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Vices And Triggers

We All Got Them……So Let’s Face Them

We all face triggers in our lives. The triggers can be almost anything that we can think of, as well as probably things that we wouldn’t normally think of. Like the infinite amount of differences between all of us as people, triggers too, can involve just as many endless differences.

This isn’t a topic that is new to me. Afterall, I am a recovering addict, and I have dealt with mental illness for several years. So it would only make sense that triggers go hand in hand with me.

Triggers can be quite intimidating, as well as sometimes seeming impossible to maintain control of. Often, some of them may just seem unbeatable.

With drugs and alcohol, triggers are starting points, which can very quickly lead to strong cravings. Hence the phrases, “cravings were triggered by, etc etc.”

I have heard many of discussions on how addicts should deal with these triggers. I have also developed my own philosophies through the years as well. Many experts will say, to stay away from triggers. With an extreme focus on the recommendations to not test your triggers. That last part, I totally agree with.

Testing triggers is very risky. I don’t believe that it molds us, or strengthens our ability to fight them. It is a dangerous component of setting oneself up for a fast falling failure.

When I think of those kind of things, I think of a recovering alcoholic going to a bar, because he wants to have a diet coke. There’s nothing tough about that, nothing strong or smart either. If anyone feels that it seems okay and normal to do such a thing, let’s look at a second example. Would anyone advise a recovering crack cocaine addict to go to a crack house to smoke a cigarette? It’s the same concept. That people, places, and things philosophy.

I have come to develop my own philosophy, that I would still say, is not quite complete yet. It may still have much evolving to do. A bit complex, yet it is something I still believe in.

They teach us that triggers can be a regular part of our lives, using certain catchphrases, one in particular is “fight the good fight.” This is where my theory comes into play. It fits perfect, as a part 2, to that catchphrase.

If we are taught that we face triggers everyday, and our journey of sobriety is going to be a daily battle, a daily fight, a constant struggle to remain sober forever, and so on, and so forth, how on earth can we mentally prepare for what seemingly sounds like pain, suffering and defeat.

The question I have come up with, and I continue to ask myself often, as I work on finding a definitive answer is, do triggers have to be permanent? I don’t mean to ask if they have to exist forever. Because technically, I think they will. Triggers are things, they are here, and I don’t think they have an ability to physically vanish. But can they mentally vanish? I think that answer is yes.

I believe that while we may pass by triggers everyday, for the rest of our lives, does it have to be a seven day a week fight? How bright does a life of sobriety look, if we are fighting everyday? I don’t know about any of my sober readers out there, but I know that I sure as hell don’t want to fight everyday. I want peace and tranquility, not noise and chaos.

Do we have the capability to learn how to overcome triggers, without having to fight, and beat them down? Can we overcome them, without eliminating them? I believe that I am getting to places in life, where I have succeeded in outsmarting triggers. Getting myself to a point in life, where I win without fighting.

Finding the ability to walk right by something that used to be a trigger, but is now, outsmarted. Discovering the ability to no longer have that trigger, not in the sense of its presence. But in the sense that it just is nothing I have to fight anymore. I walk by it, leaving it behind;

Ending its existence as a trigger.

By MICHAEL PATANELLA, Publisher, Author

Trenton, NJ



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Michael Patanella

Michael Patanella


Author, Publisher, and Editor. I cover mindfulness, mental health, addiction, sobriety, life, and spirituality among other things.