Cravings and triggers…

9 Nov

12:44 am

are two separate realities. Who knew?

I feel like I’ve crested a hill that I never made it over before, and that is Craving Hill. Like, the cravings, rather than being a constant buzz in my ear, have become a semi-distant ringing. And, the cravings are distinct from the triggers. I always sort of thought that the trigger was the craving, or the craving was the trigger; not so.

(Bear with me; since I have been going to meetings and plugged into this “other world” of therapy and acceptance, my thoughts have been like massive explosions — expanding, convoluted, all over the place; shrapnel flying at me from all directions.)

My cravings are subsiding into memory. And if not, I slap my mental wrist so hard every time I think about giving up AGAIN before 90 days that they run fleeing, like a scolded dog, from my frontal cortex to the dark neuronal recesses where they fucking belong. That being said, I’m don’t want to jinx it. I keep waiting for them to come back, but they really haven’t. Yesterday, even when I was crying and feeling super-down and super-frustrated, I didn’t necessarily want to drink wine, i.e., I didn’t crave wine. I just wanted the feelings to go away.

Which brings me to my point: cravings are cravings, and they subside. Triggers are what’s behind the cravings, and they don’t! Well, I’m learning how to eliminate the triggers by doing something about them, OR, by learning how to take a deep breath, accept them, and plan to deal with them as soon as I can. For example, in order to not feel the trigger of existential inertia, I can send a pitch letter, or email someone at the university about a class, or make some headway on my long-shelved memoir (none of these things I’ve done yet, but that’s where the whole “plan to deal with them” part comes in!)…

At tonight’s meeting, I realized that most of my social angst comes from not being open, not doing the inviting. As an old roommate of mine used to say (this pertained to dating, which I was not doing any of in my late 20s), “You have to make yourself aVAILable.” She’d always emphasize and drag out the “VAIL” part, as if saying it like that would make me realize that I wasn’t doing so. I pretended to not know what she meant, but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with actually answering my phone, or picking it up once in a while and making the call, or stopping driving around [cold west coast city] alone, aimlessly, when I could be like, sitting in on a class or having coffee or doing a million and three other amazing things in that town that I never did because I was so damned scared to make myself aVAILable.

I get it now, but it’s funny to watch my old habits rearing their ugly heads here. I feel a bit…voiceless…these days. Like, I’ve lost my voice in this getting-sober thing. Or, I forgot the words. What I think it is, is not having my usual points of reference: in the morning, wine to look forward to; at night, wine to actually drink. Without my sign posts, I don’t know the script!

I haven’t EVER socialized in a new city without booze. ALL of my new connections, whether professional or personal, have almost always started around “drinks.” I don’t know how to do it differently. Yet, I do. Pick up the phone. Grow a pair. Just do it.

Anyway, it felt good tonight to see that I’ve actually made a few friends at AA; like, these people are becoming my friends, more than just 2D cartoon characters whose sad faces don’t resemble mine. Here’s to some future social events where cravings and triggers are NOT invited! 😉

Btw, friends: 7 meetings down, 28 days sober! Woo hoo!

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One Response to “Cravings and triggers…”

  1. sswl November 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    I guess I think of the trigger as the thing that gives me the craving…like walking through the grocery store not even thinking about wine and suddenly happening on the liquor aisle and wanting some, or getting really upset and then wanting a drink. In the first few months, cravings just seemed to hit randomly, without anything necessarily provoking them. Now, they’re few and far between, and usually very specific to a place or situation or feeling.

    Good for you for putting your real (sober) self out there and making friends. Scary, but SO worth it! And big congratulations on the 27 days!

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