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What are Alcoholic Triggers?

by | Questions | 8 comments

What are Alcoholic Triggers? (Transcript)

I’m Kevin O’Hara for Alcohol Mastery and today I wanted to talk about habit triggers or alcohol triggers.

So the triggers are like little switches in your mind that trigger a thought, which leads to an impulse, which further leads to an action, and that action can be either another thought, as in the train of thoughts, or a physical action. Triggers are neither good nor bad, they’re just part of the whole system. They’re the links, the chains, the pieces that link one action or one thing to another to form your overall behavior pattern. These are the bonds that make your life take over from one action to another.

A famous example of a trigger is a Pavlov’s Dog, when some experiments that were done by the Russian Pavlov when he trained his dog to salivate every time it heard the bell ring.

We’re surrounded by triggers, all day, every day. When you wake up in the morning, your bladder sends a signal to your brain that is time to go to the loo. That triggers your action to get up and take a walk into the bathroom and go through that whole routine. And when you walk past a bakery and you smell fresh bread, it triggers your salivary glands just like the Pavlov dog and you feel like a bit of bread. Everything, cause and effect, cause and effect. One trigger, one thing triggers another, these triggers happen in succession, normally these triggers happen in sequence. So you have one thing triggers another, triggers another, triggers another and that’s basically how your drinking happens. You have to sort of sit down and think about it what is actually triggering your drinking and take steps backwards, think about things in reverse.

Triggers are working all the time, while you’re in the car driving to work in the morning and you think about what was on the TV last night or what you’re going to say to the boss this morning, or what you going to do about the dog pissing on the carpet, it’s all these automatic triggers that are firing off to keep the car in between the white lines, if it wasn’t you wouldn’t be able to do that, you would have to focus your 100% on driving the car. In fact, I think if it wasn’t for triggers, it would be impossible to drive the car.

Underneath just that one thing of driving your car forward you have all these sort of mini-goals that happen all the time. So you want to try and go a certain speed but not go too fast so that you’re breaking the law and not too slow that you’re never going to get anywhere. All the time you’re making small little adjustments in the accelerator or the brake and the thing that probably that’s triggering the adjustments is the speedometer or you’re all the time trying to keep the car between the white lines and the thing that’s triggering sort of a left jink of the stirring wheel is when you’re too far over to the right and the right jink of the stirring wheel when you’re too far over to the left.

That’s just what happens all the time, all the way through the day. Everything that we do involves these triggers, something triggers an action which triggers another action, which sparks off another trigger, another action, so on and so forth.

And the reason I’m talking about these triggers is because these are the very things that once you understand what is triggering your action, that you can use the triggers to break the habit. You can use triggers to build another habit. It’s a fairly simple process; it’s very mechanical. There’s nothing super intelligent about it. It’s just getting to know how they work and using them in your own favor.

I’ll talk a lot more about that in future videos, I think it’s a fascinating subject. Once you get the grips with what is triggering your action then you can virtually change any behavior that you don’t want and you can build a new behavior that you do want.

If you have any questions at all, give us a shout. If you have any stories, give us a shout. Go and sign up to the newsletter over on the website, until next time, have a great day. My name is Kevin O’Hara for Alcohol Mastery, onwards and upwards.

Some Previous Posts From Alcohol Mastery

Alcohol and Insomnia
What is Recovery?
What Are Your Reasons To Drink?

Where Else To Find Alcohol Mastery

Alcohol Mastery TV on YouTube
Alcohol Mastery Shorts on YouTube
Alcohol Mastery on Facebook
Alcohol Mastery on Twitter


  1. Mark

    Really enjoy your videos, thank you! Was wondering if you ever thought of doing a video under a nice shade tree, relaxed and taking in nature. I do believe that might help with the concept of being spiritual in nature and ourselves.

    Just sayin,

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Yep, I might do a couple like that. I think better when I’m moving though.

  2. Julie D.

    Amazing about triggers. I never thought about it, but on Fridays, I wouldn’t drink or eat anything at all, all day in anticipation. Then, the “abuse” would just come naturally, if that makes any sense.
    Thanks for all of your help; I now have your book and it’s pretty much how my life started with the exception that my dad was a heavy drinker, but also a sweet, kind man who I loved very much. Maybe I was trying to imitate him a bit– who knows! Julie

  3. james

    Hi kevin , i’m off drink for a week now, not that heavy but three or four nights a week, but i feel miserable and anxious , feel there is not much to live for really. Is this normal, and will it pass? 41 yrs old. Thanks.

  4. Sandra

    Just discovered this site. Timing was perfect at I have finally made the choice to abstain from alcohol. NOT really a fan of AA so I’m glad to find a place where I can get support. I’m 7 days sober today. So far I’ve had a pretty easy go but I have to go to a resort town for a memorial service of a dear family member and I very much expect I will want to drink afterwards.Any words of wisdom?

    • Kevin O'Hara

      Hey Sandra,
      Welcome! Plan ahead. Know what you are going to drink before you go into any bar or restaurant and keep it firmly in your mind as you go in. Also, you have to want to stay off the drink more than you want one. It’s all down to you. Don’t ask for one, don’t accept one. No matter what you have to say. Make excuses, stick to them. Say you’re on medication, that you can’t drink, whatever gets you through.

  5. Gage

    So glad I found this website and subscribed! I can make it two weeks and then it’s back to vodka…enjoyed video about 2 week relapse, makes sense. I had a gastric sleeve a few years back. Was warned about alcohol abuse. voila….they were right. Hope I make it…


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