After you Complete Substance Abuse Treatment: Handling Triggers to Heroin Use

You have completed your substance abuse treatment program. For the time being, you are clean of heroin. You should be very proud of yourself. It\’s a major accomplishment. However, at the same time, you are in a dangerous position. This is because relapse is always just one drug use away. Relapse is very common. One of the most powerful determiners involved in relapse are things known as triggers. You probably learned about these while you were in your program.

Triggers are those occurrences that you have associated with drug use in the past. There are a vast myriad of possible triggers. Not all are necessarily directly related to drug use itself. For example, a certain song that happened to be playing while you used heroin for the first time may forever remind you of that first high. Other possible examples of triggers include:

  • Certain people and places
  • Bars
  • Party venues
  • Certain foods, especially some that are high in fat and sugar

Some triggers are more indirect, although no less powerful. For example, someone who always drank a cup of coffee right after using heroin may need to give up coffee altogether, at least on a temporary basis. Even though coffee is normally considered to be a harmless social drink with no significant addictive properties, when it\’s become a trigger, it may have to eliminated, at least for awhile.

How to Deal with Triggers

Never underestimate the power of a trigger, especially while you\’re early in your recovery. Those who have just completed a substance abuse program are at particularly high risk. Your plan to handle triggers should include the following three aspects:

  • Identify
  • Avoid
  • Cope

What you must do is to identify which triggers affect you the most. It\’s true that you will eventually need to learn to live with your triggers, but while you are early in your recovery, it\’s best to just avoid them whenever possible. If a certain party place is a trigger for you, avoid the street where it\’s located. If a certain person is a powerful trigger, it\’s best to avoid the person for awhile. Avoid situations, including forms of entertainment, where you will be watching people using heroin.

Your aftercare program will give you some useful tools to help you cope with temptation, including both personal and environmental triggers. This is a critical part of your ongoing sobriety. Don\’t be afraid to reach out to others who are also in recovery. Ask them how they deal with the problem. Ask how they cope with cravings and temptation on a daily basis. Most likely you will be met with eager, helpful suggestions.

If you\’re struggling with sobriety issues, don\’t be afraid to reach out to us. We are here 24 hours a day to help you with any issues you may have. Our trained, professional staff will be able to guide you to get the help you need. Call us at (833) 762-3765. We look forward to serving you.

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