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Family support is essential for many people during treatment and ongoing recovery. However, sometimes loved ones can unintentionally trigger cravings, intrusive thoughts, and other symptoms of substance use disorder (SUD). 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), essential “stabilization strategies include identifying high-risk situations and triggers for substance use, creating a coping plan, and helping clients practice and use new coping skills.” Lighthouse Recovery Texas prioritizes the development of coping skills to help clients avoid being triggered by events, situations, or people they encounter. 

How Can Triggers Affect Recovery? 

Triggers are highly personalized, and the responses vary depending on many factors, including context and stress level. Many people create relapse prevention strategies during treatment to help them identify possible triggers and ways to avoid them. If left unaddressed, triggers can quickly lead to emotional or physical relapse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “[S]tress cues linked to the drug use (such as people, places, things, and moods), and contact with drugs are the most common triggers for relapse.” 

Some other triggers people face during and after treatment include: 

  • Internal triggers: Stress, ambivalence, feeling emotionally overwhelmed, overconfidence or lack of confidence in sobriety, anxiety, depression, and negative self-image
  • External stimuli: People, places, items, routines, language, and behaviors 

Your family may not realize that the things they do or say can trigger intrusive thoughts or cravings. Be open and honest with them about your situation and how their actions or inactions directly affect your health. Most of the time, loved ones will change their behavior to better support family members in treatment once they understand the consequences of their actions. 

How Do You Set Boundaries With Loved Ones? 

Boundaries are essential to ensure healthy and respectful interactions between loved ones. In many cases, family members and close friends have no idea that the things they do or say contribute to your addiction unless you tell them and set clear boundaries. You can clearly define how they may harm your recovery by continuing certain behaviors. Clear boundaries allow you to avoid triggers when spending time with loved ones and social groups.

Boundaries should address the trigger and prevent future issues by doing the following: 

  • Informing the other person about the effect of their words and actions 
  • Setting a limit on harmful language and behaviors 
  • Educating the other person on the realities of addiction and recovery 
  • Providing a safe space for healing

Some family members may struggle to respect boundaries or not understand the reason for them. In some cases, family therapy may provide essential insight and context that the other person may lack. You can attend therapy together to open up lines of communication and ensure they understand the importance of healthy boundaries. 

What Are the Benefits of Temporarily Cutting Off Contact With Loved Ones? 

In some cases, loved ones may interfere with recovery. Cutting off contact with difficult or toxic family members and close friends can increase the effectiveness of treatment and lower overall stress and anxiety. You can work with your care team to determine the best way to approach relationship issues that might complicate your recovery. 

Some of the benefits of temporarily halting contact with unhealthy relationships include the following: 

  • Reduced risk of relapse 
  • Increased self-confidence and self-efficacy
  • Decreased symptoms of co-occurring depression, panic, or anxiety 
  • An increase in positive social experiences

Part of rehabilitation includes building critical life skills like effective communication and conflict resolution. By taking a break from problematic relationships, you give yourself an opportunity to learn the skills that will help you remain in control. 

How Does Treatment Help You Avoid Triggers? 

During rehabilitation, you will learn how to identify and manage triggers using healthy coping techniques. Once you know how to recognize triggers, you can begin to create preventative measures to help you avoid them. If a family member frequently triggers you, communicating with them will ensure they understand the negative impact their actions or words have had on your recovery. In many cases, family members will take immediate action to avoid those behaviors and support your recovery. 

Treatment helps you avoid triggers by doing the following: 

  • Providing structure and an opportunity for positive social connections
  • Creating a safe space 
  • Making it easier to identify and process complex emotions 

During treatment, you will have access to tools that can prevent or mitigate the effects of triggering words, locations, or behaviors. 

What Can Loved Ones Do to Avoid Triggering You? 

Your loved ones can educate themselves about the realities of addiction and recovery. The more they understand your experiences and the physical effects of addiction, the easier it will be for them to avoid triggering you. Lighthouse Recovery Texas works alongside individuals and families to help them learn how to approach recovery and support one another. We encourage families to participate in rehabilitation and provide compassion and empathy to their loved ones.

Addiction is a neuropsychological disease that affects thought patterns and behaviors. Triggers can worsen symptoms and increase the risk of relapse or overdose. Unfortunately, family members often unintentionally trigger cravings, intrusive thoughts, and other symptoms. You can avoid being triggered by setting clear boundaries, communicating effectively, and educating your family and friends. Triggers are a reality of addiction recovery, and you will need to learn how to manage them using coping skills and relapse prevention strategies. Lighthouse Recovery Texas provides every client with the tools they need to manage symptoms of SUD and potential triggers. We also educate families and can facilitate family therapy. To learn more about our programs and services, call our office today at (214) 396-0259.