10 Alcohol Triggers You Need to Know
Are you looking to stop or moderate your drinking? If so then you need to become aware of what may be triggering your cravings for alcohol. Knowing what makes you feel like you need a drink allows you to put in place a plan of action to change what you usually do. At our clinics, we see similar alcohol triggers appears time and time again so we thought we would share them with you.
Understanding and knowing about your particular triggers goes some way to changing your reactions. Our brains think in milliseconds which means that once our brain knows that we are around a trigger it immediately sends you the signal to have a drink. We want you to help slow down that process so that you walk into situations with conscious awareness of your triggers allowing you to put in place a different plan of action.
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What Triggers me to Drink?
Everyone may have different situations that trigger their craving for alcohol but many of them have similarities which is why it is useful to know what the most popular drinking triggers are. Whilst all these situations might not apply to you it is important that you note down your particular alcohol triggers so that you can think about ways of changing the way you think the next time you face a similar situation, person or location.
Let’s dive in and discuss what the most popular issues are.
When Your Children are in Bed
Ok, so not all of you have children. If that is the case move on to the next trigger. For those of you that have how many of you have craved some time to yourself in the evening and were counting down the hours until they went to bed?
Raising children isn’t easy and can be especially hard if they have decided to play up that day. No wonder so many people pick up a glass of wine or a bottle of beer when they are no longer around as a way of rewarding themselves for getting through another hard day. The only problem is that the reward isn’t usually just one drink. Finding alternative methods of rewarding yourself is the key where this trigger is concerned.
On Your Way Home from Work
There are a certain number of our clients who regularly stop on the way home from work in order to get a drink. Usually, they have a regular bar or pub that they pass on their journey home and they can’t resist going in and having a few drinks whilst catching up with the other regulars or staff.
An occasional drink is fine but many of our clients would spend hours in there every evening and we had to ask why? Perhaps they were lonely and this was the only way they could be in the company of others. Alternatively, a large proportion had problems with their partner but rather than confront them they would avoid having the conversation and spend their night drinking to forget their problem. If this is you then you need to understand your drivers in order to make changes to your drinking triggers.
Alcohol and Your Partner
Many of our clients find that it is actually their partner that acts as their alcohol trigger. Perhaps they both sit side by side in the evening and one asks the other do they want a drink. Automatically they do exactly what their partner is doing, partly due to habit and partly due to a fear of missing out.
You need to ask yourself have you got in a cosy routine with your partner that centres around alcohol being drunk in the evening. If so then you need to start to mix things up in the evening to prevent you automatically drinking as soon as they are around.
Stress and Alcohol
The number one issue that we see causing alcohol triggers is stress. Whether you have had a bad day at work or are stressed trying to get the kids to do their homework it is the number one reason why our clients drink. At some point in their life, they used a drink in order to relax them as a coping mechanism and their mind liked the feeling it gave them. So the next time a stressful situation occurred they did the same again. Before they knew it they were drinking every day as a way of coping.
The only issue is that stress is not really improved because of alcohol. All alcohol does is make you forget about it for a few hours. The stress will still be there when you wake up with a hangover the following morning. The key to managing your drinking triggers, in this case, is to find good stress management techniques to lower the levels. Once your levels are lower you have less need to drink.
A simple way to lower your stress levels is to listen to our self-hypnosis for relaxation and stress reduction audio to assist you in switching off.
Alcohol and Sex
Whilst we are on the subject of partners how many of you drink before having sex and can’t imagine being in bed with someone sober? There are a number of reasons why this might be occurring. Perhaps you have confidence issues and when you have drink those tend to fade away so you are less conscious of your body and thoughts. Alternatively, perhaps your partner no longer attracts you and this is a way of not having to think about it. Or even that you think alcohol is the only way to get aroused.
Work out what your particular problem is and tackle the underlying cause. As an example confidence doesn’t come from a bottle it comes from your mind. Do some confidence training to boost your self-esteem instead of drinking.
Drinking and Social Situations
Confidence issues can be an important reason why our clients drink too much particularly when they are faced with social situations. Many of them will have learned in their teenage years to drink as a way of feeling more confident in front of their friends or in bars. As time has gone on the habit has stuck and now they doubt whether they could enter a social occasion without having drunk something first.
The reality is that alcohol doesn’t make you more confident but it does lower your inhibitions. Many of our clients will be using alcohol to avoid embarrassing themselves or stop worries about being judged. What they don’t realise is that being drunk only draws attention to them rather than making them blend in.
Alcohol triggers often involve emotions but most people are not even aware of it happening. Many of our clients are carrying around a significant amount of emotional baggage that has been unresolved. For many, this has been with them for years without them even realising. These emotions can be ruling their life such as:
Alcohol becomes a way of coping when those internal emotions become too much. We know for example many of our clients use alcohol as a way of dampening their anxiety levels (or so they think). They then find the day after drinking they suffer from “anxiety” and feel even worse. Resolve the underlying emotion and you can help reduce the drinking triggers.
This is why our Drink Less Alcohol Programs look at the bigger picture rather than just concentrating on the drinking habit alone. You need to address all the issues that are at play, not just the one that seems the most obvious.
Never underestimate the power of habit when it comes to your alcohol triggers. We are creatures of habit and many of us love to do the same things at the same time day after day as a way of feeling safe or comfortable.
That means if you come home in the evening, take off your coat and head straight to the fridge to grab a glass of wine and then repeat that, again and again, you have created an incredibly powerful habit. Now when one day you decide you want to come home and not have a drink every fibre of your being is screaming for that glass of wine.
This is a psychological addiction, not a physical one. Your mind just wants to repeat the action it is used to. This can be simply remedied by distracting it by doing something else that is absorbing that stops the need for the drink.
Learn about Mindful Drinking and how it can completely change your awareness of what you are doing. Rosamund Dean has a book called Mindful Drinking – How Cutting Down Can Change Your Life.
Using Alcohol to Sleep
A significant number of our clients have a problem with sleep. They have a real worry or fear about not getting enough sleep at night so they use alcohol as a way of quietening their mind so that they fall asleep. Once this appears to have worked for them once they then repeat the same behaviours again and again.
The problem is that alcohol doesn’t necessarily do what they want it to do. In fact, alcohol gives you a significantly lower quality of sleep meaning that when you wake up the following day you are likely to be more tired. Dealing with our clients sleeping patterns is important in changing their alcohol triggers. When we can show that it is possible to sleep better without drinking the need to self-medicate disappears away.
Getting a good nights sleep isn’t difficult when you know-how. Our guided meditation for sleep is the perfect tool to get you to sleep entirely naturally. Just press play and lay back and don’t listen too closely to the words. After a while, your mind should start to wander and eventually you drift into a deep sleep.
Illness and Alcohol
Whilst we are on the subject of self-medication we need to talk about illness and its role a drinking trigger. In this case, we are not talking short term illnesses that make you feel nauseous or put you out of action for a couple of days but longer-term more chronic illnesses or disabilities.
As an example when our clients are in chronic pain they may start to use alcohol as a way of helping them deal with a flare-up. The alcohol helps to numb the pain and makes them forget their lack of mobility or inability to lead a normal life.
We have seen clients who are drinking too much after recovering from cancer, strokes or who are using it as a coping mechanism to deal with long term conditions such as MS or Fibromyalgia. Addressing the psychological elements to these drinking patterns is hugely important if we are to create positive changes to our client’s habits and behaviours.
Alcohol triggers can be addressed by identifying your problem areas and then putting in place a plan for when you come up against that particular situation, person or location. When you have a plan of action and set an intention it becomes so much easier to change how you react. Read more about how to deal with alcohol cravings in our article on the subject.
We have a set of Alcohol Reduction Printables that you can use to help you make the changes you need to take back control. Our printables have tracking sheets to help you recognise your problem situations as well as tools and strategies to help you take back control.
Change Your Drinking Mindset
You can also change your mindset around alcohol by using our self-hypnosis to drink less audio download. This has been designed to help you change subconscious thought patterns around alcohol which can be helpful in lessening the impact of the triggers. You can purchase the download in our online store to help you change how you think.
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