Emotional Triggers

Recovery Can Be a Roller Coaster: How to Deal with Emotional Triggers

Relapse is a common part of the recovery process. In fact, 40-60 percent of individuals who struggle with substance abuse or addiction will relapse at some point.

Often, when people relapse, it is because they were faced with a trigger (or series of triggers) that they could not handle.

The more you know about your triggers and what kinds of coping mechanisms help you to deal with them, the less likely you’ll be to deal with relapse yourself.

Read on to learn more about common emotional triggers and the steps you can take to handle them in a healthy way and reduce your risk of relapse.

What Are Emotional Triggers?

An emotional trigger is anything that causes you to feel uncomfortable or experience any other kind of emotional reaction.

An example of an emotional trigger might be feeling angry or defensive when someone makes a comment about your past behaviors or feeling jealous when you see someone posting about an experience they had on social media.

Virtually anything can be an emotional trigger to someone.

Learning to identify emotional triggers is an essential part of the addiction recovery process.

Often, people turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope with difficult emotions like jealousy and anger. In order to attain and maintain your sobriety, you need to find other, healthier ways to handle these feelings.

Common Emotional Triggers

A variety of different feelings can act as emotional triggers for folks who are in recovery. It’s important to note, too, that not all of these feelings are negative, although they certainly can be.

The following are some common emotions that can be triggering to people struggling with addiction:

Negative Feelings

When most people think of feelings that trigger a desire to use drugs or alcohol, they think of these kinds of negative feelings:

  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Irritation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Anger
  • Hate
  • Overconfidence
  • Jealousy
  • Sadness
  • Neglect
  • Overwhelm

A person might also become emotionally triggered when they feel that they’re being criticized or that they’re being viewed as inadequate.

Neutral Feelings

Neutral feelings can be emotional triggers, too.

For example, if someone is feeling bored, they might feel an urge to turn to alcohol or drugs just to give themselves something to do. They might turn to alcohol or drugs when they’re feeling relaxed, too, or if they want to feel more relaxed.

Positive Feelings

Positive emotions can even be triggering to some people. This is where things get really tricky.

For some people, celebrations might trigger a desire for alcohol or drugs as a way to let their hair down and enjoy some good news. Excitement, happiness, and passion can also be emotional triggers.

Tips for Recognizing with Triggers

Emotional triggers are often more difficult to deal with than other types of triggers. You might be able to avoid certain situations and people when you’re in recovery, but you can’t avoid all emotions.

Instead of trying to stay away from emotions when you’re recovering from addiction, it’s important to learn healthy ways to deal with all the different emotions you might experience.

Before you can deal with emotions and emotional triggers, though, you first need to figure out what your emotional triggers are.

Here are some tips that can help you start to identify your emotional triggers:

Notice Physical Reactions

Does your heart start beating rapidly when you get angry? Do you clench your fists when you’re stressed?

When you experience reactions like this, work backward to figure out what kind of emotion you’re feeling. Then, work backward some more to figure out what’s causing that emotion.

Notice Your Thoughts

Pay attention to the thoughts that run through your head, too. Have you suddenly started thinking irrationally or in extremes? What happened that brought on those thoughts?

What Happened Earlier?

You might not always experience emotional triggers when someone says or does something. You might be more prone to them, though, after a long day or after something else went wrong.

When you start experiencing physical reactions or negative thoughts, think about the context of the day and what kinds of situations might have contributed to them.

Tips for Dealing with Triggers

Once you’ve identified your emotional triggers, the next step is to learn to deal with them. Everyone handles their triggers differently, so you’ll have to do some experimentation to figure out which approaches work best for you.

The following are some ideas to help you get started:

Focus on Your Breath

When you start feeling physical reactions or negative thoughts in response to an emotional trigger, it helps to focus on your breath. This can calm your body down and get you out of a “fight or flight” state.

Try to Find Humor

It can be helpful to try and find humor in the situation, too. Often, we make issues more serious than they need to be. If possible, take a step back and try to find a way to lighten the moment.

Write Things Down

Many people also find that they can cope with triggers better if they write down how they’re feeling and nail down exactly what caused the feeling. Writing also gives you an opportunity to reflect and pause instead of reacting in an unhealthy way.

Take a Break

Sometimes, you just need to separate yourself from the situation altogether.

Whether you take a break to go write in a journal or engage in a hobby, taking a break before you respond can help you avoid losing your temper or saying or doing something you’ll regret later.

Get Help with Recovery Today

It’s not always easy to identify and cope with emotional triggers. The more you learn about yourself and the more you practice, though, the better your coping skills will become.

Remember, too, that you do not have to go through the recovery process alone.

If you need support from addiction recovery professionals or others who are also in recovery, we can help at Addiction Treatment Services.

Contact us today to learn more about different recovery programs in your area.

We have compassionate, caring admissions specialists available 24 hours a day to answer all of your questions and point you in the right direction.

References

Mojá, C. A., & Spielberger, C. D. (n.d.). Anger and Drug Addiction – Carmelo A. De Mojá, Charles D. Spielberger, 1997. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pr0.1997.81.1.152

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Treatment and Recovery. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery

How to Deal with Difficult People

How to Deal with Difficult People When Recovering from Addiction

Are you in the process of recovery?

Whether you’re recovering from drugs or alcohol, you know firsthand just how challenging the entire process can be. On top of the common challenges that accompany recovery, it can be easy to isolate yourself and feel alone in your struggles.

However, studies have found that more Americans than you might initially think have experienced recovery. In fact, 1 in 10 American adults has been in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction at one point in their lives.

Of these adults, the large majority have struggled with how to deal with difficult people during their recovery. If you find yourself nodding your head, you’re going to want to read this.

We’re uncovering seven proven methods for dealing with the difficult people that may present themselves during your recovery. Not only are these positive tips for life in general, but they’re also bound to help your overall recovery.

1. Modify Your Behavior

In dealing with difficult people, it’s important to remember that you cannot always modify someone else’s behavior.

Even if you feel strongly that their behavior is generally wrong, this doesn’t always translate to them understanding this notion. As a result, it’s likely that their patterns of bad behavior will continue and are unlikely to change.

Rather than focusing on how you can alter their behavior, try shifting your focus to how you can respond to their behavior. This is going to help give you control of the situation and minimize the negative effect that their behavior has on you.

2. Attempt to Understand Their Actions

When this person is showcasing their utmost difficulty, remember that you may be unaware of the current demons they’re facing. These struggles and hardships more than likely have a significant influence on their actions and presence.

It may also be helpful to remind yourself that you, too, may have been difficult at one point throughout your addiction. Before overcoming an addiction, it’s only natural for an addict to experience a range of emotions that lead to difficulty.

Do your best to understand why they may be acting out and appearing difficult. When you put yourself into their shoes, you’ll more than likely gain an appreciation for why they’re projecting themselves in such a poor manner.

3. Have Honest Conversations

When all else fails, why not be upfront and open with this person about how you’re feeling?

Allowing yourself to be honest with this person will provide them with valuable insight as to your thoughts and feelings. From their perspective, it may be surprising to them that you’re struggling with their actions. With this, it’s always possible that they may alter their behavior for the better.

Remember, difficult people, are not always aware as to how their actions impact others. While they may be experiencing struggle on the inside, they’re not always aware that this is being reflected on the outside.

4. Create Boundaries

It may be time to create a physical boundary between yourself and the difficult people in your life.

While this may be a difficult choice, it’s important to remember that boundaries can be very healthy for both parties. If you truly feel that the person nor their actions cannot be corrected, it may be time to slowly distance yourself from that person.

Remember, boundaries don’t have to be lifelong and can instead be temporary. So, this doesn’t mean that your relationship has to come to an official end. Rather, this means that you are taking a break from having this person in your life during the recovery process.

5. Remove Yourself from Toxic Relationships

Of course, not all relationships with difficult people are salvageable or worth saving. Before making any rash decisions, it’s essential to differentiate which relationships are too negative and unhealthy to continue.

If you truly feel that the difficult people in your life are toxic, it might be time to officially cut your ties to this person. While relationships in life are arguably one of the most rewarding and important facets of life, this isn’t the case for each and every relationship.

