Conquering Triggers: Strategies for Overcoming Fear in the Early Stages of Recovery

If you’re walking the road of recovery and feeling overwhelmed by triggers, fear-based thinking, or unwanted behaviors, you’re not alone. The early stages of recovery can be challenging, but learning helpful strategies can help immensely.

This article provides practical strategies that will assist you in identifying and managing triggers, understanding how fear can affect the recovery process, and developing effective coping skills to ensure long-term sobriety.

What Are Triggers? Identifying Fear-Based Thinking

Triggers are emotional or situational cues that can lead to cravings for drugs or alcohol. These triggers can be as simple as seeing a certain object, tasting food, hearing a particular sound, being in a certain place, or even dealing with certain people.

When these triggers are activated, we experience an increase in fear-based thinking and behaviors. In order to successfully manage triggers, it is important to be able to identify them and understand how they can lead to unwanted thoughts or behavior, such as picking up a drink or drug.

Recognizing the signs of fear-based thinking is helpful, such as negative self-talk or irrational beliefs about your circumstances. Common examples of negative thinking include thoughts like, “I am not good enough”, “I can’t do it”, or “I will never be able to get sober.”

These kinds of thoughts can lead to increased distress and increased cravings for drugs or alcohol. As you travel the road of recovery, you’ll want to recognize these thoughts and take steps to challenge them in order to successfully manage triggers.

By being aware of the signs of this type of negative thinking and recognizing potential triggers, you can work towards developing effective strategies for managing triggers and ultimately achieving long-lasting sobriety.

Strategies for Managing Triggers in Recovery

Once you identify triggers, there are several strategies that can be used to successfully manage them.

Relaxation Techniques: One important strategy is learning relaxation techniques like deep breathing and mindfulness exercises. These techniques can help you reduce your stress levels and gain control over fear-based thinking.

Take time daily, even if it’s just for a few minutes, to get quiet and focus on your breath. You may even want to give meditation a try. This can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, and to release any tension or stress that you may be holding onto. Over time, this practice can help to reduce anxiety, increase self-awareness, and promote a sense of calm and well-being.

Cognitive Restructuring: Another strategy is cognitive restructuring, which involves reframing negative thoughts into positive ones. Taking time to practice positive affirmations and self-talk can also be effective in managing triggers.

Relapse Prevention Plan: Additionally, you can develop a relapse prevention plan, which involves identifying potential triggers and developing coping strategies to manage them. This can help to reduce the likelihood of falling back into unwanted thinking patterns and can give you a sense of control and empowerment.

Support System: Creating a support system by connecting with other individuals in recovery can also be beneficial for those struggling with triggers. Receiving encouragement from peers who understand the challenges of recovery can provide invaluable support and accountability.

Healthy Activities: Finally, engaging in healthy activities such as exercising, practicing yoga or meditation, and spending time with friends and family can help reduce stress levels and keep cravings at bay.

By implementing these strategies, you can develop a better understanding of your triggers and take steps to manage them in a safe, healthy way.

Understanding the Role of Fear and Stress in Addiction Recovery

Fear and stress are two powerful emotions that can have a significant impact on addiction recovery. It is essential for individuals in recovery to be aware of these feelings and understand how they can affect their well-being. Fear can lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, while stress can lead to a heightened state of arousal that triggers cravings for drugs or alcohol.

Be mindful of your fear and stress levels and understand that these emotions are normal reactions to the challenges you may face during your journey to sobriety. Taking steps to reduce these can be extremely beneficial, as it can help you gain control over your thoughts and behaviours, increase your self-efficacy, and build resilience. It is also important to remember that recovery is not a linear process, and managing triggers will require practice.


Recovery from addiction can be a complex and challenging journey that requires dedication and perseverance. However, by understanding the role of fear and stress in addiction recovery and developing effective coping skills, you can learn to manage your triggers effectively and take steps toward achieving sobriety.

Are you struggling with addiction and can’t seem to stop on your own? If so, know that it’s alright to ask for help. It’s time to take that first step, take control of your life, and seek help. Whether it’s through a treatment program, a 12 Step group, or counseling, there are resources available to assist you in overcoming negative emotions and breaking free from addiction.

Additionally, if you suspect there may be an underlying mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety, there are professionals who can guide you in identifying and addressing these issues. Don’t wait any longer, take action and reach out to substance abuse and mental health professionals today.

A fulfilling life awaits you beyond the struggles of addiction and emotional turmoil. The key to reaching it is making the decision to bring about positive change in your life, and doing whatever it takes to get on the road to recovery.

You don’t have to struggle alone. At Into Action Recovery Society, we are here to support you in your journey to overcome addiction and build a better life. Our professional, evidence-based treatment programs are designed to help you succeed.

And, for those in need, we offer recovery houses in Vancouver as a temporary housing solution. Take your first step towards recovery and give us a call today.


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