You’re staying off the drink! But how do you deal with those triggers? Y’know, the ones that are just laying in wait to weaken your most hardened resolve… to a liquid dissolve! Suddenly, it’s a minefield out there. And inside your house too – that sofa in front of the TV was your daily refuge! You never realised before just how many ‘situations’ there are waiting to set you off!
It may seem that the first days of your road to recovery are no more than a pitting of wits against an avenging alien ready to hijack your central control panel and send you spinning backwards into deepest addiction space.
Tragically, it’s not a nightmare fiction but a cold reality for many. Just an estimated “one in three people who have a problem with alcohol return to sensible drinking or stop drinking”, according to independent health site, Patient.co.uk.
Encouragingly, the number of people successfully completing their treatment for addiction has increased by 6 per cent from 40,908 in 2013 to 43,530 in 2014, according to ‘Alcoholic Treatment’, a Report by Public Health England, Oct 2014. On the other hand, the agency report that the proportion of people who dropped out of treatment has remained steady at 26 per cent since 2012-13.
So about those triggers – those ‘high-risk’ stress factors that can so easily spark up a thought, feeling, urge or craving for a drink. And not just a swift half…
Double loaded barrels
Recognising that triggers are primed with potentially double loaded barrels just ready to go off is vitally important. What does this mean? It means there are two types of triggers. The first is out there in the world – people, places, objects and situations – and the second in the mind, wired to memories, feelings, thoughts and physical sensations. They are ready to shoot you down without mercy!
Helplessly giving in to temptation once again can stir up violent feelings of fear, anger, shame and despair. You feel you’re just not going to make it. Why bother fighting the urge to take a drink…
Whoa! Stop! See what’s going on here? Take a moment and look at what you’re saying – and doing to yourself!
Just do something else! Stop thinking and instead, action – let’s try some practical stuff… avoiding those triggers in the first place. Make a mental note, write them down on a piece of paper! Type it in to your phone!
Where are those triggers likely to be in your everyday life? It could be a familiar list!
Firstly – do old friends and ‘acquaintances” you used to go drinking with keep getting in touch?
Secondly – do you find yourself more and more passing nearby to places where you used to do your drinking?
Thirdly – do you keep spotting half-opened bottles or cans wherever you look?
Fourthly – do you recall a special day, event – or even a time of day – as being linked to taking a drink?
Your own unique triggers
Recognise your own unique triggers too. They could be any situation, which you know makes you upset or vulnerable to stirring up strong emotions, such as being criticised, getting into an argument, even hearing ‘bad news’.
Here’s some good news though – writing it down, making a list of triggers to avoid – an activity that can help to make you keep to that very list – it can work for you – why not give it a go.
Phone not charged? You’ll need a pen or pencil…!