With the Summer time almost upon us it’s important to highlight the challenges that come with it for those who may be battling an addiction. Not only is everyone in good spirits with the finer weather, but events like festivals, BBQ’s and holidays are in full swing, making it particularly difficult for individuals who may be in recovery to resist their triggers.
In such situations, staying committed to sobriety becomes the top priority. In this article, we’ll focus on the various triggers that may arise during the summer months and provide guidance on how to overcome any temptations.
What are triggers?
A trigger is any kind of stimulus that provokes a response . In the context of addiction, a trigger is something that can induce or intensify addictive behaviour. There are various kinds of triggers, however, we will concentrate on the three primary types: external triggers, internal triggers, and synthetic triggers.
External triggers: These are the most understood trigger. They are environmental factors that can prompt a response in an individual . These can include a bottle of alcohol, a stressful situation, or being in the presence of others who are consuming or using drugs. These are all items that can elicit a reaction from an individual.
Behaviour chaining is a technique used to reduce the impact of external triggers by associating them with a different response. This involves altering the initial reaction to the trigger, thereby altering the subsequent trigger, which allows the individual to practice their response and form a new habit.
Internal triggers: These are the individuals’ own thoughts and feelings. Internal triggers can be related to emotions such as recalling a pleasant experience at a favourite bar, feeling insecure, anxious or depressed. Typically, emotional lows are linked to internal triggers, but positive emotions can also drive individuals struggling with addiction to revert to substance abuse.
Similar to external triggers, behaviours can be associated with internal triggers. For instance, the feeling of anxiety may be coupled with consuming alcohol. To avoid internal triggers, behaviour chaining can be implemented. This can involve techniques such as meditation, distraction and reframing the situation to overcome the trigger.
Transforming a negative trigger into a positive opportunity can be achieved by altering one’s perception of the trigger. Although it can be challenging to manage intense emotions, regular practice can help individuals effectively cope with their triggers. According to research done in 2021, it can take an average of 59 to 70 days to form a habit. By consistently employing the behaviour chaining technique and remaining committed, dealing with triggers can become progressively more manageable over time.
Synthetic triggers: These are controlled and designed by an individual or many times, by a marketing team. Advertising campaigns designed to lure the public can be a common trigger that individuals battling addiction may encounter and struggle with. These campaigns add pressure to individuals which are intentionally designed to provoke urges.
How to deal with Summer Triggers
With practice, coping with triggers can become easier. Different environments, experiences and emotions can help strengthen your resilience and serve as excellent motivation in your journey towards recovery. So, don’t let the fear of triggers discourage you from taking that holiday. As long as you have effective coping mechanisms in place, you can enjoy your trip without worry.
Tabor Group provides residential & community-based addiction treatment programmes to men and woman over 18 years of age, who are struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs, and gambling. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy, friendly environment and beat your addiction. Do not hesitate to contact one of our counsellors today for information by calling +353 (21) 488 7710 for Cork or +353 (1) 639 2962 for Dublin, or alternatively you can email us at email@example.com. We can help you.