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Does Being Triggered After Treatment Mean That Treatment Didn’t Work?

It has been said that recovery is not a destination but rather a journey. You completed treatment, which is a big accomplishment. However, your journey doesn’t end there. Many people complete treatment and experience triggers after treatment. This can raise some flags and create worry.

Your recovery path will be tailored to your belief system and values. Therefore as alumni, just as you are unique, so is your journey. At The Guest House, we believe in the uniqueness of each individual. We also understand that triggers happen no matter where you are in your treatment. This article will discuss how to incorporate a constructive relapse prevention plan, how to deal with triggers after treatment, and how to avoid getting discouraged when triggers surface.

What Happens to My Triggers After Treatment?

Deciding to go to treatment is life-changing. When you make this choice, you will be surrounded by individuals who have made the same choice. Treatment will encourage you to find the positives in your life and give you hope for a fulfilled future.

At some point, you will have to create a life for yourself after treatment. This can be a scary concept. However, after treatment, you will have the tools that you need to overcome pesky triggers. You will also have new skills that will allow you to achieve goals and create healthier situations in your life.

Living with your triggers takes strength and a lot of willpower. However, when you can identify them, that is half the battle. With the help of a relapse prevention plan and newfound healthy coping skills you can use when triggers surface, you are on your way to starting a beautiful new chapter of sobriety.

What Can Cause My Triggers After Treatment?

Having a trigger can raise a red flag for some people in recovery. Let’s face it, it is easy to get wrapped up in life after treatment with work, school, kids, financial stressors, and relationships. It can also be easy to live life without enough healthy boundaries. You have been in treatment and returned home with all the tools, and you may assume you’ll be fine just living life as usual.

What if you have a trigger? Even worse, what if your trigger ends up being more impactful than you had anticipated? Maybe you had thought of a plan to use but you forgot to use it. You may be feeling disappointed in yourself for not being as strong as you wanted. All of these thoughts are normal.

Anything in your life can cause a trigger to surface. Inevitably, there will be stressors in your life. For example, triggers can include financial stability, relationships, employment, or health-related issues. Another trigger after treatment could be boredom. Your life was busy and structured in treatment. You had meetings, groups, and therapy to attend every day. In most circumstances, you could predict your day. Now you have a lot more unstructured time. Boredom is more likely to surface if you do not fill your schedule with activities.

Relapse Prevention Plan After Treatment

No matter how long you have been in treatment, it is important to construct a relapse prevention plan before you leave. A relapse prevention plan is exactly what it sounds like and is important in recovery. It is important to understand that relapse is always possible. However, it is preventable. By recognizing this, you should always be on guard about the potential for triggers in the people, places, and circumstances that surround you.

One of the best and most effective ways to stay vigilant is to have a relapse prevention plan. You will begin by outlining the steps to avoid a potential relapse and measures to be taken if a relapse were to occur. This is an effective way to avoid relapse and/or spiraling out of control if you experienced a trigger after treatment.

The plan should be written down and reviewed every so often. You can do this by yourself or with a therapist. The following will give you an outline of what is included in a relapse prevention plan:

  • A list of your potential triggers
  • An outline of triggers in categories: physical, mental, emotional, social, and environmental
  • Warning signs that you are triggered
  • Your reason for quitting (to remind yourself)
  • An outline of small, achievable goals
  • Possible healthy coping skills
  • Sources of positive support
  • Places to seek help
  • Actions to take if relapse occurs

Don’t Get Discouraged

It takes a lot of self-discipline and motivation to get to this point. Examining the root of your triggers and what is causing your stress can be the solution you have been searching for. You did not fail at anything just because triggers surfaced after treatment. Every person in recovery has experienced triggers after treatment. You are not alone.

At The Guest House, we understand your frustration with experiencing triggers after treatment. You may feel like the treatment did not work or feel disappointed in yourself.

The good news is that treatment did work because you can acknowledge your triggers. Recovery takes time. As you proceed on your recovery journey, you will continue to learn and grow. While triggers can always arise, you will find that they occur less often and that you are living trigger-free for longer periods of time. Progress, not perfection, is the goal.

If you have ever faced a trigger after treatment, know that you are not alone. Having a trigger does not mean that you did not learn anything or are not succeeding in recovery. You are just where you need to be. Experiencing triggers after treatment means that you learned how to identify and explore triggers during treatment. This can be a frustrating time in your recovery and you may feel alone. If you or someone you know are experiencing triggers or need help with exploring the meaning behind them, please reach out. At The Guest House, we understand how scary this can be and want to provide the support that you need. Give us a call today at (855) 483-7800.