One of the barriers to receiving addiction treatment is the fear of relapse. In fact, this is a fear shared by not only those thinking about going into addiction treatment but also those about to be discharged from rehab. This is why top-rated alcohol rehabilitation centers go to great lengths to prepare recovering alcoholics to know how to avoid or manage outside triggers. Such knowledge is useful for those who have successfully completed an alcohol addiction treatment program as well as those transitioning from a Partial Hospitalization alcohol treatment program to an outpatient one.
What Exactly are Outside Triggers
Before examining how recovering alcoholics are equipped by treatment centers to deal with external triggers, let’s first understand the different types of triggers.
In short, triggers are internal or external cues that cause recovering addicts to crave drugs or relapse. Individuals are most susceptible to relapse following discharge from an alcohol addiction treatment program. They are also vulnerable to these triggers in the first few months of treatment.
There are 3 different types of triggers for alcoholics:
These are triggers that come from within. They include thoughts or emotions that make you want to take alcohol. They are often harder to avoid than external triggers because there’s no way to get away from your emotions. Internal triggers include negative feelings like depression, shame, fear, or anger. Positive feelings that might trigger relapse include excitement, happiness, or celebratory feelings.
These are factors outside yourself that trigger alcohol cravings. Such triggers include people, places, activities, and objects that you used to associate with drinking. For instance, the places you used to purchase alcohol from, your drinking buddies, and places you used to go to have a few drinks.
These are related to taste, sound, sight, and touch that were present when an individual started drinking. Sensory triggers can be quite powerful and can cause relapse months or even years after you’ve gone through rehab.
Dealing With External Triggers After Leaving Rehab
Triggers shouldn’t be ignored since they can cause a downward spiral of events that can eventually derail your treatment. However, you needn’t be afraid of them either. With the right coping skills, you can learn to manage whichever triggers you encounter.
Here at the Robert Alexander Addiction Treatment Center, we strive to equip all recovering alcoholics in our care with the right skills to deal with their triggers.
Here are some of the options we use to prepare our clients:
Teaching them to be self-aware.
Self-awareness allows you to identify triggers and manage them in healthy ways. By carefully examining your reaction in different scenarios, you can identify what your external triggers are. Once you recognize them, you can move on to understanding their root causes and learn how to manage them in healthy ways.
Providing prescription-based medication.
No matter how strong-willed you think you are, as a recovering alcoholic, you might find yourself in tempting situations. To help avoid relapse in situations you can’t avoid, our medical doctors prescribe certain medicines that help ease your cravings. The most common of these medicines are Naltrexone or Disulfiram.
Making use of cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Commonly referred to as CBT, this is a form of psychotherapy that is widely used to help people change their behavior. At our treatment center, we start implementing CBT with recovering alcoholics who have successfully undergone detox. The premise behind it is to help them uncover the root causes of their alcoholism i.e. the thoughts that drive their addiction.
Once these have been identified, we work with clients to help them change these negative thought patterns and replace them with more positive ones, changing their behavior for the better. During CBT sessions, we also help clients develop healthy coping strategies to implement when dealing with cravings and triggers.
Encouraging recovering addicts to join a support group.
Long-term sobriety depends on the kind of environment and support you receive once you leave the alcohol rehab center. Our treatment facility understands this that is why we encourage all our clients to join support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or a 12-step program.
Such support groups allow you to connect with like-minded people going through the same situation as you. They understand your struggles and can give you invaluable support in your recovery journey while also providing useful tips to help you deal with your triggers. Additionally, support groups are the best places to meet accountability partners who you can turn to when faced with triggers.
Providing online assistance.
We are living in the digital era so it’s not surprising that rehabs increasingly provide apps and digital methods that can help recovering alcoholics easily access the help they need, wherever they are. Thanks to these apps, you can now access various support groups right from your phone or laptop, making it easy to get assistance whenever you feel the urge to drink again. These apps also provide valuable information on AA meetings and support groups that are near you.
Teaching clients some grounding techniques.
Inner strength and resilience play a huge role in an individual’s recovery journey from alcoholism. While it isn’t wise to depend on willpower alone to manage triggers, having the strength of mind not to give in to cravings and to say no to offers of drinks goes a long way towards preventing relapse. That is why we encourage our clients to practice mindfulness and wellness techniques like meditation as part of their treatment.
At the Robert Alexander treatment center in Kentucky, we can help you learn more about addiction, triggers, and relapse. In addition to evidence-based treatment programs, we also provide different forms of holistic therapy to help clients effectively cope with their addiction and the triggers that drive them to alcoholism
For more information about our alcohol addiction treatment programs, get in touch with us at (502) 443-9950. We look forward to walking with you on your recovery journey.