Overcoming alcohol use disorder can be incredibly difficult. But, having support and guidance throughout your recovery journey is crucial to your success. One of the most important areas to receive guidance is the topic of relapse. More specifically, it is vital to learn about what causes relapse and how to avoid resorting back to alcohol misuse. Learning about common alcoholic triggers and the common causes of relapse can make all the difference in your journey to recovery. Even after completing rehab for alcoholism, you can stay on track.
What Are Alcoholic Triggers?
Alcoholic triggers are things that make recovering individuals want to drink again. Any object, person, place, or situation that reminds a person of alcohol use and may lead them to desire alcohol may be a trigger.
Triggers develop when the brain makes a connection between them and alcohol. Again, they can come in many physical forms, such as the previously mentioned types. However, triggers do not have to be tangible. Some triggers are emotions and states of mind.
Most Common Alcoholic Triggers
Not everyone who is recovering from alcohol use disorder will have the same triggers. Different experiences and unique personal histories with alcohol can lead to the development of very specific and individualized triggers. Still, there are types of situations and occurrences that can act as common triggers for those recovering from alcoholism. Triggers can come in the following forms:
- Environmental triggers (i.e. places, events, etc.)
- Human triggers (i.e. friends, family members, and other people)
- Social triggers (i.e. unhealthy relationships, family changes, etc.)
- A.L.T. (i.e. emotions and feelings)
Knowing more about these types of triggers can help equip you for a successful recovery.
Your surroundings can influence you tremendously. While some environments can have a positive impact on you, certain atmospheres can actually trigger negative and harmful behaviors. Environmental triggers can cause relapse to occur.
Of course, triggers are different for everyone. But some examples of environmental alcoholic triggers might include sports events or particular places and settings. People may be tempted to consume alcohol while at Super Bowl parties or out bowling with friends. Often, such events are paired with alcohol use. But, these can be dangerous settings for those who are recovering from alcohol abuse.
Some people may have difficulty avoiding relapse at home due to family members drinking. For others, certain cities, states, or buildings may trigger thoughts of using alcohol. For example, being in a city where you used to drink may cause you to consider drinking again.
A person’s home environment may also be triggering if they live with an abusive individual. If verbal, physical, or emotional abuse is present in the home, this can certainly be triggering for those who are recovering from addiction.
Some people may be triggered by other individuals. Being around people who drink excessively can be problematic. Also, spending time with people with whom you used to drink alcohol can lead to relapse.
In some cases, family members and friends who mean well can still be triggers. They may speak about alcohol, consume it in front of you, or bring up your past struggle with alcoholism in casual conversation. These can certainly cause issues to arise.
Pressure to use alcohol can come from one’s social life. Alcohol is usually available at social gatherings. Birthday parties, family gatherings, holiday parties, work events, and other social assemblages all typically involve alcoholic beverages. As such, social events are likely alcoholic triggers.
Also, drug abuse and alcohol use are so incredibly present in social media, movies, and TV shows. As a result, entertainment can prove to be quite triggering for people who are recovering from substance use disorders.
In addition to social events and media, social problems can be triggers for recovering alcoholics. Individuals who are recovering from addiction often have trouble building or maintaining interpersonal relationships. They may struggle to have healthy relationships with their family members. Or, they may have difficulty becoming romantically involved with others. These issues can be triggers for those who are working to recover from alcohol use disorder.
H.A.L.T - Hunger, Anger, Loneliness, Tiredness
Believe it or not, natural emotions and feelings can be triggers for alcoholism. Everyone experiences hunger. Anger is also a natural emotion that everyone tends to feel from time to time. Most people experience feelings of loneliness here and there. Tiredness is inevitable. Still, these very natural occurrences can be triggering while in recovery.
While a person certainly can’t avoid feeling these emotions and discomforts, it is important to know how to address them. The brain of a recovering alcoholic can associate overall discomfort with a solution from the past: drinking. Since the brain learned to depend on alcohol when challenges arose in the past, it will likely revert to this idea when discomfort is present. So, hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness can definitely trigger thoughts of drinking. But, preventing these feelings from leading to relapse is crucial to a successful recovery.
