In the literature and language of substance use disorder treatment, recovery, and relapse, a trigger is a caution sign that the person in recovery may be in danger of relapse. Each person has his own set of triggers by which another recovering individual might not be affected at all. A trigger is any person, place, thing, time, event, aroma, taste, sound, or idea that revives or intensifies the individual’s cravings to drink alcohol or to use drugs. A trigger could be something as major as spending the evening at the old familiar bar with all of one’s former drinking buddies or as ordinary as pulling a particular shirt out of the drawer, hearing a certain ringtone, or smelling cigarette smoke. To maintain sobriety, the recovering alcoholic must be constantly on guard for, and take careful measures to avoid, anything that might act as a trigger and undermine his efforts.

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