Have you ever arrived at home or work without really noticing how you got there? All your remember was getting in your car. You automatically got to where you were going, without you consciously thinking about where to turn or when to stop. Your brain just knows what to do, a trigger set you on your way to work. If all of a sudden the main road you use closes, you have to think and learn a new way to work. The brain suddenly ‘wakes up’ and reroutes.
Chemical dependency (an addiction) causes this automatic behavior with drug or alcohol use. Instead of arriving at work, going through a familiar location or action triggers a craving for drugs or alcohol. Early in recovery, these cravings are hard to resist. Knowing and avoiding your triggers will steer you away from relapsing. It will also help your brain rewire, healing damaged pathways. So how do you create a ‘roadblock’ for your addiction? Here are three fun ways to change your environment and stop triggers!
Explore Your Town:
Avoid the places where you used
Certain restaurants, bars, streets (or streets to the streets) may trigger you. This is an opportunity to explore your town. Try new restaurants. Go for a walk in a new park. Take the scenic route! Not only will you be avoiding your triggers, but you will also stimulate your brain.
Become Your Own Interior Decorator:
Rearrange rooms that remind you of using
Some places you can’t avoid. If your work or home triggers you, try disrupting your routine. Rearrange your furniture to be completely different. Move your trinkets to another cabinet. Change how you use your room! Something as outrageous as using your bedroom as a living room, and your living room as a bedroom, may just be what you need to stop triggers.
Do Some Spring Cleaning:
Remove items that remind you of using
This task may require some help from a friend who can support you. Throwing away mirrors, stash boxes, or other paraphernalia will remove the chance of that item triggering you, but it may trigger you when you do it! In addition, you might not want to get rid of all your triggers. It might sound extreme to get rid of all the mirrors, glasses, or medicine cabinets, but your health comes first. Living without an item is better than living with an active addiction. Ask a close friend, family member, or sponsor to guide you.
The more you change your environment and lifestyle, the quicker your brain will heal from active addiction. Having support will make this process easier. If you have a difficult time avoiding environmental triggers, ask about in-patient treatment. Living in a controlled, sober environment may be the slight edge you need to stop your addiction for good.
For more information about inpatient treatment, contact Bradford Health Services at (888) 577-0012.