6. Reach out for Support

There comes a time and place where not all relationships can be saved nor abandoned. For many addicts in recovery, this will come in terms of dealing with a difficult family member such as a parent or a sibling.

While this relationship may feel toxic, it may also feel impossible to remove yourself from such a relationship. This is where it becomes crucial to enlist the help of others in dealing with this person.

This may come in terms of speaking to mutual connections as well as speaking with a therapist or your sponsor. Having honest conversations and allowing for the perspective of others can provide you with the tools necessary for tolerating this person.

7. Give Second Chances

Last but not least, it’s important to remind yourself that some people deserve to be given a second chance.

Remember that the majority of addicts are given a second chance at both life and in their relationships during recovery. Think back to the forgiveness that friends and family paid to you when you were suffering from your addiction.

When you extend your forgiveness to a difficult person in your life, it can help to foster an entirely new relationship. This new relationship can be a second chance at developing a more healthy and positive relationship with that person.

How to Deal with Difficult People During Recovery

Today, nearly 21 million American adults suffer from some form of substance addiction. In an attempt to lead a sober lifestyle, many of these adults will find themselves facing the bumpy road of recovery at some point.

While you may control your own actions in recovery, you may not always control the actions of those around you. When this takes place, you may find yourself wondering how to deal with difficult people that are present throughout your recovery.

Fortunately, these tips will help to provide guidance on how to overcome these difficulties and focus on your recovery. This may be anything from modifying your own behavior and attempting to understand the behavior of others to removing yourself from toxic relationships and establishing boundaries.

If you feel that yourself or a loved one may be facing addiction issues, be sure to contact us today. With a simple phone call, we can discuss the many options that are available to help today.

References

Chan, A. L. (2012, March 07). The Shocking Number Of Americans Who’ve Recovered From Substance Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/03/07/addiction-recovery-america-drugs-alcohol_n_1327344.html

Hafner, J. (2016, November 17). Surgeon general: 1 in 7 in USA will face substance addiction. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2016/11/17/surgeon-general-1-7-us-face-substance-addiction/93993474/

Boredom in Recovery

How to Combat Boredom in Recovery

Right now, 22 million Americans are in recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction. Dealing with boredom in recovery is one of the biggest causes of relapse.

Boredom is a dangerous state of mind that can open up the floodgates to behaviors that are harmful and addicting. Especially when a person is in the delicate state of new sobriety.

But there is hope! Read on for the best ways you can deal with boredom in recovery in productive ways.

Unplug

So many people try coping with boredom by turning to electronic devices. They surf the net or social media sites or binge watch entire seasons on Netflix.

But though staring at a screen may seem like a good way to preoccupy yourself, the truth is you may be experiencing sensory overload. This reduces your ability to focus on anything for any length of time.

Plus, when you are staring at a screen, you aren’t living your life, you are just passively taking in information.

Take a look at your screen habits and set some boundaries. Start by powering off for an hour at the same time every day.

You could also set rules about how much time you will spend scrolling Facebook. A timer is a great way to stick to your goals.

As you unplug, your ability to focus and think clearly will improve. And you’ll find that when you are bored, you’ll be better able to find productive activities to turn to.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps you focus on the current moment without worrying about the future or ruminating on the past.

Boredom and addiction go hand-in-hand because boredom opens up a window for self-doubt and negative self-talk.

Mindfulness is one of the best tips for dealing with boredom in recovery. Meditation is a wonderful way that you can begin to become more mindful.

It may sound easy, but takes a lot of practice to successfully do for any length of time.

Best of all, as you start to pay attention to what you see, smell, hear and feel, the world becomes a richer and more fascinating place.

Hit the Gym

Exercise is the cure for so many of life’s ailments.

Trouble sleeping? Aches and pains? Low sex drive?

Exercise helps with all of these. When you are dealing with boredom in recovery, you are likely feeling pessimistic.

Exercise sends a rush of endorphins to your brain. Then, you experience a natural euphoric state that helps you feel good about yourself and your life.

So hit the gym and leave it all on the floor. You’ll get rid of some nervous energy and improve how your mind and body feel as well.

