Denial is one of the hallmarks of addiction. It’s a tool that an addict will use to hold onto the one coping mechanism they know. Accepting that you are struggling with withdrawal triggers is a major victory over denial. However, the battle does not end there.
Denial follows every individual into drug rehab. Recognizing it over and over again is one of the most difficult battles many people face in recovery. And it is no more evident than when you are trying to identify your withdrawal triggers.
A common refrain you’ll hear from anyone struggling with addiction is that they can “handle it.” They can handle going back into the environment where they got high. They can handle their friendships with people who are still getting high. They can handle going back to the job that they’d previously used drugs just to get through.
You probably have many of your own examples. Problem is, even if someone points them out to you, you will struggle to identify these things as triggers. Fortunately, there’s a way to do so even as your thoughts lag behind.
Identify Withdrawal Triggers Using your Body
We always say that addiction has both mental and physical components. But the truth is that even the mental components are somewhat physical. Feelings happen in your body, not your mind. Emotional urges are felt physically. They translate into and influence your thoughts, but they always present in your body as well.
Because of this, you can use your body to identify your triggers, without having to completely overcome the denial going on in your head.
One of the important skills you will learn in rehab is the body scan. Starting from your head or your toes, you gradually focus on each part of your body, noticing any feelings there. You might feel a weight on your chest, butterflies in your stomach, tightness in your face, and many other sensations particular to you.
These sensations can point you in the right direction, helping you identify that a trigger brings up certain feelings, even if you can’t identify exactly what those feelings are.
You’ll also check for action urges. Does your body feel agitated, like you need to do something to get rid of your feelings? Maybe you feel like punching a wall. Sometimes you will feel like crawling up into a ball and going to sleep.
These urges imply that your body is trying to get rid of certain feelings. If thinking about a situation brings up one of these urges, chances are it is still a trigger for you.
Denial does come in many forms, and sometimes your mind won’t even let you hear what your body is trying to tell you. However, over time, you will begin to have a better idea of how your triggers make you feel, and you’ll be more likely to see through the denial. This doesn’t mean it will be easy or that the denial won’t sometimes win. But it’s a good start.
Learning to pay attention to what your body is telling you is an incredibly important aspect of recovery. Sometimes, instead of fighting a never-ending battle against your thoughts, focusing on the body can provide a wonderful outlet.