Being an alcoholic or addict in early recovery can be challenging at the best of times, adverts, TV shows, movies or just a walk down a busy street can be full of “triggers”. A trigger is an external stimulus that sparks the emotions or thoughts that can lead to relapse. Sometimes, people in early recovery from addiction to drugs & alcohol can set themselves up through inaccurate thinking. Have you ever heard the saying that “An alcohol problem is more a thinking, than a drinking problem?” Inaccurate thinking through rationalising and justifying the continued use of drugs & alcohol and minimising the consequences thereof to family, friends and loved ones, are an everyday part of active addiction for the dependent person. Recovery from addiction is about correcting our thinking with the help of those around us, including other recovering people and addiction professionals.
Rationalisation may be more frequent over the holiday season as it’s a more stressful time and may lead the newly recovering alcoholic or drug addict to needlessly expose themselves to a dangerous situation (‘I’ll just stop at the bottle store and buy a packet of cigarettes, they’re cheaper there anyway’). Once inside, the familiar situational and emotional cues can trigger cravings and ‘automatic thoughts’ about the benefits of using. (“A drink would taste great right now and help me wash away the stress of the day. Besides I’ve been “good” for so long now’). These, in turn, set in motion more deeply rooted beliefs that drugs & alcohol are fundamental to enjoyment in life (‘How else am I going to unwind and enjoy this evening?’). As the rationalisations build momentum and cravings strengthen, moderately weak rationalisations now ‘allow’ the relapse (‘I’ll only have one drink.’).
The final act is relapse, the actual act of ingesting alcohol or drugs, which at any given juncture may be limited usage or may spiral rapidly out of control. Awareness and vigilance around these ‘triggers” is a key to maintaining sobriety. The challenge may seem even greater around the holiday periods. Christmas, New Years Eve, even holidays can put the alcoholic or addict in a potentially dangerous place. There’s an old 12 step recovery saying that speaks of the dangers of delusional thinking and how it’s best to have other recovering people that we can share our journey with.
It goes something along the lines of ‘My mind can be like a bad neighborhood, its best I don’t go there alone’. Maintaining a strong connection to others in recovery, and freely helping others less experienced at recovery, can be a useful link in a solid sobriety chain.
Article provided by Wedorecover. Wedorecover provide help accessing alcohol rehab quickly when needed, and if after being sober for a while you relapse and need help getting back on the road to recovery we can help.