Combating Triggers & Cravings
It doesn’t take much to make you want to drink or use drugs again.
Various things (triggers) can arouse an addict to make them want to drink alcohol or use drugs (cravings). Good advice is to avoid people, places, and things that remind them of using, but sometimes that is difficult. The key is learning how to identify and stop the triggers before they propel the addict to drink alcohol or abuse drugs.
What are Triggers?
Almost anything (even good things like, music, sporting events, or a beautiful sunset) can be a trigger. The trigger itself may be harmless. However, the associations it creates in an addict’s mind can greatly increase the likelihood that they will start drinking or using again.
What are Cravings?
A craving is a physical urge or compulsion to drink or use that is generated in the brain and experienced physically. Alcohol and drugs generate euphoria or “a high” by activating dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. The brain’s hippocampus, which creates new memories, then “associates” the behavior (using) along with the environment and situation surrounding the behavior with the euphoric feelings. Cravings can be extremely hard to control when they are in full swing, but once you gain an understanding of how and why they happen, it’s much easier to lessen their effect.
Most people are unaware that their attitudes toward drinking or using have arisen from a trigger. By charting out those people, places and things that trigger cravings all the way through to their often negative consequence, you can train your brain to associate the resulting pain with the initiating situation and be better equipped to avoid the behavior.
Sample Daily Trigger Chart
|Daily Trigger Chart|
|Monday night football||Revved up, competitive, happy, and sometimes depressed.||Like to drink to get loose and social.||Feel like one of the guys.||Say things I don’t mean, get in arguments, hangovers, late for work.|
|Click here to download and print a copy of this worksheet.|
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