I have posted about relapse, slips and other such things regarding recovery. Today i want to talk about triggers.
Most of us are aware of what they are and some of us even know most of our own. If you are new to recovery though there are some great articles online. It’s super important to be aware and continue to become aware of your triggers. That was something i didn’t know about when i first started getting sober in 2018.
One of my triggers was playing music and painting.I used to spend every Thursday night( my night off) drinking and painting. I looked forward to it, playing whatever music caught my fancy , as loud as i could for hours. Eventually, i would usually mess up said painting in my drunkenness and be upset about it the the next day. Over time, i just stopped caring and figured i was destined to waste a canvass or two every week. I planned it into my budget – another expense related to being an alcoholic.i had to stop painting for awhile until i got a handle on things. and when i did it wasn’t pretty. That blank canvass just stares at you.
Another trigger for me was being around others who were drinking. I realized i had to basically stop going anywhere socially for a long period of time. It was especially tough for me to isolate from former drinking buddies. Indeed, one i had distanced from died during my own recovery and i still grieve for the loss of time i could have had with her. But at the time , i knew in order to save myself i could not be around it.I had hoped the same for her.
I do remember the first time i went to an art event without my “buddy” alcohol. It was extremely hard. They had no coffee- just wine and water. I was SO sick of water by that point, even though previously i loved water ( and still do). I am not a fan of much else other than coffee. Anyway, i made it through an hour and came home. After that it wasn’t as hard but i was still careful not to go out too often. About 7 or 8 months in i decided to join a weekly figure drawing session. Baby steps. Mostly people didn’t drink, but there was always wine in the fridge for people and too, they often got together before or after for drinks. I did not participate and sometimes felt like the oddball. I continued going though, as i enjoyed the company of other artists in a small setting and was passionate about improving my skills.
So , a little research online states that the most common triggers are as follows:
- withdrawal symptoms
- emotional distress
- peer pressure
- increase monetary resources
- testing boundaries
I would have to say emotional distress ( depression/anxiety for me) and social situations ( peer pressure) would be my worst ones. I have to fight very very hard during these times, and haven’t always succeeded.
That being said, i am AF 116 days out of the last 120. And thats still something.
I am learning more and more about my triggers as i go and do my best to avoid them. It’s a tad rough to avoid depression though and i have found that when it hits me hard i really struggle. But in the end i usually make it through with exercise, fresh air, meditating and – i hate to say it- smoking. I still have not conquered that one.
I hope everyone is doing well. What are your triggers and how do you deal with them?