Everybody has different triggers when it comes to thinks that will make them want to drink.
For some people, it can be a certain group of friends or a certain pub.
For others, it can be a sad song that reminds them of memories.
For some people, simply seeing an advertisement for alcohol can be enough to get them drinking again, even if they don’t want to drink.
Quitting alcohol is an on-going process, it’s not something that you just do one time and then you’re done.
It’s not just a matter of giving up alcohol and that’s it, you also need to create a strategy that deals with how to avoid drinking, even when you come across certain things that trigger you to drink.
A major trigger for many people can be a specific environment, so here are some ways to avoid getting yourself into those types of situations in the first place, and how to stay strong if you do get into them.
Identifying Environments That Trigger You To Drink
When you decide you want to stop drinking, it probably won’t happen overnight. It’s a process. There will be ups and downs, but the key is to work towards having more and more ups, and less and less downs. You can achieve this by creating plans and strategies, which begins with identifying the things that trigger you to drink.
The best way to identity your alcohol-triggers are by simply paying attention to where you are, and what you’re thinking about, before you start to feel the temptation to drink. When you feel yourself craving alcohol, stop and take note of where you are, and what’s going on. It won’t always be obvious, so mark down as much information as you can, you may need to start connecting the dots after the fact.
Either way, start a notes file on your phone, or carry around a small notebook, and when you feel like drinking, take note of what’s happening and where you are.
Some common triggers to drink can be…
- Family events where other people are drinking,
- Hanging around certain friends,
- Being out for a nice meal at a restaurant that serves alcohol,
- Being in certain parts of town at night,
- Having a rough day at work and walking past the pub down the street,
- Being alone at home and bored,
- Hearing certain songs that remind you of the past,
- Many more, it varies from person to person.
Identify your triggers, and here’ what you can do to start avoiding them…
Learning To Avoid Your Drinking Triggers
Once you have an idea of what triggers you to drink, it’s time to start being conscious and aware of them. Certain triggers can be avoided, for example not going to the nightlife part of town at night, but other ones can’t really be avoided, like having a rough day at the office or feeling bored or lonely at home.
When you can’t avoid certain triggers altogether, you can still be proactive. When you know that trigger is going to start happening, just be mindful of it. Tell yourself you’re probably going to start feeling like drinking, get ahead of your trigger, be in control of it instead of letting it control you.
Sometimes, this small shift in mindset can be enough to help you fight off the temptations, at least more often.
And that’s what it’s all about. Remember, it’s a process. You might not win every battle, but you’ll get stronger and stronger the more you work on it, and you’ll learn new strategies to fight the temptations that work for you.
The road to recovery is not a straight line, it’s not an easy path. It can be filled with obstacles. You’ll learn about yourself as you go, and you’ll learn about people around you, and the world around you, and you’ll find new ways to project yourself from the temptation to drink.
It really is a matter of protecting yourself, because when you’re an alcohol, you can’t have a normal relationship with alcohol. That’s just the fact.
Communicating Your Triggers
If your friends are really your friends, they’ll be understanding when you tell them that you need to stop drinking. Instead of going to a bar with you, maybe you guys can make plans to hang out and have a BBQ at someone’s house, and if they are good friends, they’ll be able to go a day without drinking. If you have supporting friends who won’t drink around you, but are still willing to spend time with you, that will help your success.
Here are some ideas of ways to distract yourself from drinking, too. Having distractions in place that you can turn to when you start feeling those triggers is a crucial part of success.