Early recovery can be a glorious time in a person's life. It is a time of new beginnings and new experiences while being clean of opiates. You may feel as though you are reborn and everything around you seems a little brighter. This is because you are not under the influence of opiates that make you feel numb. Most addicts who are clean for a little time, are amazed by how "numb" they really were when using. Opiates have the ability to strip you of ambition and put you in a bad situation (both mentally and physically), but once you have some time clean, you can see how much of your life you have been missing.
It is easy to stay motivated in the beginning of recovery once you overcome the withdrawals. Each day you remain clean is a little victory. It is exciting to feel emotions again and to get natural highs out of life. You will most likely feel healthier and are moving on the right track until you run into a trigger.
Triggers are things that remind you of using opiates. Triggers can be people, places, or things, and can come out of nowhere. For example, a few months after I had started my recovery I was in a convenience store. While I was walking through the store a man walked by me who was wearing cologne that someone I used to use with wore. It instantly brought me to a place mentally that I did not want to go and it completely caught me off guard. I began to sweat and feel sick to my stomach and I immediately left the store and went home.
When I got home I wrote about my experience on my blog and it helped me to relax. (Writing for me in early recovery was very therapeutic). Knowing that triggers are all around you, especially in the town you used is important to know. You need to stay vigilant against triggers and try to avoid as many as possible.
Triggers can pop up out of nowhere and catch you completely off guard. It is very important to get away from the trigger immediately. If you have friends that you know use opiates, do not hang around them. If you are in their company and they have opiates on them, you are playing with fire. You will not stay clean if you see drugs in front of you. It will only be a matter of time before you convince yourself that you can have “just one.” That one pill or bag will destroy your recovery and start a snowball effect that will lead you back down the path you do not want to go.
Stay away from places where you have used. Being in a place that reminds you of using will eat away at your conscience. The area may make you feel claustrophobic and stress you out. You may even begin to have cravings. Early in recovery you are not strong enough to be in places that cause triggers. Do not try to test the waters. If you are put in a situation where you end up in a place you used to use, leave immediately.
Triggers are dangerous to those in recovery but they can be overcome. Careful planning each day to avoid triggers is necessary in early recovery. Do not put yourself in a position to fail. You have come this far in your recovery and you should be proud, so do not do anything to potentially destroy it.