Addiction Triggers and 5 Steps You Can Take to Avoid Them

The journey of addiction and recovery is not easy for anyone, the person themselves or the people who love them. But drug addiction is a reality that is far too common to ignore, and shaming anyone who is struggling with drug addiction is not the solution. Drug addiction does not mean one can never live a normal life again. It can take a series of professionals to understand why someone had to resort to drugs as a way out. But living a normal life again is possible.

Another unfortunate reality is that not everyone that chooses to fight drug addiction will win. Statistics show that more than 50% of the people on the road to recovery will start using again. But with the proper steps and awareness, sobriety is a reality anyone can achieve. Read below about common addiction triggers and how you can prevent yourself or a loved one from falling victim to them.

Identify Personal Triggers

Triggers are situations or conditions that make a person more prone to drug use. Triggers can be different for everyone. For some people, it may be a group of people; for others, it may be sitting around with nothing to do. What triggers craving in one person may be safe for another person. When someone uses drugs, it is crucial to understand their physical and mental state.

Treatment counsellors can help identify triggers, but you can identify them too with self-reflection through questions like;

  • What makes me think about drugs?
  • What situations push me towards using again?
  • What feeling do I get when I use it? Is it freedom from stress or responsibilities?

Once the triggers for a person are identified, overcoming them can be a more achievable reality.

Help from Others

Matthew Perry shares how his co-stars in “Friends” influenced him in his recovery from substance abuse. A non-judgmental, positive influence can be very powerful, especially when you are struggling with recovery. If you have someone around you that is struggling with drugs, lend them a patient and emotionally supportive shoulder. Don’t push them to come to you; feed the idea in their brain that they can if they choose to. Be willing to learn about drug abuse and try to understand any drug withdrawal symptoms that one might have.

Sometimes a person’s actions or being around them can be a trigger; try to be open to your friend when they tell you to avoid doing certain things around them. If it is another person that triggers cravings for drugs, help them out by discussing the matter with the concerned person. It takes a lot of courage to bring this up; sometimes, that reason can become a hurdle in recovery.

Managing Stress

Stress is a recurring theme in several drug abuse cases, and for many people, it seems like it is unavoidable. Stress exists in everyone’s lives to some extent. While most people talk about avoiding stress, the real answer is managing it systematically. If stress is not managed probably, you can sense it creeping up. Most people experience their shoulders tensing up, a rising heartbeat and restlessness. In stress, most people can only think about how that situation can be escaped, leading to drugs.

  • If you feel that your stress trigger is building up, here are a few steps you can take to control its effects;
  • Taking a deep breath and closing your eyes, focusing on yourself. It often helps to count slowly to ten.
  • Doing something that relaxes you, going for a walk, listening to music, talking to a friend, etc.

Working out. Exercise is one of the best therapies for stress; it releases pent-up tension, and seeing your body get fit can be motivating.

Keeping Yourself Busy

When you are free, your mind wanders, looking for something to do, and it is very easy to get carried into drugs. Having nothing to do is a prevailing situation recovering addicts have as they slowly re-introduce themselves to the regular routine of life. Here are a few steps you can take to avoid getting bored and relapsing;

  • Make a list of things you could do in your free time. This needs to be planned with help from friends, family and, if possible, your counsellor. Whenever you find yourself lacking things to do, pick something from the list and do it.
  • Explore the outdoors. Wandering outside when you are free is one of the best things you can do in your free time. Go to a local park with a friend, and explore the area around you.
  • Make new friends. Having free time is a great way to make a new circle of friends who positively influence you. You can meet people who you share interests with, take up a new hobby, etc.
  • Volunteer to help others get sober. Research shows that people who helped others fight drug abuse have a higher chance of beating it themselves.

If you can control the trigger of boredom, you take a massive step towards making your journey to sobriety a success.

Learn About Your Addiction

The more knowledge you have about your addiction and what triggers you to indulge, the brighter your future is in beating it. You can take several steps to better understand yourself and the people you affect, which revolves around communication and self-reflection. Discuss your addiction with your close ones and your intent to beat it. Take positive advice and build strong relationships that would help you to sobriety.

Look at what got you involved with drugs first, and analyze any circumstances or conditions that increase your risk of using drugs. And once you know as much as you can about your addiction, take steps to improve yourself so you never have to go down that path again. Learn a new hobby, or take a course that inspires you.


A recent report shows that the average age of death for homeless people in Hamilton is 43, and the primary factor is drug overdose. With keen effort and widespread awareness, this statistic can be changed. Do your part in helping the people around you fight against drug abuse by spreading awareness and supporting the right causes. Identifying the roots of addiction makes the road to recovery much smoother. 

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