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Are Triggers Real?

People in recovery often use triggers as an excuse. “I couldn’t help myself! Do you know what happened to me?”

Are Triggers Real? Overcoming Addiction through Identity in Christ

Yes. Triggers are real. Yes. It is an effective strategy for a person to manage exposure to triggers during the early stages of fighting through addiction or dysfunction—during the season where the stuff on the inside has not yet changed. But it is impossible to control life circumstances to the point that no triggers will come. What is possible is to move toward an overcoming lifestyle.

So, are triggers real?

The truth is that triggers have no power unless there is something there to trigger. There must be a point of woundedness, fear, or bitterness inside the person who is being triggered for the trigger to have any impact. When we subconsciously connect something, or many somethings, from the past that have been painful to a current situation, it is a trigger.

The key word is subconscious. As long as a trigger stays at a subconscious level, we have little or no power over it. Fear is present. Maybe even depression or deep anxiety, and there seems to be no reason for it. Life is happening in a negative way, and there seems to be little explanation for the confusion or pain.

The key to overcoming triggers is to recognize what is being triggered and how it is being triggered. By learning to see what is happening at the spirit level, we can unmask much of this confusion.

This starts with a question: Where is my spirit right now? Am I in a flow of fear? Of self hatred? Of anger? Of bitterness? What is being triggered is almost always tied to the deeper core values of the person. The same event can and will trigger different responses in different people. Different stuff on the inside. Different responses.

The person who has self hatred triggered in him is created to be more of a servant who is willing to sacrifice for others. The one who struggles with fear is a vision person who wants to be able to plan for positive outcomes. The one with an anger response loves to generate passion for what is right and true.

Overcoming Addiction through Identity in Christ

The greatest pain comes when we believe a life event is telling us that we have failed in our area of purpose. When that happens, we often receive it as a message from life that we are losers. Do you know your unique gift and calling? Try out our Spiritual Gifts Quiz to learn who God has created you to be, which will help you understand your passions and pains more.

It is not easy. It doesn’t end in a moment. In fact, because the values are so deeply etched within us, the battle will likely continue for the rest of our lives. But the more we defeat the triggers, the easier it gets. As time goes on, we develop the ability to overcome the most difficult things life can throw our way.

The power of a trigger is me. It is not outside of me. It is in me. It is me. When I learn that, I have the power to speak in a way that I can win. I can live an overcoming lifestyle. When triggers are no longer an excuse, I can choose to win!


What's Next?

Heart Change U offers has a whole toolkit to encourage and support you in the walk toward Heart Change. Check it out:


HeartChangeU tools for Small Groups & Church Leaders

Heart Change U is an online training platform for Christian counselors, church elders, pastors, and those who seek to help influence others in healing and growing in His image. Developed through more than 15 years of helping addicts and alcoholics heal at a spiritual level from the wounds that cause their addictions, these proven tools and approaches are intended to equip you to walk with others through the Heart Change process in order to become the men and women of God He is calling them to be.


The Omega Project: Faith Based Residential Recovery Program

The Omega Project Christian addiction recovery program offers a community of discipleship homes where assistance is always available to help fight through the challenges of dysfunction so that men and women may find and be restored to their created purpose.

If you or someone you love is caught in the stronghold of addiction, there is hope in Christ! Reach out to The Omega Project.


Bring Heart Change to Your Church or Community




Ask us how to bring Heart Change to your congregation or community!


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