Aa
A
A
A
Close
Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
32.1k Members
Avatar universal

lets talk about triggers to use

HI EVERYONE today I was pondering over triggers and the importance of knowing what yours are....
trigger are the beginning of cravings for most of us and often lead to relapse...it is critical to learn what your triggers are and what to do with them when they occur...I am no expert by any means but I do see a substance abuse conslor once a week to help me wth my recovery and I will share some of what he has tought me...
first off let me tell you about some of my triggers so you get the idea of what I am trying to explain...
im 174 days clean and sober off methadone and the pills yet even after 6 1/2 yr of methadone "PAIN"
is a big trigger to use/abuse pills ...when I throw my back out one of the first things I get hit with is cravings
for pills...not just a pill but cravings for 1/2 a dozen at once...my mind runs wild with the thought of "if I just had a handful of pills I could make the pain stop...I share multiple addictions im clean and sober from pot and alcohol for 5 yrs this last march...but yet there are still 'TRIGGERS'  out there that haunt me...for 1 I have to avoid the liqueur isle in drug stores and supper markets because when I see whiskey bottles the color of the liquid in them makes my mouth water....you wouldn't think after 5 yrs that it would still affect me in this way but it does so I avoid those isles in the stores ....I live in phoenix az and the weather is mild most of the year...I drive around with my windows down in the car...every once in a wile ill smell some "really good stuff " not just your run of the mill refer but that "killer bud" that causes me to crave ....again one of my triggers....so what do we do with this when it happens to us...?? the first thing is captivate your thoughts...nip it in the bud so to speak...ask yourself is this rational thinking??...or is it the addict in me rearing its ugly head....first its a thought ...then it becomes an obsession..if not stoped it could very well become an action..we all need to learn what are triggers are so where on guard ageist them...for me it could be a simple as walking around the liqueur section in the grocery store or as complex as having to deal with real life "stinking thinking" about craving pills because of back pain...a few tricks I have learned that help me ...for 1 I have learned to not obsess over anything if I start off with wrong dangerous thinking I rationalize and try and nip it in the bud b/4 it gets any farther ...if this dont work and it progress into bad cravings I have learned over time that cravings usually only last briefly for me ....usually less the a 1/2hr if I was actually time it...its only a problem if I start to obsess on it....ok ive started to obsess even though I have tried not to...now is where your aftercare becomes critical...you need to call someone....although my conslor and I meet only once a week he makes himself available 24/7 if I need to talk I can get in touch with him...I value my sobriety very much so I have back ups I can call on...I have a list of several people I can go to if things start to get out of hand..I have had to make more then a few phone call in the past....it is vital that you have these go to people out there N/A and A/A are good places to meet people that can help...a good sponsor can be a life saver...now lets all jump on the band wagon and list some of our "TRIGGERS" and some of our copping skills so that we can all learn for one another...good luck and God bless.......your friend and fellow addict...Gnarly                  
30 Responses
1202033 tn?1273771354
Well i know Vicki vacuums, lol! I will have to really think on this one gnarly, but you have given me some good ol' homework. I will let you know. Well actually, ive got something here. One of my biggest triggers is feeling like i dont have enough support. My therapist taught me to first recognize why i am feeling like this, which has a lot to do with my past and then to do whatever i need to do to reinforce to myself that i have the support i need. This usually just involves talking with my husband. That man, bless his heart, has really gotten me through some bad ones!! This is a great post and really gives me something to ponder. Thanks gnarly! God Bless.

Luv, Jacky
1253584 tn?1332877954
What my triggers r?  Hmmm....... Well I think I just ran into a bunch the other night. I'm a server @ a nice restauraunt and , u know the restauraunt buiz, everywhere I turned people I work with were either talkin bout pills r talking bout how they were feeling on pills. It's been two years at the clinic and thought I was good and nevr had a trigger til the other nite. So when I thought even for a sec that they were talking bout pills I avoid the situation. It kinda helped. But at the same time I know if I don't have those experiences I won't ever know what to do. Like 2 hear what everyone would do in my situation?   Ne good advice? Nice post gnarly! It really got me thinking!
Avatar universal
I really don't have triggers or cravings per se'.  What I have are thoughts/memories of how different life was "then"  :   I felt happy a lot, i accomplished a lot, nothing was ever mundane,I was ambitious...   But,do I ever want to go back? No!  I really don't want to think about it,so,yes, I VACUUM !  Clears the thoughts. I,also, do this when I'm irritated.
It works great for me.    I,also,remind myself of how bad the abuse got and how sick I became toward the end.  YUK !!!
I do know about triggers. Many years ago I underwent 6 mos. of chemotherapy. To this day,I cannot go by that facility without wanting to puke!  I just can't do it and I avoid it at all costs.  
Anyway,life is good,I feel so much better and healthier and I truly am happy.