Try a New Hobby

You have heard that removing an addiction is not enough. You also need to replace that with new habits and interests.

One of the best ways of dealing with boredom in recovery is to find a new hobby or interest.

There must be something you’ve always found interesting but never done. Maybe you can take up rowing or woodworking.

Perhaps you’d love to learn how to quilt. Or you might want to finally learn Portuguese or cake decorating.

It really doesn’t matter what hobby you choose. A new interest will improve your mental health and focus.

Not to mention that it’s a great way to start new friendships. Look for local groups or classes and get involved.

Create a Daily Schedule

One of the best ways that you can learn how to deal with boredom is to create a schedule for yourself.

A large part of being bored is having no clear idea of what you should do next. Having a schedule keeps you on track and engaged with your activities.

Include meal prep and cooking healthy enjoyable meals. Make sure you schedule in a daily walk or spending time outdoors gardening or reading.

Set aside time to write in your journal and connect with your support group. And add in time for volunteering and learning new skills.

Set a Goal and Work Towards it

People who are goal-oriented have a purpose for their lives. And it doesn’t have to be a huge life-changing goal, either.

It can be a fitness goal like train for and run a marathon. Or it can be something like take a cooking class and learn how to cook Italian food.

The best thing is if you can make your goal measurable and give yourself a deadline. Six months to a year is often a good timeframe. Longer and you may get discouraged, too short and you may not have enough time to reach your goal.

Having a goal is an excellent way of coping with boredom during recovery.

Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

When you force yourself to get outside of your comfort zone, you stretch your limits and grow as a person. If you’re shy to talk to new people, start up a conversation in the grocery checkout line.

If you’re afraid of public speaking, join an improv club or a debate team. The result is that you will become a more courageous and adventurous person. And that will serve you well in your new life of sobriety.

Final Thoughts on Boredom in Recovery

Thanks for reading. As you can see boredom in recovery is manageable. There are so many proactive approaches you can take when dealing with boredom.

Do you have questions about addiction, treatment or scheduling an intervention? Contact us today and get the help you deserve.

References

Ashford, R. D., & Canode, B. (2018, August 29). It’s time to measure addiction recovery rates, not just addiction rates. Retrieved from https://www.statnews.com/2018/08/30/measure-addiction-recovery-rates/

Bennett, C. (2011, December 01). The 4 Most Common Causes Of Addiction Relapse. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dispositions-of-relapse_n_988137

Bradley Cooper Shares Positive Message About Sobriety

coopergqDespite being associate with such substance-fueled films like “The Hangover,” Oscar-nominated actor Bradley Cooper recently opened up in an interview with GQ magazine that he sobered up nearly ten years ago. Since that time, his career and his self-confidence have reached new heights.

Cooper admitted that alcohol and drug abuse were seriously affecting him in a negative way, stating, “if I continued it, I was really going to sabotage my whole life.” He said it was hindering his work by preventing him from being the best he could be.

Later in the interview, Cooper exclaimed, “I’m sober, and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m actually myself. And I don’t have to put on this air to be somebody else, and this person still wants to work with me?..’ I was rediscovering myself in this workplace, and it was wonderful.”

Bradley Cooper is just one of many popular celebrities to endorse a lifestyle without substance abuse, joined by others who have recently sought help for addiction. Artists can sometimes be tortured souls searching for an outlet and an identity. Too many beloved actors and actresses, as well as other celebrities, have had their lives cut short as a result of their alcohol or drug abuse.

Thankfully people like Bradley Cooper have had the insight and resolve to overcome substance abuse, hopefully inspiring others to do the same. For those who are seeking help for addiction or have a loved one in need, contact Addiction Treatment Services today.

How To Choose 12-Step Program - Addiction Treatment Services

Choosing the Right 12-Step Program

How To Choose 12-Step Program - Addiction Treatment ServicesPeople may reach out for help when struggling with alcohol dependency or drug addiction. The best way to break free from any form of drug or alcohol abuse is through inpatient treatment, followed by continued recovery in a 12-step or other recovery program.

