Two Adirondack chairs on a wooden dock facing the blue water of a lake in Muskoka, Ontario Canada. Canoe paddles and life jackets are on the dock. A cottage nestled between green trees is visible.

What comes to many people’s minds when they picture summertime is family vacations, social gatherings and events, salty snacks, cool desserts and lots of fun.

What comes to your mind, though? 

Maybe you envision all of those same things, but you also feel a twinge of unease. Maybe you fully plan on attending the various social gatherings and various celebrations with your family and friends, but there’s a fear of relapsing that lingers in the back of your mind.

It’s important to be aware of where you are in your recovery and to be honest with yourself. We’re here to give you tips on how you can best maintain your sobriety this summer.

What are addiction triggers?

Addiction carries with it various associations, familiar environments and specific individuals. Even after you’ve gone through detox and stepped into your new sober lifestyle, those experiences and memories remain. 

Encountering these various stimuli post-rehabilitation can be intense, and the temptation can sometimes be difficult to resist when you’re caught off guard. Maybe you run into an old acquaintance who invites you to engage in your previous substance of choice, or you catch a whiff of a scent that pulls you back to a past intoxicated moment or experience.

These cues, prompts and suggestions are known as addiction triggers. A trigger is anything that tempts or “triggers” a person to return to and indulge in a substance or other addictive behavior.

The exact triggers that affect an individual will vary based on the unique experiences they had with their addiction, but there are a variety of categories these triggers commonly fall into.

These categories include:

  • Emotional triggers
  • Social Triggers
  • Environmental triggers
  • Internal triggers (like cravings)
  • External triggers (like specific smells)
  • Withdrawal triggers (for those going through recovery)
  • Routine triggers (parts of your day once associated with substance use)

It’s important to remember that experiencing triggers isn’t restricted to any one phase of recovery or one part of the year, but it’s true they’re often abundant during the summer months.

How to maintain sobriety

When you’re fresh out of recovery, you might find it beneficial to avoid triggering situations altogether for a while (the exact amount of time varies per individual).

Returning to life with newfound sobriety brings with it a variety of responsibilities that may very well demand much of your focus for a while. As you adjust to your new sober lifestyle, many find it beneficial to avoid triggering situations altogether for a little while as they build their foundation and support network.

Avoiding triggers is only a short-term solution, though. Fostering a healthy mindset and establishing healthy coping mechanisms for when temptations occur is essential for long-term sobriety.

Some of the best ways to maintain sobriety include:

  • Hosting or co-hosting your own sober gatherings
  • Forming a personal support system for loved ones
  • Having a “sober buddy” to attend social events with
  • Connecting locally with other like-minded sober individuals
  • Practicing setting healthy boundaries and saying no
  • Prioritizing your mental and physical health

Lastly, one of the most effective ways to maintain your sobriety is to continue to lean on your professional support network. This includes support groups, therapy sessions, working with a nutritionist or counselor and more. You might find that certain forms of support are more beneficial to you in this phase of recovery, and that’s okay. Find the ones that work for you.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, is struggling to maintain sobriety on their own or has recently relapsed, send a message to our team here at Silvermist.

Create a sober summer plan today

Silvermist Recovery is a premier provider of addiction and mental health treatment in western Pennsylvania. We specialize in treating adult men who are struggling with substance use disorder by providing them with the proper tools, resources and support they need to thrive.

Due to the inherent harmful qualities of addiction, individuals with a substance use disorder are often simultaneously struggling with a mental health disorder. The presence of multiple disorders in a person is referred to as dual diagnosis, which we also offer comprehensive treatment for. 

To learn more about how we can help you regain your health, call us today.