Many people in recovery will experience situations that trigger them, especially those who have past trauma. When you experience fear during an accident or a crisis situation it triggers the same response mechanism that was activated in the previous trauma. This may also trigger a subsequent desire to relapse into old addictive behaviors.
Becoming aware of triggers is an important way of guarding against this possibility.
When Old Feelings Surface
As recovery deepens and surface memories are replaced by those that have been buried more deeply in the subconscious, people often face emotions that may surprise them and catch them off guard.
This does not mean that you need to relapse. These newly surfaced feelings are an opportunity to work through old emotions in ways that may not have been possible in the past. With the support and understanding that bolsters one's sense of safety, whether from a therapist, sponsor, or others, people can begin to express feelings they may not have been aware of in their earlier recovery.
The process is long-term and you will continue to uncover emotional "baggage" that has been stored away for many years in some cases.
Crises situations often bring old emotions home to roost. It is part of recovery that is sometimes frightening and surprising for those who believe they have fully recovered from their addiction and processed all of the necessary emotional attachments. Although you may have touched on some of your feelings about situations and people in your past, you may need to work a bit deeper at this juncture.
Being Forewarned Helps
Weathering a current crisis situation is difficult when you don't expect to feel the depth of emotions that show up. It is wise for people who are recovering from addiction to know that they will sometimes feel things that are not necessarily related to the situation they may find themselves in. Old wounds will appear. Often, people respond to a feeling that is similar to one from another time.
If you are prepared to have strong emotional responses to situations that feel like another situation from their past, you can be prepared to walk through the feelings and process them without relapsing into an old behavior or even your addiction.