Memory is a strange thing when it comes to recovery. Triggers are essentially memories-circumstances, people, places, or feelings that your brain has come to associate with drinking or using. But for many of us, memories of times when we were intoxicated are distorted and fragmented. In recovery, we can feel grateful that we’re able to remember everything, while learning to cope with painful or triggering memories. Over time in recovery, you will discover both your triggers and what coping skills work best for you. This really is different for everyone, and what you need may change based on the trigger. With a particular bar or restaurant, for instance, you might need to avoid it, at least for a while. With a specific emotion, you can’t avoid it, but you can find healthy ways to process it. This might be through therapy, journaling, going for a walk, calling a supportive friend, meditating, making art. It’s important to allow yourself to feel your emotions, rather than numb out. Relying on one of these coping skills—or any number of others—can help you be with the emotion in a way that is less likely to drive you back to substances. You might also have painful memories from active addiction of things you did that you regret. It’s totally normal for these thoughts to arrive, and using some of the above-mentioned coping skills can help you process them. Try to show yourself compassion, which isn’t the same thing as shirking responsibility. You can hold yourself accountable for the ways you might have hurt people, while recognizing that you can’t control addiction and you are doing the work to be your best self. At over six years sober, I’m still in awe of the fact that I can remember every single moment of my life. I spent over a decade with pockets of every night missing from my memory. Remembering everything is no small thing; it’s a profound experience worth celebrating. Memory is an important part of our lives—and we can relate to it in very different ways in active addiction versus in recovery. Reclaiming our relationship to memory can be a powerful, empowering experience. If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you start making new, sober memories. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.