When you’re addicted to something or some behavior, it does not take much to drag you into that pattern again. Just a thought or a sight of that thing, or any trigger can make you get into your addictive behavior and pattern. For example, a little argument with you wife, or some anger on someone or something can get you into the addictive behavior of alcohol use or some other addiction. At one hand, you cannot avoid such situation, because you have to face many people and many situations every day, which can make you get into that old addictive pattern.
The magic behind all the addictions is triggers. The trigger is something which makes you act out your addictive behavior. If you can deactivate the trigger, you can get out of this vicious circle of addiction and can set yourself on the path of addiction recovery. The trigger can be anything like a person, place, situation, environment, food or anything else. It is not necessary that your trigger is related to something bad. The trigger can be related to good things as well. For example, your alcohol or substance abuse might be triggered by your achievements. Whenever, you achieve something your urge to act out your addiction drags you into that old pattern.
You should understand that you have full control over your thoughts and actions. With addiction, you might believe that you can’t do much about your trigger response; whereas, in reality, your brain is very powerful and you can have full control over it. It is you who has to decide whether you have to act out after this trigger or not. The only thing is you need to learn about these triggers. You need to see what causes you to get into your additive behavior.
In order to understand, you have to note down when you get into the addictive behavior. What happened before you thought of your addiction? Where were you when you thought of the addiction? Who was with you? What were you doing? What were you listening or watching? Were you happy, angry, anxious, stressed, or bored? What were you thinking about when you got into that addiction? What did you thought about achieving by acting out?
When you start noticing your patterns, you’ll see that there are a few specific things which happen right before your behavior. Every time you get into your behavior, you have similar scenario. The major problem here is that you have linked your behavior to a reward. For example, you might feel happier after acting out your pattern and you have linked this happiness to your addiction. Every time you act out, this link gets stronger and stronger in the brain. The new patterns are formed in the brain and you feel more strongly about your addiction.
As we already shared to understand your triggers. You also need to write those triggers down for future reference. Now, you need to make a plan to avoid those triggers and rewire your brain at the same time. You need to avoid the people, places, situations, and things which make you get into your addictive behavior. Find new people, places, situations, and things to change your routine. Avoid stress, anger and anxiety. Take care of your health, fitness, and well being. If you get into the same old situation, try to get out and change your view, thoughts, and focus. Do something different. Do things differently and at different places.
You can also get external support like reading good books on addiction, joining a group which can support, or starting some program on addiction recovery to help you get rid of your addictions. This will take time, but soon you’ll be able to get rid of the old patterns and start your life with a new outlook and real emotions.