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Help for alcohol abuse addiction alcoholics who want to stay sober

Postby Jim W » Sun Aug 23, 2009 3:06 pm

angel143 wrote:So if triggers dont have a place in AA...

Then what would call it when something happens that "triggers" a person to have that urge?

Triggers are a part of life. Our brain sends triggers all the time, to eat, sleep, breathe...every single involuntary thing that our body does, is a trigger...

Cravings is in the BB...its everywhere in the BB. So...what causes a sudden craving when someone has been sober for a month, a year...or so on? What is in the brain that gets "triggered" to send the craving message?

Trigger definition-to initiate or precipitate

Trigger is what initiates the craving...

The BB, pg 37 says "In some circumstances we have gone out deliberately to get drunk, feeling ourselves justified by nervousness, anger, worry, depression, jealousy or the like."

If anger is a "trigger" for someone, meaning it initiates the craving for a drink, then they need to learn how to best get rid of and cope with that anger. But what happens if something comes up and there is that anger, and they get a craving....is that not a "trigger"?



Well to begin with a craving for alcohol only happens when an alcoholic puts alcohol into his/her system.

Triggers are about keeping your guard up. What happens in those strange mental blank spots when nothing saying "I shouldn't do this" comes up? Like Fred's story in the book. End of a perfect day, not a cloud on the horizon, feeling fine. And it comes out the blue and then there is no mental defense.

Alcoholics drink for all kinds of reasons and with every reason not to and no for reason at all. We don't need a "trigger." Maybe that is the best reason, no reason at all. To base one's sobriety on one's emotional condition is skating on thin ice. "cause if it's about feeling good, then by reason an alcoholic shouldn't drink when he/she is feeling good and there are no stressful life situations. But I've seen plenty of them drink under those circumstances and then wonder how the hell it happened. And if it is about only drinking when one feels bad and when life is going to hell, then I should have been drunk many times over. And I've seen plenty of people go through far worse than I have, feeling really bad, and not drink.

The term is something that has been sold to us by the treatment industry and is something that keeps a lot of treatment facilities in business. The term also negates the promise in the 10th Step, the one about being placed in a position of neutrality, of not being tempted nor afraid, the one of having the problem removed. The one of having recovered from that hopeless state of mind and body.
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Postby ROBERT » Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:49 pm

I hear you angel143--I can remember times when I was attempting to stop on my own and sure as s_ _ _, some one came along and or some situation happened and I WAS LIVID :evil: So I drank. Hang in there.
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Postby angel143 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:18 pm

When I was in my 1st few weeks...I had things that would trigger the craving.

I dont have cravings and urges anymore. At least I havent in awhile, and God willing I wont again.

I just think that getting hung up on a word and whether or not its in the BB might scare away some newbies. If someone had told me that triggers have no place in AA....I would have bolted because I would have been like "great, so, now what? I dont belong here, then where?" and I would have ended up back at the bar.

Im not saying change AA's singleness of purpose...not at all. I need AA. I dont want anything to happen to it.

But if someone in a meeting says something about a trigger....in terms of sharing their E, S and H....I personally dont have a problem with that.

I know that others might. And that is fine.

I have never been to a treatment center...so I dont know what they do or dont preach.

I was just wanting to get some opinions....

Thank you for your sharing
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Postby Dallas » Sun Aug 23, 2009 8:40 pm

Discussing triggers or anything else relating to setting you off on a bender or making it easier to take the next drink -- are right in line with singleness of purpose. You're dicussing alcoholism. :wink:

From the psychological approach where you're headed... that makes perfect sense. AA is not some purely spiritual approach to solving problems -- it's a mix of psychological, moral psychology and spiritual. This could be why the "giving it all to God" routine only works for some alcoholics. They may also need the physical and psychological elements to achieve recovery.

Generally, a discussion about "triggers" or any other word that you might use to describe it -- has to do with the first year of sobriety, or initial phase of recovery, and particularly in dealing with an alcoholic that hasn't had the luxury of a transformed mind as a result of the appication of the 12 Steps.

