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.
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.
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?
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!