At AToN Center we believe in practicing exposure to some of the elements that could be triggering over the weekends with a purpose of minimizing the stress of being exposed to these factors. For many people the external triggers such as seeing alcohol, being in a restaurant with a bar, seeing people on dates, being in crowds, or doing activities associated with drinking or using as well as internal triggers of boredom, depression, missing family and friends, loneliness, lack of structure, or anxiety may be challenging to them when they leave treatment and re-enter the world.
We schedule outings that include activities and locations that may bring about these triggers and walk our residents through the experience as well as have them plan ahead for potential challenges and afterward evaluate how it went and how practicing coping skills for these triggers was beneficial to them. We also allow contact with the outside world while in treatment so they can work through and deal with some potential relational stressors prior to leaving our program. This alleviates some of the initial shock of experiencing these things sober as well as teaches them we are not to hide away now that we are changing our lifestyle but to get out and enjoy life in a way that is meaningful and positive.
In 12 Step Programs it is said “While you were drinking, you were withdrawing from life little by little. Now you are getting back into the social life of this world. Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand.” AA Big Book pg. 102.