How it works, as described in the Big Book:

The phenomenon of physical craving is different than the phenomenon of "psychological craving."

a. Physical craving refers to the unique activity that takes place inside a sober alcoholics body -- after they start drinking again. The body doesn't metabolize alcohol in the same way that a normal body metabolizes it, and it creates a situation where "the physical body" is demanding alcohol.

b. Psychological craving, can best be described as "an obsession of the mind." Just like Povlov's dog learned to salivate when it heard a bell (an inside physical response to outside stimuli -- or as Skinner would call it "classical conditioning") before being fed.

The food was satisfying a natural physiological need in the dog -- the need to eat -- the sound of the bell became a "psychological trigger" that would stimulate in "inner physiological response" inside the dog. Causing it to salivate.

Povlov discovered... that after a period of time had taken place, with the repeated experiment of ringing the bell... he could cause a physiological response inside the dog -- by using the outside stimulus. The outside stimulus triggers the psychological response -- which stimulates the "physical biological change in the body."

Relating this to alcoholics and alcoholism:

a. The alcoholics body is quite different than the average normal body.

b. The alcoholic begins drinking -- and the drinking fills a physiological need for calories (food) and produces either or a stimulus or relaxation "sensation" in the mind -- that is interpreted as filling a psychological need.

c. The alcoholic then learns through "classical conditioning" that alcohol will "fix certain problems."

d. Once this stage has been reached, the sight of a can of beer, or a liquor bottle, or ice cubes, or music (outside stimuli) can trigger:

d1. The mental obsession. And.
d2. A physiological change inside the alcoholics body -- that results in physical discomfort.

In re: d2, I refer to this as a "physical spring that gets sprung" in my gut. My head learned that when this physical spring gets sprung... the only thing that will fix it -- is a couple of drinks.

Once my body is experiencing "the sprung spring"... it distracts my attention... and the "insanity of the next first drink" compounds with the physical "spring" ... and hours later... I discover a drink in my hand, asking "How in the hell did this happen?"

To make matters worse... after I've had the next first drink.... the abnormal physical effect takes place inside my body, and it produces a "physical craving for more alcohol."

My head might be saying "No! No! I can't have another one! But, my body is producing a physical response that is greater than my will power to keep from taking the second and third and fourth, drink.

Thus:

a. Mental obsession. +
b. Psychological conditioning +
c. Physiological change in the body before the first next drink +
d. Physical craving that sets up after next first drink =

"Powerless over staying sober... now my life is unmanageable because I cannot manage to stay sober... I can not manage not to take the first drink or the second or third or fourth drink."

For this alcoholic -- God will not manage this for me. So, I can't just hit my knees and pray "Oh God! How did it happen again! Please help me!" ... more is required... Yes, you betcha... I would hit my knees and ask God for help... and God would help... by granting me a "grace period" to remain dry... long enough for me to pick up the tools that have been provided to me by God, "to manage my sobriety."

This is why our BB, says that we must experience a "transformation of thought and attitude" to get over our drinking. So, the solution requires a:

a. Spiritual approach.
b. Physical approach. And,
c. Psychological approach.

For this alcoholic to remain sober! ;-)

In the early stages of sobriety, especially... anything that will create a physical or emotional discomfort -- can be the stimulus that pushes the alcoholic towards the next first drink making it nearly impossible to stay sober... and eventually totally impossible to stay sober.

In the later stages of sobriety, after the 12 Steps, after the mental transformation -- if the oldtimer gets away from the actions and lifestyle that is keeping them sober (managing their sobriety) -- the "insanity of alcoholism" returns and the alcoholic will automatically drink -- with or without reason... trigger or no trigger... emotional conflict or no emotional conflict. It's simply an automatic reaction that takes place inside the mind and body of an alcoholic. Thus, the reason, that alcoholism is most often referred to as "a hopeless state of mind and body."

Does that help?

Dallas

Note: Thanks for catching my typo Robert... Yep. I was thinking about vodka! Love it!!! Too bad I'm alcoholic or I'd go have me some! :lol:
Last edited by Dallas on Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby ROBERT » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:12 pm

Pretty cool stuff there big D. I really agree w/ the Pavlovs dog thing--was POPLOV, done intentionally, as in popov vodka, Dallas? Any who--yea, early on or yrs later, if a term or phrase, used in the context of alcoholism is useful--so be it, whether or not being in the book-oh well, 90 in 90- no relationships for a yr--those aren't in there, but pretty good advice all the same,this I know from experience. Great sharing angel143.
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Postby Dallas » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:30 pm

A few months ago I noticed in the Grapevine a section added called "Alcoholism at Large. Medical, legal and social aspects of alcoholism."

I never thought I'd see something like that in print from "AA's Official Newsletter" as it's referred to. Figured that would hinge on the fringe of appearing to endorse an outside view or opinion. Much like the old AA's position of not referring to alcoholism as a disease... but simply an illness or malady.
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Postby gunner48 » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:12 pm

When I first entered AA I had no clue about what, why, who or anything else of why I drank. The only thing I knew was I couldn't do it any more. I grabbed onto what ever I could find not to take that first drink. I talked to my sponsor (Bryan) about all the stuff that was going on inside of me. I talked about words I was hearing, understandings I was going through. No matter what was happ-ening I just didn't drink. As time went by and I worked the steps with him and only him I started getting better. Something was happening. I started developing a relationship with God. As I understood it was God's job to change me and became willing for those changes to take place Something Happened. As I became eager for those changes to take place Something Happened. As I gained compassion for my fellow man Something Happened. As I expierenced Forgiveness Something Happened. As I look back on all the things I believed in at first and held onto, all have faded away and Something New has replaced them. Many times for some beliefs.
I use to believe everything the Old Timers said and tried to employ their beliefs into me. Didn't work then and not now. I develope in the way my God sees fit and right for me. I investigate lots of ways to better my beliefs. I talk to my sponsor today and run my ideal by him to see if they make sence. He keeps me focused on myself and my spirital developement and sometimes Something Happens that changes my beliefs. God is still working on me. He hasn't given up on my developement.

So if Triggers (just a WORD) work for you to help you handle what is going on today I say Fine. It will likely change as you grow in your Spirital Developement. Don't set anything you believe today in stone. God has a way of changing my mind.

1. Work the steps with your sponsor
2. Trust that your sponsor or Spirital Advisor has your best interest at hand
3. Trust that your God will change you in his time Not Yours
4. Listen to what others believe and when you hear something that makes since to you Maybe you can try it and see if it works for you
5. Keep rule 62 close at hand. You just might need it.
6. When I reach the point that I am always right,I start the steps over again. The ONLY THING that can block me from my God is my judgement of others.

Trude (walk steadily forward) the road of Happy Destiny.

Peace and Love
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Postby Jim W » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:30 pm

angel143 wrote:When I was in my 1st few weeks...I had things that would trigger the craving.

I dont have cravings and urges anymore. At least I havent in awhile, and God willing I wont again.

I just think that getting hung up on a word and whether or not its in the BB might scare away some newbies. If someone had told me that triggers have no place in AA....I would have bolted because I would have been like "great, so, now what? I dont belong here, then where?" and I would have ended up back at the bar.

Im not saying change AA's singleness of purpose...not at all. I need AA. I dont want anything to happen to it.

But if someone in a meeting says something about a trigger....in terms of sharing their E, S and H....I personally dont have a problem with that.

I know that others might. And that is fine.

I have never been to a treatment center...so I dont know what they do or dont preach.

I was just wanting to get some opinions....

Thank you for your sharing



And thank you for your point of view as well, Angel.

When I was a chronic relapser and trying to stay away from booze by hiding out in meetings, I drank because I still had an alcoholic mind. I hadn't recovered yet. That's why alcoholics drink again.

I don't worry about scaring anyone back out because I don't have that kind of power. Kind of arrogant of me to believe that I can help some one that's beyond human aid and just as arrogant of me to believe that I'm going to get in the way of someone drinking again.

I'm not real surprised when people do drink again. Used to be I was suprised when I found myself drunk wondering how it happened. Some old-timer said to me "It doesn't surprise us when you drink. If you want to surprise us, stay sober."

I think we worry way too much about feelings around here. But that's just what I think.
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Postby ROBERT » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:36 pm

SO, is that we- you, in the 3rd person :lol:
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Postby Jim W » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:55 pm

ROBERT wrote:SO, is that we- you, in the 3rd person :lol:


Robert,

if you are referring to the last paragraph of my post, by we I mean the fellowship. Myself, I'm not too worried about feelings. The people that helped me cared more about whether I lived or died than about hurting my sensitive little alcoholic feelings.
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