs.
However, the more people understand about your recovery and your triggers, the more sensitive they will likely be toward them. For instance, if a person knows that slamming doors is a trauma trigger that will bring about urges to relapse, they are likely to be more conscientious about closing doors in the office quietly. However, not everyone will react this way, even if you are incredibly open about your recovery journey. This makes it important to develop your own coping mechanisms to deal with potentially triggering situations.
Learning to manage your triggers will prevent trauma from derailing your life. With the right coping mechanisms, you can manage your triggers so that you do not have to plan your life around them. Your triggers may never go away completely. However, with the right tools, you can be more in control of your emotional reaction to triggering situations. This will allow you to digest the trigger more quickly and move on with your day. You won’t have to pause your day to attend to your emotions and calm yourself down.
The more you practice managing negative emotions surrounding a trauma, the easier it will become. Depending on the circumstances, sometimes these tools will work better than others. Sometimes you’ll have to allow yourself to be overwhelmed by your emotions and accept that today might not be a productive day – and that it’s okay. Not every day has to be productive.
Trauma triggers can also make it difficult to socialize in and outside of the workplace. Remember that you never have to stay in a social situation you feel uncomfortable in. It’s always good to have an exit strategy. However, developing the skills to better manage triggers can mean learning how to put up boundaries that will protect you from discomfort and communicating your discomfort to others. Nobody can read minds. If your coworkers, friends, or family members don’t know a situation, subject, or environment makes you uncomfortable, then they won’t accommodate that need.
When you are able to share your recovery story with others, you open a pathway to create deeper connections with people. Being honest about your life will make people more willing to open up about theirs. Through an honest bond, a close connection can be formed. As a result, you can grow your community and your support network.
It’s Always Okay to Ask For Help
Restoration Recovery Centers always encourages clients to ask for help when they need it. A person should never be ashamed to ask for help. It is always okay to reach out to others when you don’t know what to do. No one should have to go through recovery on their own. Having a support network that consists of family, friends, community, and mental health professionals is important for a successful recovery.
Tools and Skills for Managing Triggers
A mental health professional can help you develop the tools and skills you need to better manage your emotional reaction to triggers. Some trigger coping skills might include:
- Grounding techniques
- Relaxation methods
- Exercising regularly
- Trying new activities
Some techniques you try might not work for you as well as others. The only way to find out what tools and skills work best for you is through trial and error. As you grow and change during your journey, you may have to learn new skills and readjust your coping technique. Remember to be patient with yourself. You’ll never be able to perfectly master avoiding all triggers, and that’s okay.
Learning how to manage your triggers can help you immensely on your recovery journey. The more you practice skills and tools that can help you manage distressing situations, the easier it will be to use them. Restoration Recovery Centers believes that trauma is at the center of addiction. We believe in taking the time to understand the complex human you are so we can create a treatment program that caters to your triggers, strengths, and overall recovery wants and needs. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, call (888) 290-0925 to learn how Restoration Recovery Centers can help you restore your life’s purpose and heal from addiction.