Friends of the Blog, I cannot stress to you enough the vital, powerful, and user-friendly importance of the following exercises, shared with us and created by our San Francisco Convenors. Please have a good look see at it, put yourself in place of where it says “I”, and by all means, tell us what you’ve found out here in the comments, as will I!
For Every Trigger There is a Toggle
Most of us have experienced a Trigger—something that generates an immediate and overwhelming desire to have a drink or take a drug. Usually it’s some kind of sensory experience, like the smell of limes, or hearing a sad song, or talking with a specific person. Sometimes it’s a place. These Triggers are echoes of the past—your Addict Self trying to get back some control.
How can I get around such a powerful force? It begins with my Sober Self being fully aware of my personal Triggers. If I know them, I can anticipate and prepare my response. If I can’t avoid them, I can plan for them. That’s where Toggles come in—they can be a counterbalancing force to the Trigger.
Begin with Self Knowledge: Know My Triggers
- What is the trigger? A smell, a sound, a person, a place?
- What feelings does it create?
- How long will it last?
For example, a trigger might be smelling lime juice because I used to drink vodka-limes. The smell causes a deep, immediate desire to drink, and lasts for a short anticipated time.
Create My Toggles
- Imagine a sober opposite that will temporarily disable the Trigger.
- Imagine a sober feeling and attach it to the Toggle.
- Practice the Toggle until the Trigger disappears.
In our example, I might imagine a lime tree that reminds me of my garden, and think about the peace and happiness I feel while enjoying the garden until the craving passes (and I know it will pass eventually—a powerful understanding by itself).
Anticipate and Practice
- What Triggers could be coming up this week?
- Imagine them happening and practice the Toggles
- Create a list of Triggers and their opposing Toggles
- Notice the transition as Triggers become Toggles
With practice and repetition, my Toggles will override and become a natural and healthy, habitual, unconscious reaction to the Triggers, something I am fully aware of and don’t even have to think about.
Tell us about your experience
Do you have Toggles that work for you (maybe by a different name)? If so, please share!
— Prepared by San Francisco Conveners