Triggers are typically people, places or things that if you’re not careful, can lead to a “slip” or a “relapse”, which is the act of using heroin, opiates or another drug of choice. A “slip” is typically a one time thing whereas a “relapse” is typically an ongoing awakening of addiction and drug use. Learn more about a relapse vs. a slip. Triggers can be usually be avoided / eliminated by developing new routines or changing old ones. It’s the elimination or minimization of putting yourself in situations with people, places and things that could lead to heroin or drug use. Knowing and Avoiding triggers during heroin addiction treatment is crucial.
Triggers Can Be People
Those living in active addiction typically hang out with and use heroin with others. Many use heroin because they are trying to fill a void, some kind of emptiness in their heart. Finding people to use with is very common because it provides a sense of community and belonging even though it’s a farce. While these people may be really good and authentic friends when they are in recovery, those suffering from addiction are typically interested in only one thing and will lie, manipulate and steal to get it. Heroin rules their life and if they have to step on you to obtain their next fix, most won’t even hesitate. Avoiding or cutting people off may be one of the most difficult parts of recovery, but it’s necessary for your own health and wellbeing.
Triggers Can Be Places
We can consciously or subconsciously associate places with heroin use. For instance, public restrooms in certain restaurants were “place triggers” for me because I would always end up leaving the table in the middle of a good meal or conversation just to indulge in more heroin use. So when I first entered into recovery, public bathrooms were a real trigger for me. Thankfully, I didn’t carry any heroin on my person anymore so I couldn’t just use even if I wanted to. However, the thoughts of going to acquire heroin or even contacting one of my dealers flooded my brain. Thankfully, I resisted and today, this is no longer a struggle for me. While, it’s hard to avoid public bathrooms altogether, in the beginning phases of recovery, it’s probably better to avoid restaurants I’ve used in altogether. But that’s just one example. Overall, it’s best to avoid places where heroin can be acquired and places that strongly create thoughts of heroin use.
Triggers Can Be Things
Things can be both tangible and intangible, touchable and non-touchable. Examples of tangible “thing triggers” can be cars you used in, couches you’ve sat on while you were high, paraphernalia related to heroin or opiate use, desks that have held the paraphernalia, etc. Intangible examples of “thing triggers” include smells that you may associate with heroin use or going to “cop” or acquire it, music that remind you of heroin using days, etc. One trigger for me was the unique but new car smell in my jeep. I drove my jeep almost daily to Kensington in order to acquire enough heroin to last me for a couple of days, which sadly was several bundles. To eliminate that trigger, I had the car detailed and it now has a different smell. However, for awhile I just dealt with the smell and when a thought of using heroin came in, I quickly pushed it out.
How to Prevent Triggers From Turning Into Relapse
Avoiding people, places and things that put thoughts of using into your head is the best way. Cutting people off is hard, but it’s often necessary for your own wellbeing and recovery. If a particular individual is still using and you used to use with them, cutting them off is also the loving thing to do for them as well, simply because you are most likely a trigger for them as well. We understand that not everything and everyone can be avoided, but minimizing as many triggers as you can is good. You are encouraged not to socialize or “hang out” with anyone who is actively using. They may promise not to use in front of you, but they will most likely be “high” in your presence which may be a trigger in itself.
Personally, I may speak or get together with someone who is using in order to help them because that’s part of what I do. However, I will never get together with them socially until they are in recovery. I am personally strong in my recovery however, superman doesn’t exist. Thus, it’s better to avoid triggers if possible. And if you can’t avoid them entirely, have a plan. This may include bringing supportive people with you to help keep you accountable. It may be to have an escape route planned if being around a particular person you HAVE to be around is becoming too much for you.
o your best to avoid them. Create a list if that’s helpful to you, but don’t do it if you feel that in itself will be a trigger for you.
To discuss triggers or any aspects of addiction and recovery, visit our free online Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact us. See also treatment centers and programs we recommend.
Peace and Love,
William – Publisher and Founder of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™
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