Vicki  xo
1202033 tn?1273771354
You are such an inspiration to me Vicki and i love you to peices! I meant that in the most affectionate way possible!

Luv, Jacky
1253584 tn?1332877954
Here's a list a made recently about what to do when get cravings......

-clean
-exercise
-walk my dog
-pray
-do word puzzles
-read a book
-draw in my sketch book
-watch movies/tv shows
-edit my videos
-surf the web

basically anything that will keep my mind occupied. It helps !!
1202033 tn?1273771354
Great list ang! We should all keep a few those handy for ourselves!!
1253584 tn?1332877954
Thanks cleanmom if u have nemore u think of letme know. This hasbeen one of the most helpful threads I've been on
Avatar universal
Hey bud its took me13yrs tofigure out my triggers (here i go )

1The guilt,giving my wife H, My family finding outabout my H addition, I feel i have emmbaressed them, there from i was a junky a junky uses one of my fav excuses  to use they expected me to use H so i did but thats what the expeted me to do soi thughtthatswhat theywanted met do
2 when i feel in under preasure i used to try the easy way ( numd it )
3 meeting lld friends having to much time on my hands. now i do housewrk the garden walk the dog exerise anything to take my mind of drugsmost of all i use my head i could not g through the w/ds i keep thinking im ging t die, It sares me iv been through them lots of times but the last two have been the wrst. I wont be going through c/t ever again this guy has learened his lesson the hard way.....James
GREAT PSR GNARLY
495284 tn?1333894042
COMMUNITY LEADER
It is hard for me to see some of the old people i hung out with come in all jacked up on pills.  I dont wait on them and my co workers always help me out.  Air freshners for cars also will get to me at times and it will take me back to my using days.  I also avoid pharmacies as much as i can as it makes my mouth water just seeing those bottles.  If i do have to go to one of them i bring someone along with me otherwise i wouldnt actually be able to go thru with it.  Its like i just freeze up.  I guess when i really think about this it is the smells that get to me the most, shampoos that i used while using, lotions, etc.  This was a good post gnarly and you really have me thinking now!!!         sara
902989 tn?1262960576
TRIGGERS
TRIGGERS are on guns and when they are squeezed they discharge depending on where there pointed there going to cause some major damage.
I have a sister that decided to pull the trigger.
I guess I don’t care much for the word trigger
I have to focus on recovery all the time I can't entertain those thoughts or triggers I have given up my right to self medicate or use.
For me a trigger is putting that gun to my head and squeezing the trigger that’s what triggers are to me.
Nothing more than mental suicide.. Thanks for getting me to thinking about triggers. God Bless and Give Peace a Chance, Mikchez
1202033 tn?1273771354
Sarah, your response really got me thinking, with the smells. I have that same problem with the smells and with music tool. Songs that were on or that played a lot on the radio when i was using. Its like really bad emotional flashbacks, like my senses have memories all their own.........
495284 tn?1333894042
COMMUNITY LEADER
Music can be a reminder more than a trigger for me as my music is such a big part of my life i find it more healing than anything.  Thank God music doesnt have a smell.  
496208 tn?1271339076
Since I've recently relapsed and am just 7 days w/o opiates, I've had tons of triggers this weekend.  But by the grace of God and several new friends here, I'm hangin' on.

I'm like Vicki.  This weekend I experienced a little more energy than the past couple of days, and everything is turning green and I felt the best I've felt in days and I wanted to   clean and cook something really nice for my family.  IMMEDIATELY after I had those thoughts I wanted a couple of pills.  My experience cleaning and cooking was always so much more enjoyable after several.  

