I’m not Dr. Phil. I’m not an addiction professional and I don’t have a single certification to my name. I’m a garden variety drunk who has found a way to stay sober through Alcoholics Anonymous. This is just my opinion — I have nothing to back it up, except my own experience — but I don’t believe in in “triggers”. Triggers are jargon from treatment centers; not A.A. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they’re not “real” or “true”. I’m just pointing out that it’s a word made up by people who stand to make a lot of money if you relapse. I’ve seen lists of “Warning signs of relapse”. I think they’ve covered the gamut. If they’re true… well, we’re all screwed. I’ve got at least one of those going on every day of my life.
The word “triggers” is similar to “stress”. Stress is not a psychological term. Stress is an engineering term indicating the effect of time, weight and environment on materials. Doctors have usurped the term and applied it to OUR lives: yours and mine. Now there is something that we cannot cure by ourselves. We are diagnosed with a pill deficiency, which they and Big Pharma can cure for the proper monetary contribution.
But when we look at it, isn’t stress really a mixture of fear, uncertainty, self-doubt and either too large of a workload or poor time management… maybe a few other things? If we tackle each of those individually — because we KNOW how to cure those — we find that the “stress we could not cope with” has dissipated all by itself.
Let’s simplify that list of “Warning signs of relapse” — the one I saw was 37 items — down to just: hungry, angry, lonely and tired. I would invite you to think of those four things a different way: those are the things that “I don’t like to feel”. Therefore when I feel those things I want to feel different. Alcohol has always been the thing that helped me to feel different, more comfortable… So for those who have not learned a different way of life, drinking may be a solution for those four things (and anything else that makes them feel uncomfortable).
And THAT is what the problem has always been: alcohol — which has created problems in our lives in the past — often presents itself as the solution to each new problem. Our solution — alcohol — causes more pain than the actual problem.
Those items CANNOT be triggers — or cause me to relapse — because I know I never have to drink again. There is no such thing as something that will “cause me to drink”. My father dying didn’t cause it. Hell, living homeless didn’t make me drink and I can assure you I was hungry, angry, lonely and tired every minute of it. There are problems that every human being on the face of the earth has to face every day. 90% of these people never think of taking a drink to “solve” the death of a loved one, losing their job or not knowing how to dance. We call these facing “life on life’s terms”. We don’t like them, but we learn to deal with them more effectively.
You never have to drink again. You have steps that can help you get through any situation life throws at you. Therefore there is no such thing as “Warning signs of relapse” or “triggers to drink/use”. There are “Warning signs of feeling shitty”, but feeling shitty doesn’t mean you have to drink.
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