What Are Triggers?
I don’t want to drink. So why do I end up with one in my hand?
A trigger is an event or situation that causes something to start. In the case of alcohol, it can be a binge or just the return of challenging thoughts, feelings or behaviour. One moment you are enjoying dinner with friends. The next regretting ever picking up that drink.
We all know that if you do something over and over again, it gets easier to do. This is natural. It is what we call the process of action.
The process of action is conditional and works through relevancy. In other words, if you repeat an action repeatedly, the signal to continue this pattern becomes more and more relevant. The more relevant, the more intense that signal will become.
The Appearance of Triggers
Let’s take alcohol consumption. In the UK, alcohol is a cultural norm, and it is not unusual for some people to have a drink with every evening meal or binge drink every weekend. After a while, you may find that triggers appear to direct you towards a drink at lunch, or perhaps I could start drinking earlier at the weekend to have more time to enjoy myself. This is an example of how triggers translate. Triggers can be very powerful and can nudge us toward a downward spiral if we are not ready to meet them head-on.
Why are Triggers so Strong?
Triggers are alive like anything else; through that aliveness, they want to survive. There may be a better question. It is like asking why we want to survive. We may have answers to why that may be. But do we know why?
A better question is; what can you do in preparation for these triggers? How can you stop them from firing you toward a life of addiction?
How do I Recognize Triggers?
Before we can do anything with our triggers, we must first be able to recognize them and identify the possible causes so that we can have an effective management plan moving forward.
It may seem obvious, but a trigger is a reminder. Triggers remind you that you have easy access to what you want, and why not just go and get it? Do you recognize this and respond by asking yourself if you want the alcohol? Or is it that you are used to having it? These questions can bring about a trigger that deals with the initial trigger. Then there is less chance that you will succumb.
What are the most common triggers for alcohol?
We have encountered all kinds of triggers, whether through personal experience or talking to others. Here are 3 of the most common triggers when dealing with the overuse of alcohol.
Stress and Anxiety
When we think of stress, we think of stressful workloads and stresses of any responsibilities we may have, including finding enough money to survive or meeting deadlines for a course or a project at work. But stress can arise through tiredness, malnutrition, lack of socializing, or too much socializing! Stress and anxiety can cause emotions that make it easier to continue the pattern of drinking.
Stress triggers are everywhere, and we cannot help but feel them. When it comes to managing the stress of reducing alcohol use, invest in stress management techniques through Youtube or other sites and forums relevant to your situation.
It is common for us to use alcohol as a way of dealing with challenging circumstances. Maybe alcohol helped you with the pain of recovering from a physical injury, illness or heavy surgery. Even after fully recovering, you may continue to overuse alcohol and see it as a familiar friend in challenging times. The painkilling attribute of alcohol that you may feel you need comes hand in hand with the long-term pain of relying on it.
Reminiscing and over-glamorizing drinking
Sitting down with old or new friends and talking about how great it was to be high on your substance was easy back then.
After many years of overusing cannabis, I would soon find my way back to a joint by talking to others about how much I enjoyed it and would soon begin to question why I was allowing myself to miss out on something I enjoy.
A friend was overusing cocaine, and one of his most potent triggers for usage began to show around 3 pints. After the sip of his first pint, he told me that he had his daughter’s birthday party the next day and would have a quiet night. After 2 pints, he went to the bar and had a third. After warning him of his imminent trigger, he said that a few lines wouldn’t hurt and shot off to the toilet. He didn’t make it to his daughter’s party. He didn’t get to bed until 10 am the following day.
It is fine margins when forming dangerous habits, and it is even more dangerous to think they are no longer dangerous.
Is there a way to alleviate triggers?
Forming triggers take a while, so it will take a while to reduce the power of your triggers.
Most people stop drinking for a reason. You are no exception. Remember this reason when you feel that urge. In a quiet trigger free moment, solidify the reasons in your head. Then when you are in a challenging moment, remember. If you know tomorrow, you will wake up feeling anxious, depressed or miss something important. This can help remind you of why you should resist.
There is good reason for alcohol support groups around the world. These provide support and understanding, a community for people wanting to recover.
Support can come from friends, family or others in recovery. If you know you might be triggered at an event or situation; it can help to have someone to make you accountable and remind you of triggers and why you stopped.
Accepting that you cannot drink is the biggest hurdle you have to overcome. It can take years for the destructive influence of alcohol to push you to this point. However, once you have reached the point where you cannot stop yourself, normal drinking is off the table for you. There is no shame in relapse, no one is perfect, but you must understand that if you are triggered by something such as drinking, you must stop completely. Do something Else
Just as triggers can pull you away from your recovery, you can use distraction to push them away. Occupying your mind is a powerful tool for resisting temptation. If you recognise a trigger you can choose to move away or avoid it. For example, if you find yourself reminiscing with friends about your drinking days, you can change the subject or move on to another conversation. Even something as simple as eating instead of drinking can help to replace the habit.
When triggers become too much, you have to make a big decision. Is it really worth relapsing and returning to drinking just to stay at a party, deal with stress, and alleviate anxiety? Sometimes heading home or just walking away from a toxic job or relationship can spare you more pain.
How Desistal Helps
One of the products that are useful in reducing cravings during this process is Desistal.
Desistal is designed to reduce cravings when reducing alcohol intake. This makes it an ideal supplement for alleviating triggers.
Those who have used it first-hand have found it integral in their journey toward reducing alcohol intake or ending it completely.
What is in Desistal?
Desistal comes in the form of a pill and is made up of 3 ingredients that specifically target those areas of the body that feel the stresses of breaking habits. Here are those three ingredients.
Most commonly used as a memory aid, Bacopa Monnieri helps to reduce the negative symptoms associated with your reduction in alcohol intake by supporting your brain function, reducing your stress levels, and lightening your mood and temperament.
ACV provides your brain with energy that goes towards your habitual turnaround. It can also aid your digestion, support overall mental well-being, and can help stabilize your mood. All of this goes towards reducing your stress levels.
MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) is fat that goes straight to the liver. It is then metabolized to produce ketones, which are known to raise the NAD+/NADH Ratio in the brain. This process counterbalances withdrawal symptoms by acting as a replacement for alcohol. This act of replacing will help restore balance to your body and mind.
The stress of avoiding triggers will always be there. That is the price we pay. We can reduce those stresses by persevering with different management techniques and products. What works for you might not work for others, so it is important to stay open to what is out there.
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00074/full Identifying Triggers of Alcohol Craving to Develop Effective Virtual Environments for Cue Exposure Therapy