Thursday, April 7, 2011

Triggers as opportunities

Much of the fear in recovery is around the fear of relapse and the fear of triggers contributing to relapse. Fear is a powerful feeling. It often sets up paralysis, anxiety, and retrenchment. When faced with any fear, individuals will sometimes literally shrink physically and emotionally.

Rather than focus on the fear, I ask you to think of the triggers as opportunities. (And no, this doesn’t mean you have to search out triggers; there are enough that will simply show up in your daily journey!). As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

When faced with a trigger, implementing a pre-identified plan is always helpful (hence the continuing care plan). On a larger level, your response also gives insight into your overall worldview. You “get” the opportunity to examine how show up in the world. For example, are you hopeful? fearful? careless? planful? Are you playing a victim? Are you acting from integrity? Isolating? Or are you reaching out for support?

All of the worldviews are available when faced with a trigger. As your recovery grows, you can sometimes answer these questions in the moment. Other times it may be after the fact that you recognize the patterns in your response. Reviewing your response is a way to continue the journey in recovery.

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