I'm taking amino acids and vitamins.  WHENEVER I swallow those, the anticipation of the buzz pops into my mind.  It's crazy.  Because towards the end, I was so sick and the buzz was sooo small, but each time I took them I anticipated the feeling I'd hope I'd get.

I know I don't want to take them anymore and the insanity is romancing the high I used to get while on them.  

Thanks for the post Gnarly.  
1091472 tn?1268845655
Calls from dope dealers is a huge one for me.  I didn't realize how powerful that could be, because it's like "okay he is fully stocked and available right NOW to give me anything I want."  If telling them to fu*k off doesn't work I may need to change my phone number.  But believe it or not they have actually been fairly respectful of what I'm trying to do.  
699217 tn?1323438700
Great post gnarly.  Im thinking.   Every now and then when I am cleaning or walking the dog, I remember how I felt on pills doing that very thing.  I was always a bit more nervous.  I don't miss that at all.  Talking to my sister on the phone sometimes will trigger memories, but I still have no desire to use pills.  Maybe it's just too early and I remember how horrible I felt coming off them?  Im not sure.  When I have to get around someone on pills, it may be different.  Hopefully will be in aftercare by then...
1253584 tn?1332877954
I had the same problem. When I realized I really wanted help I went thru my cell deleted all my numbers of my hook ups and just stopped associating with those people. It was hard. But got easier with time.
Avatar universal
I was just putting some clothes away and came acrossed a pill bottle.  Thank God it was empty because I have to say I got a little excited and shook it kinda hoping for that rattling sound.  Its just a reminder to me that even though the physical part is mostly over, its the mental part that stays with you for a long time.  I've only been clean for 32 days and the cravings haven't been too bad until I came across the darn bottle.  

363110 tn?1340920419
Great post!
Something I've learned I had to deal with recently is pain. My doctor prescribes the pain meds for a back injury I had in 08 that left me with chronic pain. I've
. In pain mgmt some dr's tell you to take the med around the clock but not many ppl do. You end up missing a dose or being late taking one and by then the pain is so bad you just want to make it stop and will do anything.

that has always been my #1 biggest mistake
I've gone nearly a week now with NO narcotic pain meds, and using Flexeril for the muscle spasms. I'm just over a month clean from Soma. Yes recovering from the rebound pain was hell for almost 3 days straight and I know that there will be times I have to take pain medicine since I have my two little guys to lift and everything but not having it in my system right now is WONDERFUL.

My biggest triggers are :

Pain
Conflict (arguing)
Stress.

I learned some coping techniques for the stress and arguing through a counsellor and for the pain I'm taking it slow and using every other method I have available to me like excercise, hot baths, stretching. etc.. Today was the first day I got up and cleaned house without feeling like I was dying from the pain. :)
Avatar universal
HI Everyone where getting some really good responses its amassing how the slightest thing like the rattle of a pill bottle or even the smell of something from your past can be a TRIGGER that sets our minds spinning ...lets keep going and list some more as well as your cooping skills you have learned...everyone can learn something here....Gnarly  
Avatar universal
My coping skills are to think more positive when having negative thoughts. I also rember how bad i felt and familly felt when i was using heroin. I was not living just exsisting thats no life to lead. Now im so proud of me and Kim everyday we spend clean is a step closer to complete freedom. And thats our goal to live life the way its ment to be  (not numb with heroin ) But to feel normal smell the fresh air i really missed that just to name a few things. Thanks gnarly its a great post ,,,,,James
1278336 tn?1271816114
great post...triggers are very important to identify so you can be aware and be more in control when they hit you.  When I was using Heroin 10 yrs ago there was a certain exit to the highway that I always took on the way to score drugs.  After quitting everytime I passed by it crossed my mind...trigger.  I learned how to deal with it another way.  I would say out loud with tears streaming down my face "Thank you Lord for your many blessings, thank you for the strength to keep going down the path to the true happiness in life that You want me to have"  There are certain songs that trigger me, seeing a movie or tv show about drug abuse...so many different ones.  

so here I am working through day three of kicking vicodin. Im ready for the triggers...Im bigger than they are, Ive got God on my side

Im going to do this...for myself but even more importantly for my family that needs me.

