Recognizing Triggers

Recognizing Triggers

One of the most vital steps for removing alcohol from our lives is learning to identify the triggers that may trip us up. Triggers are anything that might consciously or unconsciously cause a craving for alcohol -- the things that send a little message to our brains that we need to drink. If we can identify these triggers before they happen, we are better prepared to get through craving without slipping.


Anything can be a trigger. A person, place, thing, emotional state, type of weather, a smell, a sound, even a time of day. These triggers are usually closely related to past drinking behavior; perhaps you associate a warm spring breeze with day drinking at a brewery, or the smell of fresh bread reminds you of sitting around the kitchen table having a beer with family. Maybe you closely associate watching The Bachelor with a bottle of wine, or when you make dinner you used to pour a drink to hold while stirring. Knowing all of these associations before we experience them helps us anticipate and prepare for new associations.