Addiction Treatment Services offers guidance and hope for those seeking freedom from substance abuse. Here’s how to evaluate if a 12-step program is right for you or your loved one.

Understanding the 12-Step Program

Drug and alcohol use changes the way the brain functions. It permeates every aspect of life in ways a person often may not realize. Twelve-step groups teach members how drugs and alcohol have affected the way their minds make decisions and how to analyze the reasons they turned to substances when faced with problems.

The program focuses on accepting that addiction is a chronic disease the individual can’t control. Thus, the participant must surrender control to a higher power, seek support from other individuals in recovery and attend regular meetings.

Alcohol Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and many other support programs use the 12 Steps of Recovery, which help more than 5 million people every year. These programs address a wide range of addictions and psychological disorders.

12-Step Advantages

US Addiction Treatment Centers 12-Step Programs Statistic - ATSEveryone is unique, so there’s no one option that’s appropriate for every recovering addict. Choosing the right program is critical to recovery, so weigh all the alternatives to decide which one best meets your needs.

Here are some of the advantages of 12-step programs:

  • They are widely available. Seventy-four percent of U.S. treatment centers use some form of a 12-step program, according to an estimate by American Addiction Centers.
  • Their availability makes them convenient. You’ll likely find what you need close to home.
  • Aftercare aligns with treatment. After you leave your treatment facility, you’ll probably be able to find a support group in your hometown.
  • They’re sometimes less expensive than other treatment options. Most major insurance plans cover treatment at 12-step-based rehabilitation centers. Since they use volunteers to lead sessions and support those going through treatment, the program doesn’t cost much to implement, and the savings are passed on to the patients.
  • They are widely accepted. Most people know about the basics of these programs. It’s the only recovery support program many people recognize.

12-Step Disadvantages

While 12-step programs are convenient and affordable, they aren’t perfect. Here are some disadvantages:

  • Such programs don’t support dual diagnosis. Many people who face addiction also struggle with other mental health disorders: Depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder may be what led to the addiction in the first place. If programs don’t treat the underlying condition, the patient may relapse.
  • Volunteers, not professionals, run these programs. You’ll find people who know your addiction firsthand because they’ve struggled with it themselves. However, most don’t have any professional training or expertise with psychology or mental health issues.
  • Twelve-step programs aren’t personalized to individual needs. Oftentimes, one-on-one therapy with a professional is necessary for long-term recovery.

An Alternative: Non-12-Step Programs

Many very effective treatment programs use models that don’t follow the 12-step model. While 12-step programs promote the idea that the individual is powerless to control addiction and in need of help from a higher power, alternative treatment programs teach self-reliance and personal responsibility.

Some choices include SMART Recovery and Secular Organizations for Sobriety. Here are some of the positive aspects of alternative rehab programs:

  • Many use evidence-based psychology. Most offer certain therapies tht treat underlying mental health issues. This makes them effective for people with dual diagnoses.
  • They offer more access to mental health professionals. More therapists and counselors mean more personalized treatment.
  • They offer a variety of choices. Women for Sobriety deals with issues unique to women. SMART Recovery helps members modify their responses to environmental and emotional stresses. Some programs offer amino acid injections to reduce substance cravings. Most treatment seekers can find a program tailored to their needs.

The Disadvantages of Non-12-Step Programs

There are significantly fewer alternative programs, so they’re more difficult to find. As there are fewer programs, patients may not be able to find facilities or aftercare options close to home. Because these types of programs are not as well known, they’re less likely to be covered by insurance.

How to Choose the Right Option

With so many differences between the two models of addiction treatment, it can be difficult to decide which is the best fit is for yourself or a loved one. That’s where Addiction Treatment Services comes in. We help people seeking treatment sort through all the details.

We help families navigate through the addiction treatment process, from intervention and understanding insurance costs all the way through aftercare and ongoing treatment. If you’re seeking treatment, Addiction Treatment Service’s experience can help you find the road to success.

