What are your alcohol triggers? Where are they? How do you find them? And more importantly, how you deal with them?
Today’s topic is a look at 9 specific ways of uncovering and understanding your alcohol behavioural triggers.
We’ll also look at a few tips on deconstructing and overcoming them.
Hi, I’m Kevin O’Hara for alcohol mastery dot com.
Today’s topic is on alcohol triggers and 9 specific ways that you can understand your alcohol drinking triggers.
Then we’ll do a little bit of how to deconstruct and overcome them.
So first of all, we’ll talk about what your triggers are.
A trigger is anything that preceded the actual behaviour.
There are 3 steps to the alcohol drinking behaviour.
There’s the trigger – the thing that sparks it off.
Then there’s the actual drinking behaviour, and finally the reward and why you’re doing this in the first place.
They can be anything.
They can be something that you’ve seen, something someone said, a thought, something that has just happened in your environment.
So the first trigger might be what you’re doing right in this moment.
What are you doing right now that is making you think about having a drink.
The second trigger is something that you might have done just before.
You might have just walked by a pub, had a bad experience, or done something that has just made you think about taking an alcohol drink.
The third one is when they fire off.
Time is a great trigger.
For me, a lot of my triggers used to fire off right at the end of the day once I finished work and I was relaxing, or just as I finished work and I had it in my head that I wanted to go down to the pub.
Time is a big trigger.
Another one is the people that are around you.
This could be family or friends and can be direct or indirect.
It could be something that someone has said to you, which makes you think that you want to have a drink, or it could be somebody actually offering you a drink.
Another one is your environment.
Obviously if you’re in the pub, you’re more likely to want to have a drink than if you’re out walking on the beach.
Maybe the walking on the beach triggers you if you directly think about taking a drink, but when you’re in the pub, you’ve got the alcohol around you, the smell ad just that whole cultural involvement in the pub atmosphere.
That’s going to start firing off all these triggers.
A lot of this has to do with thinking.
Most of the triggers are going to be started in your head.
You have to think about what you’re thinking about in the exact moment that is making you think about alcohol.
A lot of this thinking triggers are unconscious, so you don’t even realise that they’re happening.
Like, you get triggers which are firing off other triggers in your brain, which you don’t think about until you get the thirst and your mouth starts watering, or you really start thinking about the particular drinks you’re used to drinking .
Another way alcohol can affect you is indirectly through what you were thinking about an hour ago.
What were you thinking about an hour ago that made you start thinking about you wanting to take a drink?
That’s another are to look at when you’re trying to decipher each one of your triggers, is your thinking both now and before.
The next one is expectations. Expectations can trigger alcohol behaviour. You expect to take a drink at certain times. You expect to have a drink with a certain person You expect to have a drink in a certain environment. You expect to have a dink when you’re feeling shit.
The next one is emotions.
Emotions are big, powerful stimulant for drinking behaviour.
Think about it, your emotions can come from many different areas of your life.
From bad emotions that make you want to drink because you want to get rid of the sadness, the negative emotions, or you want to try and enhance positive emotions.
That’s why we use alcohol for celebrations.
At the end of the day, these early triggers and the rewards you get from drinking alcohol, these might be much more elevated when you’re younger, when you actually get a buzz out of drinking alcohol.
But once you get older, and I’m not talking about once you’ve been drinking for 20 years; once you’ve been drinking for a few months, the effects of drinking alcohol starts to wear off.
The buzz starts to wear off.
But you still get the buzz from the situations that you’re with and the people you’re with.
Even when you start drinking, it takes a long while to get to that stage because you can’t drink much before the world starts spinning and you start puking.
But when you do eventually get to that narrow window of an actual high, it’s short-lived.
You get a peak and then it goes back down.
Your brain starts depressing all your functions, the motor and organ functions.
It takes 6 minutes before alcohol starts affecting your brain.
It’s a short-lived high and doesn’t last long.
What we think of as the high is the high associated with the things that we’re doing, the relaxation.
We associate the high with the alcohol, so we tend to think that’s hat’s doing it instead of the actual relaxation.
There are 9 different ways that alcohol triggers are going to happen in your life.
It’s important to understand what these triggers are. Knowledge is power.
If you don’t understand what is triggering your drinking behaviour, then it’s very difficult to put a disruption between the trigger and the behaviour.
One of the things you can do is to avoid the triggers altogether.
You can avoid a lot of the environmental triggers, the people triggers, the time triggers by just changing your time around a little bit.
You can avoid some of the emotional triggers and thinking triggers by rethinking the way you think, by changing the way you think.
Think through the thoughts.
As soon as you get a trigger, you disrupt it by thinking something like ‘why am I thinking this? I’m going to do this now instead of thinking that’.
Once you’re not reinforcing the trigger, it becomes less and less powerful.
Another way of doing this is to follow through the sequence.
So you follow the trigger and allow it to go off, but instead of going with the alcohol drinking behaviour, you go with a different behaviour, but you still try and get the end reward.
A lot of the behaviour of alcohol we associate with relaxation, or sleeping or having fun.
We can find all this kin of stuff in our lives as it stands. You don’t need the alcohol.
Alcohol doesn’t catalyse fun.
It doesn’t catalyse your sleep.
It doesn’t do any of these things.
It’s your association that does it.
We get so used to doing this.
It took me a month to get away from my pattern where I was needing to have a drink before I went to sleep.
A whole month.
It was diminishing every day, but it took a month before I was able to get a good night’s sleep without alcohol.
So basically, you’re slowly eroding the power of the trigger.
The first thing when I’m going to bed is I’m wide awake and I’m thinking about this.
Then by Day 30, you’re so used to going to bed without an alcohol drink that it’s easy once you’ve established the routine and behaviour in between.
I just started reading books and trying to be a little but more relaxed and tranquil before I got into bed.
I didn’t watch any mad fucking TV shows, and I didn’t read any complicated books before going to bed, and I still don’t do that. That’s my routine.
It’s easy to establish that.
That’s it for today.
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Take care of yourself and keep the alcohol out of your mouth.
PAIN IS REAL. BUT SO IS HOPE
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!