It's always so uplifting when new folk join our website and start sharing regularly in the Members Feed. I find it especially interesting to notice the differences between what they experience in early sobriety, and what my experiences were.
One of the most common lines I see new members write in their updates is "I've figured out what my triggers are" or some such, and this always makes me happy because it shows they're starting to develop self-awareness and build up the knowledge that's going to turn them into brave sober warriors.
For some people their biggest trigger is when they're hungry, for others it's when they're tired. For some it's when they're alone in the quiet of their own minds, for others it's when they're out socialising. For some it's when they get hit by stress, for others it's boredom. For some it's their sister-in-law, for others it's their kids.
Me? My main trigger was 5pm. Yep. Five-bloody-o'clock every day was a HUGE trigger for me.
Happy at 5 pm? Have a drink Mrs D!
Lonely at 5pm? Have a drink Mrs D!
Tired? Bored? Stressed? Relieved at 5pm? Have a drink Mrs D!
Alone? Hosting? Out? In at 5pm? Have a drink Mrs D!
I didn't need any particular emotional state to trigger me to drink. My entire body clock was wound to get hit by a trigger at 5pm. I was a steady, heavy, habitual wine drinker. 5 o'clock was wine o'clock in my world and I lived that way for many, many years.
Sigh. Thank goodness those days are over.
But aside from the common 5 o'clock trigger, there are many other commonly recognised triggers that lead us to pick up a drink. The four biggies are often described in the acronym HALTS.
H = Hungry
A = Angry
L = Lonely
T = Tired
S = Stressed
So watch for those. Keep yourself well fed, happy, in good company, well rested and calm at all times. Ok? Good!
Ha ha, if only it were that simple. It never is.
Beyond HALTS, recognising and labelling our own triggers (emotional states or environments) is a great idea because it can be incredibly empowering. We start to own our unique sobriety story, and figure out who we are without the booze. And if we're honest with ourselves and call it like it is (e.g. "I'm not going there tonight that place is a big trigger for me" or "I can feel my stress building I need to do something about this before it triggers me to drink") then we'll be well placed to beat those bastard triggers away.
Oh and of course the best golden rule of all - stay communicating with others who are kind, warm, non-judgemental and empathetic. In other words - keep active here at Living Sober! We are the best trigger busting gang on the internet.
Love, Mrs D xxx
P.S. What are your triggers? Let us know below .....