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Addiction Relapse Prevention

What should I do when I’m triggered?

Addiction Relapse Prevention Plans for any addiction but specifically porn, sex, internet addiction, is a must. No matter what you may be struggling with, creating a relapse prevention plan, will help you find greater success in your recovery.

One of the keys to recovering from addiction is being able to recognize and manage the triggers. Suggestions for being able to deal with those triggers are-

Step 1: Recognize the Triggers

addiction trigger
Triggers can be just like a switch; it turns on, but it’s harder to turn it off.

The first key is to recognize the triggers for what they are. The beginning of your plan would be to start practicing recognition first.

  • What are some of your triggers?
  • Where are the triggers?
  • ‘What do I see as a beginning trigger and desire to use pornography or masturbation?’

You need to be careful and take a close look at your:

  • Situations
  • Environments
  • Decisions
  • Emotions

… that you feel in the process. If you are aware, you can usually trace your situation, environment, decision or feeling back to something that was a trigger. Tracing this emotion back is the beginning of your relapse prevention plan and a huge part of managing triggers. When you can see what it is, to begin with, you will discover the changes you need to make. You may not realize you may be triggering yourself without realizing it.

In the case of being able to recognize what may be causing the triggers is the first part of your plan.

Step 2: Specific Plan For the Trigger

The next step and a suggestion I might have would be to have a specific plan in mind for when that specific triggers experienced.

An example would be,

You feel triggered when you’re surfing the internet, or when you’re on social media.

You recognize that these are triggers because you’ve experienced them many times. (Step 1)

You can have a plan in place to be able to address this trigger. Having a specific plan will have a far-reaching impact; knowing that the trigger sets in motion things that are very powerful inside of your body and your brain. I know that once I start down that road, it’s tough to come back.

Addiction Relapse Prevention Plan Suggestions


  • Contact somebody that’s close to you.
    For example, let’s say I’m a young man who’s been triggered and I may want to reach out to somebody.

I might have a best friend or a series of close friends who I can directly call or text, and I can say, ‘Hey, I need to talk for a minute. I need a little bit of support right now because I’m having a difficult moment.’

Depending on your openness and your level of trust with that person, you may or may not get into the actual details of why you need some support. You could simply reach out and say, ‘Hey I just need someone to talk to for a minute. Can you just hang out, talk on the phone, or get together for a few minutes?’ Whatever. Reaching out to somebody close to you who is prepared for that kind of situation would be an excellent thing to do.

Addiction Relapse Prevention Plan Suggestions, Continued.

  • Short Showers
    Another example, ‘Let’s say that every morning when you get out of the shower to get ready for the day, you’re triggered. If that is a triggering moment, think about some of the steps you can take knowing full well that you will be triggered.

‘I’m going to shorten my shower. I’m going to get in and out quickly. I know the longer I remain in the shower, the trigger intensifies.’

  • Change the Pattern
    You know you’ll be triggered, so you modify the pattern that interrupts this trigger. For example, Set an appointment that’s going to require that you act quickly’ so that you are not in that environment very long.
addiction relapse
We must learn how to manage our triggers for successful recovery, set specific plans.

Be Specific

You will need to be very specific I have an appointment at 7:30. I’ll be on time, whether it’s a phone call or a physical meeting. I’m going to wake up at  6:45 and eat breakfast. I’m going to set a timer for 5min. I will take 5 min. shower. I will be on time for the appointment at 7:30.

When you stay mindful and keep your prefrontal cortex engaged, you don’t have a chance to worry about the triggers. You are involved in accomplishing a very specific task. Any triggers that come, you’re able to manage them more efficiently.

These are just a couple of suggestions on how to deal with some triggers that are very common.

Utah Family Therapy, 801.901.0279

Help for extreme cases of addiction, anxiety, and depression, Utah Family’s Intensive Outpatient Program in American Fork, UT.

Update to this article.

I talked with a young lady that has created a Crisis Plan for her depression, and I realized this would be perfect to add to this article. Here are the basics of her depression ‘Crisis Plan‘ or in this case an ‘Addiction Relapse Prevention Plan‘: