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Identifying Triggers: How to Recognize and Manage the Cues That Lead to Drinking

Identifying Triggers: How to Recognize and Manage the Cues That Lead to Drinking

What To Know

  • This can be as simple as passing a bottle shop or bar on your way home, or even the time of day or week.
  • For example, if you constantly think about how much you miss drinking, or you focus too much on the negative aspects of your life, you could be at risk for an attention-allocating trigger.

For individuals who are trying to recover from alcohol addiction, identifying triggers can be a major challenge. 

Triggers can cause an overwhelming craving for alcohol and lead to relapse. However, with the right knowledge and tools, individuals can learn to recognize and manage their triggers, thus reducing their risk of relapse.

I’ve talked about triggers before, but in this article, we will discuss them in detail, and provide some actionable advice on how to manage them. 

Identifying Triggers: Perceived Opportunity Triggers

Perceived opportunity triggers are those where your body sees or senses an opportunity to relapse, which are generally followed by intense cravings. 

This can be as simple as passing a bottle shop or bar on your way home, or even the time of day or week. For example, if you used to drink on Fridays after work, the time and day could be a trigger for you.

Managing Perceived Opportunity Triggers

To manage perceived opportunity triggers, it’s important to have a plan in place. For example, if passing a bar on your way home is a trigger, consider taking a different route. If the time and day are triggers for you, plan to do something else during that time, like going to a meeting or spending time with friends.

Identifying Triggers: Attention Allocating Triggers

Identifying triggers that are Attention-allocating involves the amount of mental allocation or brainpower one puts into thinking about the addiction, which can bring on an overwhelming craving. This can reduce our self-control, and thus, increase our risk for relapse. 

For example, if you constantly think about how much you miss drinking, or you focus too much on the negative aspects of your life, you could be at risk for an attention-allocating trigger.

Managing Attention Allocating Triggers

To manage attention-allocating triggers, it’s important to practice mindfulness and be aware of your thoughts. If you find yourself constantly thinking about alcohol, try to redirect your thoughts to something positive, like a hobby or activity you enjoy.

 This can help you shift your attention away from your addiction and towards something that brings you joy.

Establishing some core foundational habits can be key for this trigger, more on this topic here.

Identifying Triggers: Stress Triggers

Daily stress can be a major trigger for individuals in recovery. Identifying triggers that are stress-related can reduce one’s concentration and judgment, bringing about an increased risk of impulse, leading to a poor choice being made. 

For example, if you have a stressful job, you may be more likely to crave alcohol as a way to cope with the stress.

Managing Stress Triggers

This one seems like a no-brainer but it is often one of the biggest triggers that cause people to relapse. This is because stress these days is so prevalent. 

To manage stress triggers, it’s important to practice stress-management techniques, like exercise, meditation, or deep breathing. You can also seek professional help, like counselling or therapy, to learn how to manage stress in a healthy way.

Learn more about Alcohol Addiction and Stress and it’s Impact On Early Sobriety.

Identifying Triggers: Priming Triggers

Identifying triggers known as priming triggers occurs when an individual deeply believes they can now control themselves at this one time. 

This is usually when a former drinker goes six to eight months and attempts to resume occasional drinking in hopes that their addiction is gone, and it isn’t. This sort of activity begins to re-prime the craving pathway, which is why it’s called a “priming” trigger.

Managing Priming Triggers

This one is often the major culprit in people with extended sobriety, as the illusion of having an addiction wears off.

To manage priming triggers, it’s important to recognize that addiction is a chronic disease and that sobriety is a lifelong commitment. It’s crucial to understand that even one drink can re-activate the addiction pathway in your brain, leading to a full-blown relapse.

Frequently Asked Questions on Identifying Triggers

What are Perceived Opportunity Triggers in Alcohol Addiction Recovery?

Perceived Opportunity Triggers in alcohol addiction recovery refer to situations or environments that create an opportunity for relapse, often followed by intense cravings. These triggers can be as simple as passing a bar or bottle shop, or specific times and days associated with previous drinking habits, like Friday evenings after work. Recognising these triggers is crucial for managing the risk of relapse.

How Can Attention Allocating Triggers Be Managed in Alcohol Recovery?

Managing Attention Allocating Triggers involves being mindful of thoughts and redirecting focus away from alcohol. These triggers occur when too much mental energy is spent thinking about alcohol or the negative aspects of life, increasing the risk of relapse. To manage them, individuals should engage in positive activities or hobbies and practice mindfulness to shift attention away from addiction.

What are Priming Triggers and How Should They be Handled?

Priming Triggers in alcohol recovery are identified when an individual, often after a period of sobriety, mistakenly believes they can control their drinking. This usually happens after six to eight months of sobriety, leading to an attempt at occasional drinking, which reactivates the addiction pathway. To handle these triggers, it’s important to acknowledge that addiction is a chronic disease and that even one drink can lead to a full-blown relapse.

How Should Stress Triggers be Managed in the Context of Alcohol Addiction Recovery?

To effectively manage these triggers, individuals should adopt stress-management techniques such as exercise, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. Additionally, seeking professional help like counseling or therapy can provide effective strategies for coping with stress in a healthy manner.

The Takeaway

identifying and managing triggers is essential for individuals in recovery from alcohol addiction. 

By understanding the different types of triggers and having a plan in place to manage them, individuals can reduce their risk of relapse and maintain sobriety. Remember, recovery is a journey, and it’s important to seek help and support when needed. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, there is help available. Reach out to alcohol addiction treatment centres or groups like AA for support and guidance.

If you have any feedback regarding this article, reach out. Help Clarity reach more people and quit addiction by following us on Instagram, it’s also the perfect place to message us and ask questions!

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