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Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Any tips or advice to prevent a relapse, alternatively any of your stories about your own relapses.
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Lush
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Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Lush » 14 Jan 2009 19:14

Hi all,

I thought it might be an idea to start a thread about what things trigger our drinking, and how to cope with those things. Most of us share common triggers, but some people can be tempted by less obvious ones. For common triggers, AA use the acronym HALT:

Hunger
Anger
Loneliness
Tiredness

Obviously some are easier to avoid than others. For instance, I live alone and it can get lonely sometimes. There's not a lot I can do about that, and it used to be a major trigger for me, until I found BE that is. You can only have so many conversations with a cat.

What are your triggers, and how do you cope with them?

Susie
xx
"I love the English language, it has a certain je ne sais qoi".

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Mike » 15 Jan 2009 16:38

Hi Susie,

I agree tiredness is a potent trigger, or maybe tension following a long or particularly stressful day at work. But it's all a question of habit. If you are used to calling in at the local on the way home from work and that has become a habit, it becomes a particularly tough routine to break. Or if you go straight home from work and associate putting your key in the front door lock with looking forward to uncorking a bottle of wine as soon as you get inside, then you are stuck in another nasty habit loop.

After you have stopped drinking for a while by deliberately changing your habits and substituting something more acceptable for your visit to the pub or your homecoming wine treat, you will find that the new habit becomes normal behaviour, and alcohol no longer plays a part in your life. The trick is never to fall prey to the old habits again.

I would add boredom to your list of four triggers but I can't think of a new acronym to accommodate it. However if you add ennui which means almost the same as boredom but implies a sort of oppressive boredom, then you could use

Tiredness
Hunger
Ennui

Loneliness
Anger
Boredom

Contrived ? Moi ?

Mike

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Lush » 15 Jan 2009 16:49

Boredom is almost certainly a trigger for me. I also find stress is a major trigger as well. If I've had a particularly stressful day at work my previous habit would have been to call into the off licence on the way home. Now I jump on the Wii Fit to release some stress. It's definitely all about breaking old habits and recognising triggers early, especially for me now that I'm back at work again.

Susie
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"I love the English language, it has a certain je ne sais qoi".

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Kitty » 15 Jan 2009 17:10

Thought I might mention that old demon PMT. It has always been a trigger for me. The way I deal with it is really simple: I know it's a trigger and by having identified it as such I can choose not to give in to it as I know it will pass. It also helps to remind myself of how when drinking during that time I always got drunker and behaved even more badly than normal. I was only able to identify this as a trigger once I'd stopped drinking for a while because previously it was not distinguishable from the general alcohol induced depression.

Mike will you please get dressed.

Great thread Susie :D

Kitty XX
"Somebody once said we never know what is enough until we know what's more than enough" Billie Holiday

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Mike » 15 Jan 2009 17:39

Hi Kitty

I don't wear clothes these days. I have embraced naturism along with sobriety. I chose the wrong time of year to experiment with this new lifestyle, but it all fits with healthy diet, vitamin supplements, decaf coffee, and now the sun can shine where it previously didn't. There is no truth in the rumour that I lost all my clothes playing strip poker and that I can't afford to replace them now that Officers Club has ceased trading.

Mike x

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by becstarr » 16 Jan 2009 06:31

I've just identified another trigger for me - the heat.
Its 43 degrees here today. All I can think about is drinking white wine with ice in it. Damn you EAF :evil:

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by becstarr » 16 Jan 2009 06:35

All of the above mentioned are triggers for me too.

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Aaron.A » 16 Jan 2009 08:13

43 degrees if only! Weather is a trigger for me but the other end of the scale.dark clouds -1 its been rain and hail here all week long, and it just seems so tempting to buy a bottle after work, stick the heating on full and hide away indoors.

I used to meet a very unpleasant lady who used to bag up her dog shit and leave it on the floor,when i asked her politely to bin it she gave me a tirade of abuse.
One day i noticed she had left her sunroof open on her car so emptied the contents onto her seat. From then on we had no more bags of shit left on the pathway :)
It's been a while since i could stand on my own two feet again

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Lush » 16 Jan 2009 09:47

Naughty Aaron! I love it! :twisted: :lol:

Susie
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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Digg » 16 Jan 2009 19:13

Seeing Mike naked does it for me everytime - and not in a good way!! :lol:

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by mumof3 » 16 Jan 2009 19:18

I think fear of boredom does it for me too. Knowing its Friday night and it should be 'special' but it ends up just like every other night, boring! I never go out in the evening as I have very few friends around here, and the ones I do have all go out with their partners and other couples. So I guess loneliness as well.

I just have to hang on to the thought that I don't want to end my life with liver failure, like my mum, there is no dignity in that is there.

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Digg » 16 Jan 2009 19:21

I have that same feeling every Friday night too. Think it comes from me being a mum of 3 too all week and I feel like I deserve something 'special' because it's the weekend. It's not really special at all though is it??

