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Deal with triggers

A trigger is a familiar situation that causes a very strong craving.

A trigger is when you see your bong sitting on the coffee table and it gives you the urge to smoke, or when a friend starts passing around a joint and it makes you want to have a smoke. It's like feeling hungry when you smell food cooking. However, unlike food, you never truly need to smoke. Steering clear of triggers can help you avoid slips (smoking when you planned not to). If you feel like you're about to slip, or you do slip - hit the HELP! button above.

6 ways to avoid triggers

  1. Change the way you think about smoking. Unlike air, water and food, cannabis is something you can choose to use, or not.
  2. Remove yourself from trigger situations e.g. avoid friends who use cannabis for a few weeks, re-arrange the room you most commonly smoke in, remove all bongs, papers and cannabis-related paraphernalia
  3. Put off the decision to smoke for 15 minutes. Most cravings are time-limited and you can ride them out. Each time you do it successfully, you will find it easier the next time.
  4. Do something else every time you feel like smoking that is unrelated to smoking, e.g. ring someone, go for a walk , read a book, watch an episode of a series, go for a swim/skate/ride – anything you don’t do while you smoke.
  5. Remind yourself every day of your successes so far.
  6. Have a list of people who are supportive of what you're trying to do, and call or message them.

Managing your triggers

The best way to deal with potential triggers is to think of what they could be before they happen and create a plan to avoid it occurring, and an action to stop you having a smoke if it does happen. But if watching the rugby with your brother is a trigger for you, this doesn't mean you'll never see him again. But it might mean not seeing him when you're stressed, or finding other things to do with your brother. Over time, your triggers will no longer cause a craving.

Trigger Trigger avoidance plan Trigger override plan
Hanging with smoking mates Avoid smoking friends for a while and eliminate all papers and bongs etc from my flat When the bong comes out, go for a walk long before it gets around the circle to me
Cravings Keep busy, eat well, and do some exercise Don't fight it, delay decision for 15 minutes.

PotHelp Journal Entry: My triggers

List your potential triggers, and number them. Then, in the correct boxes, add a way to avoid it happening, and a way to get through it if it does happen.

Note: The first box is for notes only. Numbering each entry will make it easier to follow when you come back.