It was asked in yesterday’s group session, “What are some of your triggers?”
The dodgeball fan in me says, “I don’t really have any...I got this.” The honest part of me sees that I can be drawn within a breathe a drink in seconds...and it’s a very real thing I have to understand.
A ‘trigger’ is an association made through repetition and time. Consider Pavlov’s dog who drooled at the sound of the dinner bell when repeatedly offered food upon hearing it ring. Much like this, I am susceptible to the same response developments...and have been training them my whole life. And not all are related to just alcohol.
I was watching a video promo on social media that had a tasty looking iced coffee, in slow motion, being placed on a counter. So what does my brain do with that? It adds Irish Whiskey and Baileys. For most, that thought may mean nothing and the addition of those extra ingredients (as simply a hypothetical embellishment) may be quite harmless...But these are the seeds that move my brain into considering my first taste ALSO being harmless. Of course, for now, it’s to be expected that I have patterns and autopilot thoughts that need adjustments and rewiring...but the rewiring is in desperate need of fast action.
I learned yesterday that I will be creating new associations, which in turn create different automation when it comes to seeing, smelling or hearing everyday items in the food and beverage world. For example, that glass of OJ on ice? The sound of the scoop crunching into the ice tub...The rattle of the cubes against the glass...The popping and cracking of the ice as the vodka is poured. The only time I EVER drink OJ on the rocks is with vodka...But a bar is not the only place this happens. KIDS drink OJ over ice. So now that visual has to be remapped. But with what? How? This is why I’m trying to become a student of my recovery...This is why I want to share this intricate and detailed journey with you all. It’s these exact predicaments that underlie the identity of all Alcoholics. The answer is that I don’t know yet...I’ll be discovering the methods that are most effective for me.
Over time, this will create a thought process that doesn’t glamorize or fantasize about that beer...or the smell of hops pouring out of the glass on a summer evening. The bottomline for me is that 1 beer, short term, will lead to many in the long term...and I’m unable to control the speed at which that happens or WHEN it will happen.
So that’s a bit about triggers.