So sorry about your mum <:)>

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by mumof3 » 16 Jan 2009 19:27

Thanks Digg.. she has now fallen and broken her hip too (but apparently wasn't pissed at the time!), so she will need to go into a nursing home when she comes out of hospital. She is very frail, although only 75, but her stomach is so extended because of her liver it has to be drained, and its likely she will die before the end of the year. she still drinks, but I guess its too late for her anyway, and if she is determined to kill herself that way there is not alot anyone can do about it is there.

A lady I knew died of a heart attack at 33 because of drinking, she even arrived at the school gates pissed. She left 2 children, motherless, they were both under 10.

I guess I must just focus on this rather than nipping out for a bottle.. ho hum!!

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Bupster » 17 Jan 2009 10:31

Yet again I agree with the Fuz. If I had listed all the things that made me want to drink, it would have been pretty much identical to that. Feeling deprived of something is such a good one, it covers a multitude, doesn't it? I have noticed that since I started getting a bit tougher on myself - not maniacally, but not letting myself feel sorry for myself without a bloody good reason - there seem to be a lot fewer triggers. Maybe going back to the idea that as heavy drinkers we never grew up properly? We still think, like children, that the world has an answer to every one of our wants and we're entitled to it?
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Bela » 18 Jan 2009 19:55

Yes, Fuz, I think you make a valid point.
I especially like your comment about senior management, ain't that the truth.
Whatever works.

Cravings stop going where they aren't fed.

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Bupster » 18 Jan 2009 20:10

I think what I mean by grown up is taking responsibility for ourselves. I think that when we're drinking heavily we often don't do that - we feel bad, blame it on something external to ourselves, and then use drink to medicate it, instead of seeing to what extent we can take responsibility for it and for changing it.
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by christine1 » 19 Jan 2009 01:49

I'm just starting to recognise what my triggers are. I found this thread fascinating.

I think mine are, in order of frequency/importance:

worry/stress/pressure
anger
boredom
thirst (perhaps hunger), which I think translates into low sugar/glucose levels
anger
shyness/insecurity
loneliness


Worry is a big one for me. Alcohol switches off the worry button for me in a big way. I can think obsessively about something for hours but when I drink, after a while, I feel the 'switch' go off in might head. Its almost a physical point in time. Like a pain relieving injection. Very powerful for me; a release of my own pressure valve.
Free yourself from the 'Elephant Thinking'.
How can I think about this differently?

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Bela » 19 Jan 2009 12:45

You've got anger there twice, Christine.
Does that mean it is really #1?

During the last decade my triggers have been work/stress related.
I know that feeling of relief you describe, but the worry, anger, anxiety always return with a vengeance.
Whatever works.

Cravings stop going where they aren't fed.

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by Bupster » 19 Jan 2009 20:30

I was just thinking about those on the way home tonight. I knew I had to have a minor confrontation with the lovely people in the shop downstairs from me about their alarm, and I was so tired (alarm) and anxious (goes with tiredness in part). I thought about all the times I've felt bad over the last few months, anxious and angry and worried, and hurt and rejected, and I knew exactly how the drink would switch those off. It wasn't a trigger though, because I knew that this time I have to work through them or they'll never go away. I mean right now they feel like they won't, but I managed the conversation with the shop people fine and it wasn't a confrontation, and if I think back to four months ago I was still doubled over literally with grief and anger (very bad end to a relationship for those who haven't been keeping up :D ) so I have evidence right there that things are getting better. I'm sleeping. Well, apart from shop alarms. If I'd drunk my way through this, I might have talked it out a bit more, but I probably wouldn't have thought it out so much, and I wouldn't have had my two or three tiny momentary flashes of possible future forgiveness (no more than that yet, I'm still at sledgehammer crazy lady stage, but still).

Anyway. Purpose of blathering: Triggers are just flags going up pointing the way to a usual way of behaving. It's habit, no more. Working through this hasn't been fun, but it's satisfying in a way that drinking isn't. I feel with every day that I'm moving a day away from feeling that awful; even if some days I don't feel that way at all, other days I can measure the distance. It's good. Exercise helps too. Who knew?

Love a surprisingly muscular chicken. Hide the sledgehammers.
Do not wait; the time will never be "just right." Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along. George Herbert

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Re: Triggers: how do you cope with them?

Post by christine1 » 19 Jan 2009 23:10

Bela,

A lot of my worries focus around work one way or another. I'm facing the prospect of having to re-evaluate whats important to me.

Bupster you wrote,
Triggers are just flags going up pointing the way to a usual way of behaving. It's habit, no more.
I like that. Almost like a sat nav kicking in and determining a route you no longer want to follow. It just takes time for the damn thing to recalculate. I really like that.
Free yourself from the 'Elephant Thinking'.
How can I think about this differently?

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