Tips for Maintaining Your Emotional Health to Avoid Substance Abuse Triggers

Addictions Content Team Info icon
Calendar icon Last Updated: 09/16/2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Alcohol and drug addictions work in the same way as a chronic disease, posing an ongoing threat to a recovering addict’s overall health and well-being. The length of time a person remains abstinent has little bearing considering how the “call” of addiction can work its way into everyday events and interactions.

According to the Addiction Science & Clinical Practice Journal, more than half of the people who enter drug addiction treatment experience relapse periods that require multiple episodes of treatment over the course of many years before long-term abstinence is possible. Being able to spot potential substance abuse triggers can go a long way towards preventing a relapse episode form occurring.

Not surprisingly, substance abuse triggers closely resemble the triggers that originally drive a person down addiction’s path. The first step towards maintaining emotional health entails becoming aware of your individual or personal substance abuse triggers. Likewise, developing a plan to redirect these triggers towards more healthy activities or expressions gives recovering addicts the best chance at heading substance abuse triggers off at the path.

Gaining Leverage

Substance Abuse Triggers

Keeping a daily journal can help you manage your emotions during recovery.

Recovering from an alcohol or drug addiction means embracing new ways of thinking and living. Once a person completes drug treatment, re-entering everyday life means encountering potential substance abuse triggers at every turn.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a substance abuse trigger may be readily recognizable, such as a certain person or place. Triggers may also enter in through the subconscious in the form of a fragrance or color without a person even knowing it.

By maintaining emotional health, recovering addicts gain the leverage they need to deal with the everyday issues and interactions that threaten their sobriety. With this leverage, a person can take the needed steps to redirect negative patterns before it’s too late.

Identifying Substance Abuse Triggers

In its essence, addiction becomes a way of coping with the ups and downs of daily life. Since nothing in life happens inside a vacuum, cause and effect events, more oftentimes than not, set the stage for substance abuse triggers to take root.

While emotions play a pivotal role in determining what a person will and will not do, emotions are borne from patterns of thinking. By uprooting or stopping destructive thinking patterns, a person can keep negative emotions from reaching full force.

Destructive thinking patterns can start out small, but gradually take on significance the longer a person dwells on them. Redirecting negative thought patterns at the outset enables recovering addicts to better manage their emotional health.

Daily Tips for Emotional Health

Mounting stress levels, subtle behavior changes and isolative tendencies are all indicators of pending emotional distress. Slipping out of your daily routine can also be a sign of problems up ahead.

Here are a few daily tips that can help you better manage your emotional health and avoid substance abuse triggers:

  • Keeping a daily journal of your thoughts and emotions
  • Attending 12-Step support groups on a regular basis
  • Getting a sponsor
  • Daily exercise regimen
  • Staying socially active
  • Identifying and redirecting negative mindsets
  • Engaging in fun activities