- June 25, 2023

A trigger is something that can cause (an event or activity) something to happen or to exist. When dealing with addiction, a trigger can be described as something that propels us into the drink or drug. Being around old friends or playmates as they are often referred to in the fellowship can be extremely difficult for some people. Watching others become intoxicated can lead one into this behavior also. We find ourselves using with little thought behind it. Until we have a firm foundation in the program, we should probably re-think going to a party where people will be drinking and getting drunk. They won’t understand why we are not drinking and will try and coax us into doing so. People who are quite reserved when sober may become belligerent when drinking. They may become intolerant of us and begin to argue with us. We do not need these types of encounters when sober. They are dangerous and could cause us to pick up the bottle again to prove that we could drink like other people. Unfortunately, as alcoholics we trigger our allergy to alcohol and set the ball rolling again. It is best to just stay away from these types of people and places.
The same goes for old places. We may have had a favorite bar or nightclub we enjoyed going to. We may miss some of our old bar buddies. We come up with the notion that we can go there just to chat with our old friends. Once more we may be confronted with the “why don’t you drink anymore?” question. In this setting the allergy excuse will probably not work as these people know us only when we are drinking. It could be the traditional Happy Hour after work, if we still have a job. People could try and shame us into drinking. I don’t know about you, but I find people who shame me to not be my friends. We as sober alcoholics need to avoid these types of gatherings. People may claim that we have suddenly become snobs. For me, I would rather be considered a snob than a drunk.
Holidays and family gatherings (if we still have a family) can be challenging. By now most family members know we are sober and intend to remain that way. But there can be that Uncle Fred who sneaks his flask into the home. In days gone by we used to share the flask with him. Now that we are sober, we refuse his offer of a drink. Seeing as how Uncle Fred is probably already drunk, he could become belligerent at you for refusing his offer. The only thing it appears that will shut him up is if you take a drink. And this we are not going to do no matter what. We try to politely excuse ourselves from his company and seek out people who are not drinking. Usually, he will end up in a corner alone talking to himself. The host will probably make a mental note to not invite him again.
Navigating people, places and things is something we have to relearn as sober individuals. We spent the majority of our lives so far in a state of drunkenness. We have mentors and roll models in the 12 Step fellowship that we can take our concerns to. They may have had similar experiences as you are having now. These sober members can offer advice on how to deal with difficult people and situations. After a while thing get easier for you. This comes about by working the 12 Steps and applying them to your life. After we get to this state, we can go anywhere we choose to go to. However, our choices will be made with a fresh and sober mind.

Written by Phillip