Learn About the Different Stages of Addiction Treatment

Explore Levels of Care

Staying Healthy in Recovery Weights Water Bottle - ATS

The Importance of Staying Healthy in Recovery

Why It Is Important to Eat Healthy and Exercise During Addiction Recovery - ATSRecovery from addiction is an ongoing process that involves making better decisions and living a healthier lifestyle. During this phase, many people undergo various types of treatment and therapy to restore equilibrium after substance abuse. People in recovery benefit greatly from making healthier life choices that support physical well-being.

How Optimal Health Improves Recovery

When the body is healthy, it’s easier for a person to handle life’s challenges. Many people must relearn how to handle everyday life in recovery, and learning to take better care of the body should play a role in treatment.

Some of the keys to a healthier lifestyle and curbing the possibility of relapse are:

  • Proper nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Outdoor activity
  • Mindfulness exercises

Mindfulness Exercises

“Mindfulness” is the idea of being more self-aware of one’s choices. During alcohol and drug rehab, many people learn mindfulness through exercises, yoga, counseling and other therapies.

Being mindful helps a person make sense of a situation and understand the body’s reactions to stress, fear, temptation, cravings and more. Recovery doesn’t end with rehab: Recovery requires a daily reaffirmation of one’s commitment to living sober.

Mindfulness exercises and meditation typically accompany many other therapies and counseling structures in recovery, and it’s important for people in rehab to remember what they learn there so they may apply to their lives in recovery. These exercises also serve to rebuild self-esteem and help people in recovery remember they are more than their addictions.

Understanding and using mindfulness will also help the individual make better dietary choices and develop healthy exercise habits.

Benefits of Good Nutrition

Many people struggling with addiction cause serious harm to their bodies. Not only do many addictive substances alter the body’s systems and brain chemistry, but drug abuse often leads to self-neglect.

When a person is in the grips of a serious addiction, he or she will likely look for the next dose before addressing basic needs like food and water. It’s not uncommon for people who enter detox to be malnourished and dehydrated, and nutrition therapy can help their bodies recover so they can more easily handle rehab.

A weakened body will lead to a weakened mind, and it’s vital for people in recovery to physically rebuild themselves so they can handle the stress of rehabilitation. Many people who enter substance abuse treatment receive nutrition therapy and dietary counseling to help them recover physically. After rehab, good eating habits can make sober living easier.

Proper nutrition will help a newly recovered person process stress and stay focused on sobriety. When a person is unhealthy, malnourished or dehydrated, it becomes very difficult to handle stress and stave off cravings, and the risk of relapse increases.

Living Healthy, Active Lifestyles

Exercise and outdoor activity are also important in recovery. Many people dread their daily workout routines, but in recovery, it’s a good idea to find a few exercises or physical activities that help release endorphins and keep the body fit. During rehab, people recovering from substance abuse will have the opportunity to explore new physical activities that help them release stress and manage cravings in healthy ways.

People who complete substance abuse treatment often cultivate new hobbies that afford them healthy outlets for stress relief and a way to connect with others. One of the lesser-known benefits of increased physical activity is making new friends. This is important because many people who complete substance abuse treatment often leave to find themselves isolated from their old friends and acquaintances.

Team sports, learning new physical skills like martial arts, yoga, rock climbing, hiking and other activities help keep cravings in check. Additionally, seeing the results on one’s own body after committing to regular exercise and physical activity is usually positive motivation to keep on track with a healthier lifestyle.

Rebuilding Emotional Stability

While mindfulness exercises, nutrition, and physical activity are crucial to the healing process after completing treatment, it’s also important to rebuild one’s emotional health. Addiction can cause feelings of regret, low self-esteem, sadness and guilt for pain caused to others. People who enter rehab learn how to confront and address these feelings in healthy ways. After rehab, it’s vital to use those lessons learned and apply them to daily life.

Finding the Right Treatment

If you’re wondering where to start in searching for the right drug or alcohol rehab program, Addiction Treatment Services can help. We connect individuals and families all over the country to the best treatment centers, therapy programs, counselors and other substance abuse resources – from intervention all the way through outpatient treatment and aftercare.

Before you start looking for a program to help yourself or a loved one recover from addiction, understand the different levels of care that are available to you. Contact us if you want a more-detailed explanation or some assistance in your search for the right treatment program.

Learn The Different Levels of Rehab Care