Combating Alcoholic Triggers
Encountering triggers while in recovery from addiction is normal. It is nearly impossible to avoid. However, once you identify what your triggers are, it is important to develop a plan for addressing them or removing them from your life. This can be challenging to do, but it is undeniably critical to your recovery. Learning how to combat alcoholic triggers will help you maintain the freedom you worked so hard to obtain.
As previously stated, there are many different types of triggers. As such, the best ways to deal with triggers will vary. Still, it may be helpful to have some general tips and ideas for addressing and combating triggers as you strive to avoid relapse.
Addressing Environmental Triggers
If you live in an unhealthy home, it is important for you to relocate. If there’s any kind of physical, emotional, or mental abuse or any sort of substance misuse, you should get out of that living situation.
Having a peaceful, healthy, and happy living environment is essential to your overall well-being. It is also crucial to a successful recovery.
Dealing With Human Triggers
If there are human triggers in your life, addressing this issue might be very challenging. You’ll need to analyze your relationships with these individuals. Then, you’ll have to determine whether or not you should continue being around them.
Human triggers can come in various forms: an old drinking buddy, a family member who drinks excessively, or maybe a friend who doesn’t support your recovery journey. You will need to figure out whether or not you want them in your life. In most cases, it’s best to distance yourself from such individuals.
Fighting Social Triggers
Media can be very triggering for those in recovery. So, it may be time to log off social media. Perhaps, you should limit how much time you spend watching movies or tuning into the news.
Also, be very careful about where you hang out and who you hang with. Choose to spend time with people who support your recovery, not just in words but in deeds. In other words, you’ll want to avoid people who say they support you but continue to abuse drugs or alcohol in your presence or don’t understand the importance of helping you avoid triggers.
At some point, you will feel hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. But, when these feelings arise, you’ll need to be prepared. Combat boredom by finding a healthy hobby. When you are hungry, eat nutritious foods that increase your energy and improve your mood.
If you get angry, practice calming methods, speak with a friend, or spend some time in self-reflection. If you start to feel lonely, phone a comrade from group therapy or speak with a helpful family member. Combat triggering tiredness by getting enough sleep.
It all boils down to taking care of yourself. Do your best to look after yourself, address your needs, and surround yourself with people who will help you in this way.
Let Chapters Recovery Help You Overcome Alcoholism
Here at Chapters Recovery Center, we are committed to helping our clients work through their addiction-related challenges. So, if you have been struggling to end alcohol abuse in your life, we are here to help you. There is nothing more important to us than your success.
Located in Danvers, Massachusetts, our addiction rehab facility offers a variety of treatment services and programs. This means we can provide you with an individualized plan to assist you in recovery. Rest assured, our professional and compassionate staff members understand the unique challenges that come with addiction. We know that substance use disorders affect people in different ways. This is why we strive to create an environment where people can get the right care for their specific needs.
At Chapters, we offer the following services:
- Drug and alcohol intervention
- Drug detoxification program
- Inpatient treatment
- Partial hospitalization program
- Intensive outpatient program
- Traditional outpatient program
- Sober living program
In addition to our addiction treatment programs, we offer various types of therapeutic approaches. Individuals at our treatment center can benefit from individual therapy, group counseling, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and more.
We believe that everyone who suffers from addiction deserves a chance. Each person deserves to have someone who supports and believes in them. This is why we’re here. At Chapters Recovery Center, you’ll have a team in your corner, encouraging you to push forward and guiding you as you overcome alcoholism.
Whether you’ve been in treatment before and relapsed or this is your first time entering rehab, you’re in good hands here. Allow our knowledgeable team of addiction treatment specialists to help you today. Let this be the moment you choose to break free from your past and pursue liberty. If you want to receive alcohol rehab in Massachusetts, contact us.