Three Triggers and How to Avoid Them in Early Recovery

Early recovery is an extremely crucial time for those trying to readjust to life after treatment. While early recovery is an opportunity to begin a new chapter in one’s life and reconnect with loved ones, it’s important to be aware of triggers in order to prevent relapse.

Often, set and setting are huge factors in a person’s decision to drink or use drugs again, which is why it’s so important to avoid them in early recovery.

The Most Common Triggers to Avoid

If you or someone you know is in early recovery, below are some of the drug and alcohol triggers you should be aware of:


After receiving drug and alcohol treatment, there’s a tendency to feel as though you’ve been “cured” from addiction. You may have felt so horrible before treatment, but now you feel so good that you trick yourself into believing your problems are all over. You may even believe you don’t need any continuing treatment, but this is far from the truth.

Ways to avoid it: It’s important to remember that addiction recovery is a lifelong journey. Recovery is a process and many people continue their care through outpatient treatment, whether it’s through cognitive behavioral therapy, group counseling, meditation, or other holistic therapies, and journal writing.

Writing in a recovery journal about your progress and/or difficulties daily is a good way to identify your own behaviors and thought processes. Sharing this with your sponsor or therapist can provide you with a realistic perspective on your progress throughout recovery.

Emotional Issues

Family, social and work pressures can make it difficult to control negative emotions and avoid personal conflicts. De-regulation of emotions are the most common triggers for relapse such as: feelings of self-pity, fear, depression, anxiety, hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness.

Ways to avoid it: Attending ongoing individual therapy and group meetings are the best way to open up and become more transparent about what’s going on in your life. Regularly attending group meetings, whether it’s family therapy, AA or NA meetings, will help you better understand the process of recovery and how you can develop healthy coping mechanisms.


Sometimes going back to the same places can remind you of certain events or circumstances that can trigger relapse. Whether it’s meeting up with people from the past or attending a bar, club, or social scene like a music festival, these environments can be very risky to someone in early recovery.

Ways to avoid it: Engaging in new activities and hobbies are the best ways to avoid compromising environments. Find new friends to hang out with who support the recovery community or maybe fellow alumni. You’ll find that changing your social setting, your circle of friends, exercising and eating healthier, will help you enjoy a healthy lifestyle clean and sober.

Another great way to avoid triggers is to write down your goals and show it to a trusted family member, friend, sponsor and/or therapist. Showing someone your goals and having a realistic plan of action to do them makes you more likely to achieve them.

Start a New Lifelong Journey

There are different stages to recovery and each person adjusts in their own way. As you grow through the process, you’ll learn more about yourself, how to avoid triggers and how to live in the present moment while achieving your goals.