Sunday, November 20, 2016

What's Your Plan When Your Triggers Happen?

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses because it reminds me that God really does have amazing plans for me and that I need to let go of my agendas and submit to his.

BUT, this does not mean that there should be no planning going on in our lives. This verse refers to long term - where the direction of your life is going. When in recovery from an addiction, habit, hurt or hang-up, you must plan because part of recovery is identifying your triggers. And that's great - but then what?

We must then figure out what we will do when trigger occurs - and that takes planning! If we continue to do what we have always done then we get the same results. If we say "God will handle it now that I've admitted to him I'm a sinner" then we are being foolish.  God wants us to make our own choices not because he makes us or says so - but because he wants a relationship with us. And by making the right choices on our own we are declaring that we have let the old ways past and desire a new life.

So what do we do to combat our triggers? I can't tell you that because everyone's lives and circumstances are different.

Perhaps think about the yellow lights in the recoveryBox app and how they connect to triggers.

Yellow lights are based on being with a person who can lead us to acting out, a place that can lead us to acting out or a thing that can lead to acting out.

For example, if you know that going to a mall will tempt you to overspend, then don't go there. Perhaps in the past you would go to the mall when you got stressed out at work. The trigger of stress in our lives won't go away - so substitute where you will go when you feel that stress. Instead of the mall, perhaps go work out or go for a walk. Change the routine. Make a plan to handle the trigger of stress.

It's Friday night and you feel so alone at your apartment by yourself. In the past you would turn on the computer and start surfing for porn. What can you do? We aren't meant to be alone in life (which is why God created Eve for Adam). Find something to do in place of the computer to combat the isolation. Enroll in a cooking class or find a group that meets that has similar hobby interests to yours.

Planning is not something that we evaluate once and then say - OK, I'm good. This is what I'll do. No, planning to change what we do when we face triggers is a life long exercise that must be evaluated for it's effectiveness. And that's where your sponsor or accountability partner can help.

Recovery from an addiction is not easy - but with some planning and support we can succeed.