The Share

Overcoming Triggers 

With summer fast approaching, we asked these clean and sober folks with various lengths of recovery time how they deal with triggers ortemptations during the warm weather party season.


“The summer was always a little triggering for me. The smell of chemicals trigger me (laughs). Anything that smells like a chemical, I’m always like oooh, I know what that smell is. Or you’ll see a guy walking down the street and he looks really high. That’s triggering. My sponsee family has always been there for me. I call my sponsee brothers all the time.

We call ourselves the Alternagays—they’re my sober alternative gay community… At eleven and half years now, the triggers are different. I feel like they’re more emotional. I get more emotionally distraught as opposed to the cravings. I’ll get frustrated really quickly and that’s when I know that I’m not right within myself and that’s when I know I need to reach out to sponsor, to my support group and I need to go to a meeting, because I realize I’ve become more reactive. Where as before, my concerns were more about, don’t use today. Don’t go to what makes me feel better. Now it’s about, no, I’m not okay, how do I fix this?” 

—Andrew Felix Garside, sober since December 25, 2007. 


“I haven’t dealt with triggers for quite some time. The obsession has been lifted. I do get uncomfortable when people are passing around drugs and people are trying to get people in their space to use with them. I have to remove myself from those situation. I do prepare myself when I go out. I have people in my support network that I could contact at any time and I’m really open to my sponsor about what I do. There is no doubt in my mind that I can’t drink or use. I go out quite often. I go to clubs. I go to music events. I go shows, outdoor parties, undergrounds, raves, I do it all. I just love music and I love to be in the moment on the dance floor. I definitely feel like my spirituality is connected to dance and music. It’s when I feel present, in the moment, and carefree Music is part of my recovery very much like doing the steps, working with newcomers, and going to meetings. Dance is an element that keeps me sober.” 

—Jason D’abrosca, sober since January 6, 2015. 


“The things that not necessarily trigger me, but tickle me, are all these new beers and ciders out there that I was not exposed to when I was drinking and using, like grapefruit beer, I love grapefruit. I see all these new fruit beers and think where was all this stuff when I drinking? My drug of choice is alcohol and alcohol is all around me. I work really hard at keeping my spiritual fitness so I don’t get triggered by everything around me. Today, I use the basic tools that I was taught when I was at the Van News Recovery House, which is calling a sponsor and calling a support group and being rigorously honest, with myself, a higher power and another human being. I also realize that I’m able to have all of this fun with summer and parties because I have chosen a life of recovery. I know exactly how life was before recovery.

It was dismal. I know that the most functional way for me to have fun is without any drugs or alcohol. I also live in gratitude.” 

—Oscar Gill—sober since May 24, 2014.


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