Opiates, whether they are found in prescription or illegal drugs, are some of the most addicting substances people can struggle against. If you’re trying to stay clean, it’s very important to understand how cravings work and what can trigger an opiate addiction.


“Just One More Time”


Even if you’re in recovery, even if you’ve been in recovery for months or years, the whisper in the back of your mind will never be completely silenced. It will hint that maybe you wouldn’t ruin all you’ve worked for if you only used one more time. This voice is the craving that hums under every thought and emotion, and it never quite goes away. Recovery is the lifelong process of ignoring that voice tempting you to use one more time.


Triggers of Opiate Addiction Addicts Must Avoid


Sometimes, though, the voice gets louder, more insistent, overwhelming. These moments are known as triggers. One of the most important tasks of the recovery process is anticipating these triggers.


Triggers may be different for different people. Below are some of the most common triggers for those struggling with opiate addiction.


  • Pain. Many people’s opiate addictions began with pain killers, and beating their addiction sometimes means dealing with pain. And of course, emotional or mental pain such as a breakup, the loss of a job, or a severe disappointment–can trigger cravings in an opiate addict.
  • Withdrawal. Many people are unprepared for the intense cravings brought on by the very attempt not to use. Withdrawal is difficult, and while it’s happening, the addict knows that he’d feel a lot better if he could just use one more time.
  • Old Friends. Most people in recovery find that they can’t hang out with the people they used to get high with. But even if you have new friends now, you can’t avoid your old ones forever. And with old friends come old patterns of behavior.
  • Failure. Sometimes we fail, but for someone in recovery, failure can be especially crushing. The feeling of “I mess everything up,” or “I’ll never be able to do this,” is a trigger for the follow up, “so I might as well use.” Part of our recovery must include learning how to deal with the failures everyone encounters without turning back to drugs.
  • Stress. If you’re under a lot of stress, the relief of using your opiate can be a powerful trigger. Find ways of dealing with stress before it comes up. Stress comes with its own health challenges–it won’t help to add drugs to the mix.


Planning for Success


People recovering from an opiate addiction absolutely must have a plan for dealing with cravings when they are triggered. Here are some ideas that might help when the cravings are triggered.


  • Keep your eyes on the prize. What is it that is more important to you than using opiates? Your marriage? Your career? Your self-respect? Your reputation? Think about those things, and all you would sacrifice for them. Sacrifice using just one more day for those things as well.
  • Ride it out. Cravings will come, and then they will subside again. Make a list of things you can do to stay away until they pass. Call your sponsor, leave the house, go for a run…fill the time from when the craving is triggered to when it fades, but make sure you’ve planned it ahead of time.


Cravings and triggers of opiate addiction are hard to beat, but you can do it. With planning and support, cravings and triggers of an opiate addiction do not have to derail your recovery!

If you need help overcoming an opiate addiction, there are resources available to help you on your way. The staff at Hired Power can answer questions and provide guidance 24/7.  Just call us at 800-910-9299.