Good luck and God Bless to anyone out there who is fighting the good fight with me today, we can do this xoxo

p.s.  I like to listen to inspirational songs to help inspire me it helps
949477 tn?1247796031
For a while it felt like everywhere I looked there was a trigger: pill bottles, bathrooms, rolled up dollar bills, any kind of pill or powder, even the color white was sometimes enough to set me off. Now that I've got some 24 hours under my belt it's not so constant, but I still get triggered by those things sometimes, certain songs definitely get to me, and of course seeing pictures or videos of people using or reading/talking about getting high. Things that remind me of my ex also do it lol. In terms of emotions, I'm triggered by feeling restless, lonely, or angry, and shame and fear are big ones. When I get like that, I call a close friend, go to an AA meeting, or try and distract myself by watching a movie, listening to music, going for a walk or eating something sweet.
1202033 tn?1273771354
Hi Everyone,

I thought of another trigger of mine so thought i would share.

Since i have become seriously addicted, it became much less about the high and more about just feeling normal, as i know this tends to be the case with most of us.

Anyway, because of this, lately, whenever i have to engage in a social situation i really start craving to use. I feel socially awkward since quitting and have almost come to the point where i am avoiding having to go out much, or at least anywhere that i will have to interact with people. I know this seems awful, but is where im at right now.

My therapist is working with me on this one but it's really a hard one for me. I really need to be able to interact comfortably with people again. Feeling like this is miserable and i feel like i am missing out on so much and that it's affecting my children.


I know i am kind of venting here too but thank you again everyone for your unrelenting support!!

Luv, Jacky
557230 tn?1269429829
Great post.  

Last week, I had my perfect storm of triggers...

1. Being exhausted
2. Someone saying or doing something that makes me feel like they think I'm stupid
3. Feeling overwhelmed with stuff I need to do
4. Feeling guilty (especially when it comes to my kids...when I'm at work or away from them for whatever reason, I feel I'm being a s*** mom..oh boy that was a huge one)
5. Loneliness and fear of being alone.. not necessary physically alone...I acutally like to be physically alone sometimes...but not feeling conneceted to anyone.  

So last week...
1. I was exhausted (often getting about 3-4 hours of sleep and that's it).....
2. Got insulted by an immature a-hole half my age at work who made me feel like an idiot, 3. Was overwhelmed with stuff to do...freakin' taxes due, extra shifts at work and a b'day party to prepare for. (hence the scant sleep) which led to
4. A lot of time away from my kids (and feeling like a s*** mom) and
5. Feeling disconnected from my husband because his schedule was worse than mine

I think back 2 years...
I would have had several pills, probably many at once.  
And for a brief moment, all would have seemed right in the world.  I would have been a great mom, felt in control, felt smart and whipped through a bunch of "to-do"s.

Then, when they wore off, I'd notice how bad I'd screwed up those to-do's, not remembered anything I had actually done with my kids, realize I really WAS an idiot and didn't know what I was talking about (because the drugs made me feel I didn't have to actually prepare for anything) and felt even more disconnected from my husband because of the deep down shame and unworthiness I felt because I was addicted.

But last week....
1.I drank some coffee (ok...a lot of coffee)
2. Fumed inside about the stupid idiot Doogie Howser at work...and vented to my husband about it instead of swallowing all that angst
3. Said "screw it" to many things on my to-do list.  My kid is only turning 3.  He doesn't really need much except cake, ice cream, the sandbox and us all having a great time
4. Called my kids every shift, and spent all the time I could playing with them
5. Made myself forget all the things I was irritated at hubby for, had a great date night at our favorite restaurant and talked for 3 hours.


Have an Answer?
Top Addiction Answerers
495284 tn?1333894042
City of Dominatrix, MN
Avatar universal
phoenix, AZ
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Is treating glaucoma with marijuana all hype, or can hemp actually help?
If you think marijuana has no ill effects on your health, this article from Missouri Medicine may make you think again.
Julia Aharonov, DO, reveals the quickest way to beat drug withdrawal.
Tricks to help you quit for good.
For people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly challenging.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.