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Substance Use and Triggers

Triggers can be extremely difficult. They can put you back into a mindset where you don’t want to be. You may have been clean for a while and, once you are triggered, you might want to use again. These triggers can be situations that are emotional or even have a social or environmental component. The likelihood of using a substance increases significantly when you are triggered. Your cravings may increase and you may fall back into old habits that you have avoided for so long. Here are a few different types of triggers: 

External triggers:

  • People
  • Places
  • Things
  • Situations
  • Internal triggers:
    • Negative feelings
    • Neutral feelings
    • Positive feelings

Recognize your triggers and avoid them

Recovery from alcohol or drugs is a fight that you must choose to fight each and every day. It’s important to know what your triggers are so that you can avoid them. If you are more triggered by external factors such as an environment, it’s important to keep in mind the places you put yourself in. Sights, smells, and sounds can trigger anyone. Make sure you’re putting yourself in positive situations that have as little triggers as possible. If you’re more triggered by internal emotions, be wary of your stress levels and how you’re feeling. Whatever your triggers are, it’s important to know exactly what they are. You can fight through them.


If you are unable to avoid your triggers, you may start to fall into the downward spiral of using again. This can be spurred by the trigger, such as feeling anxious or extreme sadness. You may want to find an escape for your feelings, so you turn to the substances you’ve been avoiding. Once you use, dopamine is released and you fall back into tolerating the extensive levels of the neurotransmitter. This leads back to dependence. Your brain will want more and more of the substance. Cravings return and you have trouble fighting them. This cycle continues over and over until you have fallen back into the pattern of using consistently. 

Rewire your brain

Relapses happen, It’s okay. Try not to get discouraged by a relapse. Instead, work toward stopping your use of alcohol or drugs. You can rewire your brain. Set goals for yourself. Make sure you recognize your triggers and make a conscious decision not to use. Give yourself pleasure by things outside of the substance. Continue to exercise and sleep well. Seek outside help if it’s needed. You’ve got this.

Villa Tranquil Recovery is here for you. Keep fighting. If you need extra help, we are here for you. Call now at 214-799-3080 for more information. We can’t wait to hear from you.