In addiction and recovery, we hear a lot about “triggers” the things that could tempt us or set us over the edge and cause us to drink. This particular subject is one that I am still riding on the fence about. Keep in mind, this is only my opinion as an alcoholic / addict, and there may be some who are reading this that may disagree with me on this. That’s okay, we all have a right to our own opinions. I personally don’t believe in “triggers.” In most situations (not necessarily all) I view them as nothing more than excuses. I do agree that some situations may cause temptation, however, when you cross that line and actually “act” on that temptation, it becomes an excuse. Nothing more, nothing less. Here are a few examples;
- My girl or my man left me, so I got trashed
- I got into a fight with whomever, so I got trashed.
- No body loves me, or even likes me, so I got trashed.
- My 9th cousin on my father’s side, whom I never met died, so I got trashed.
- I lost my job, so I got trashed.
- I broke the point on my pencil in the middle of working on something, so I got trashed.
The list can go on and on. (FYI, I’ve used every single one of those excuses except for number 4…)
Nobody & no situation can make us do something that we don’t want to do. In my opinion, we’re gonna drink if we want to drink, and nine out of ten times, we will come up with some kind of excuse in order to justify our actions in our own heads.
I’ve dealt with things in sobriety that normally would have set me over the edge back in the day. Mainly the death of my own daughter. She died in 1990 and for over 20 years, I never dealt with it, I merely shut down. On what would have been her 21st birthday, we actually had a 21 balloon release ceremony and I set us both free. I’ve dealt with three friends who have died as a direct result of alcoholism in less than a two year period of time. I’ve gone through other losses that had nothing to do with death. All the while, I managed to stay sober and didn’t feel the need to drink. I now know that no matter what I’m going through, I’m NOT going to find the answers in the bottom of a bottle.
Do I still get that occasional “itch?” Yes I do. But they don’t last as long as they did in the beginning. I work in clubs all over the country and being around that alcohol doesn’t phase me because not only am I sober, I am spiritually fit & my own “house” is in order. True sobriety is having serenity and peace. Without it, I’m doomed. I did however, have to change my habits as far as performing. Today I go in, I perform, I get paid and I leave. I no longer socialize at great lengths. Once my purpose for being there is done, I’m out! There’s no reason for me to linger around.
I’ve learned to look beyond the moment. Yes, a shot would taste really good right now and calm me down, but what’s the outcome going to be once I take that first shot??? I’m going to keep going, unable to stop. I’m going to revert back to that “monster” that I become, cause damage to everyone around me and throw it all away. I can say in all honesty, that I DO have another relapse in me somewhere, what I don’t have is another recovery. If (God forbid) ever went back out, I would go so out of control, I’d surely drink myself to death. That’s the reality of it. Is it worth it??? Absolutely not. Staying sober and maintaining that sobriety is my top priority. I will accomplish absolutely NOTHING, no matter how bad or stressful the situation may be, if I give in and take that first drink.
You don’t need excuses to drink, you need reasons not to. You can survive ANY situation no matter how bad it may seem while still maintaining sobriety. It IS possible. There are millions and millions of recovering alcoholics out there who can prove that fact. I’m not the only one. If you get pissed off, disturbed, hurt or just irritated and you drink, it’s cause you WANTED to, not because the situation MADE you do it. Like I said, EXCUSES, nothing more, nothing less.
May 30. 2014
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist