The Share | 07.2015

Identifying Triggers

With summertime in full swing, we asked a few clean and sober folks with different lengths of sobriety how they handle people, places and things that may trigger them to want to drink and use.


TheShare0715_RobHillI REMEMBER

“Luckily for me, the obsession to drink and use has been lifted, but every so often I guess the urge comes back… I remember those horrible feelings of what it used to be like and I remind myself that I don’t want to go back to that, so I do the opposite; I call my sponsor or a sober friend and I get those thoughts out of my head. Once I put it out there, and I see how crazy the idea is, and I’m back to my sober self.”

—Rob Hill, sober since September, 2013.


“First off, I go with support. I don’t go anywhere by myself that may be a trigger for me, like a barbecue with alcohol, or a bar to go dancing or if some of my friends are out and about and they drink… I make sure I have some sober support with me at all times. I can get triggered if I’m at a bar and it’s really hot and I’m sitting there and everybody else is drinking these icy little drinkies. I will have an ice cold drink-I just have to remember I can’t do the alcohol. I keep myself away from slippery playgrounds with slippery playmates. I don’t there go alone.”

—Jamie Freeman, sober since April, 1999.

TheShare0715_RobbyMasonJUST SHARE

“My head can go to something as simple as I want to have drug-fueled sex to something as complicated as why am I still on this planet… I’ve had some dark nights of the soul where I ask myself, why am I here? … I’m either pissed off because money is tight, or I’m not getting what I want. Then I get angry and resentful inside, and then it’s the person, place or thing that triggers the thought later on. I handle it by sharing… I just share about it.

—Robby Mason, sober since August, 1999.  

TheShare0715_ChristopherInterdonatoSUPPORT NETWORK

“Feeling tired is a big trigger for me; feeling hungry—a lot of things I encounter in my everyday life are going to trigger me, so finding the different coping mechanisms is very important. I find that when you talk about it, it takes the power away from it, and I stay very close and connected to my sober support network. When I think the entire situation through, and I think about what I’ve been through to get to where I’m at right now, the idea of using loses its appeal.”

—Christopher Interdonato, sober since July, 2014.

TheShare0715_GabrielCobainSEX WEBSITES

“I have been trying to stay clean and sober for the last year and a half and I relapsed three times. This last time I was only out for 24-hours. I was doing everything I was told to do-reading, writing, having commitments and going to meetings, but I was not really reaching out to people and I was not connecting with my higher power, like I am now. The way I avoid temptation is I stay away from sex websites and hooking up applications like Adam-4-Adam, or Grindr, because when I go there, it leads me to using again. Today I pray every day to keep the temptation away. Therapy also helps. So far, so good.”

—Gabriel Cobain, sober since June, 2015.