5 Online Triggers to Avoid in Early Recovery

Research shows that 40 to 60 percent of people who have been treated for addiction or alcoholism relapse within a year. Relapse is more likely when you’re exposed to certain triggers, like being around drugs or visiting places you associate with using.

You might have heard the phrase, ‘people, places, things’, regarding triggers and how to avoid them. In the age of technology, avoiding people, places, and things is just as important online as it is in the real world. Steering clear of the five online triggers below should increase your chances of a successful recovery.

1. Visiting Drug Related Forums

There are plenty of drug forums out there, and while you’re in active addiction it can feel comforting to connect with other drug users online. However, once you’re in recovery it’s essential to cut ties with online communities that encourage or enable your drug use. Even if you think it’s harmless to browse, seeing pictures of drugs and stories about drug use can be extremely triggering.

If you’re missing being part of an online community, look for a recovery forum to join instead. You’ll benefit from the same kind of support from fellow addicts, without the dangerous risks.

2. Messaging Friends Who Are Still Using

Do you have friends you always tend to message when you’re high? Or people you only really talk to about drugs? As difficult as it can be to let go of friendships, staying in touch with friends who are still using is a recipe for disaster. You’ll be exposed to constant triggers, and there’s a good chance you’ll be tempted to use again – particularly during times of stress.

If you still need someone to talk to online, try connecting with others in recovery. You can share milestones and keep each other accountable, instead of encouraging bad habits.

3. Listening to Music You Associate With Drugs

In early recovery, it doesn’t take much to trigger drug cravings. If you follow musicians who commonly include drug-related lyrics in their songs, it’s wise to steer clear for a while. Try making some new playlists full of songs which make you feel happy, positive, and motivated. You might even discover some awesome new artists in the process.

4. Following Drug-Related Social Media Pages

While in active addiction, you might have filled your newsfeed with updates from fellow users, drug memes, and other unhelpful content. Take some time to go through each of your social media accounts and unfollow any which are likely to post triggering content.

If you want a completely fresh start, you could make new accounts – or take a break from using social media altogether. Remember, you can’t heal your mind from addiction if you’re constantly bombarding it with drug-related imagery.

5. Browsing Sites That Sell Drugs

If you’ve ever bought drugs online, you might be tempted to take a look at the sites you used – even if you’re not consciously planning a relapse. This behavior is extremely risky and won’t benefit you in any way, so be sure to delete any bookmarks and find other things to do when you’re tempted to browse. It’s easy for ‘just looking’ to turn into a full blown relapse, so don’t take any risks.

The kind of content you look at online can have a huge impact on your recovery. Set yourself up for success by avoiding the online triggers above.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash