Triggers Don’t Exist

     Triggers? Ah, no.

     Conventional treatment programs and addiction “specialists” tell you to write down your triggers, as if there is some reason – some person, place or thing that makes us want to use. Nope. So, what makes us want to use? Um, let’s see… NOTHING. Or everything, if you prefer. The truth is that nothing makes us want to use. Once you turn yourself into an addict, that’s just what you do. You use. It’s a reflex. And even before we cross that line, nothing actually “triggers” us to use. The only trigger is called breathing.

     Oh, there’s painkillers in your cabinet? Huh, cool. I think I’ll swallow all of those, thank you very little… not like you really needed them or anything… definitely not more than I do.

     So the experts tell me that all I have to do to stay sober and, by implication, to then go and have a great life, is to avoid my triggers? Just avoid all of the people, places and things that make me want to use? Okay, by the way, if I have to avoid this street, that park, this store, that friend, this TV show, that asshole… then I basically can’t go anywhere. Locking ourselves up in a cage is not a solution. Sorry, but I’d rather be free. To be clear, I don’t recommend that you go hang out in a bar the second you leave detox. What I’m saying is that if triggers do exist for you (in you’re head), then you’re not okay. Avoiding everything that supposedly makes me feel like using is most certainly NOT a solution.

     Remove the obsession and there is no such thing as a trigger. It’s simple, though not easy, and it may require the power of God depending on how fucked you are.

     Addict’s will try to blame anything and anyone for the reason they have to go drink like a pig or get jammed out of their minds. Let me help out a little bit: Nothing makes us want or need to use. We use because we love using. We use because we love drinking and we love drugs. I use because I’m too much of a child and a coward to walk through normal human feelings of pain, boredom, discomfort or depression. I’m too much of a wimp to grow up and too much of a shithead to do some real work on myself. I am 100% driven by fear. Basically, I am a loser. I am dependent. I feel entitled. I falsely believe no one suffers like I do. I feel as though I have the right to drink and use even if doing so comes at the expense of others. Truly, we addicts are simply children who don’t want to grow up.

     I wrote in my book that in an effort to spare our families the deception, as well as any future friends, spouses or employers, “addicts should suck their thumbs so people can identify them.”

     And though the process of losing choice is indeed a choice, at some point we do cross over that invisible line, break our bodies, acquire this allergy, and once that occurs, every time we start using, we can’t stop. It’s that simple. Trust me, I didn’t drink and get high because of my family, my friends, the bully in school, my withdrawn, eccentric father, my anger, my depression, the nutjob babysitter who sang Puff the Magic Dragon like a broken record as her body odor permeated the entire house, the guys who jumped me in college, the clinically insane, borderline girlfriend who made me want to jam a sharp object into my skull… and the list goes on forever. No one makes us want to use.

     And the booze doesn’t crawl it’s way down our throats, nor does the dope fly through the air and force itself up our noses or inject itself into our veins.

     And yes, pot is a drug. If you’ve been told by some doctor that your kid is fine to just smoke pot and that it’s not addictive, call me when he needs a ride to detox. Not only does your doctor have no clue about drugs or understand addiction, but he doesn’t even understand science, which is supposedly his expertise.

     “It was right there in front of me! Anybody woulda’ done it! Mom, I just drove by my dealer’s house! It wasn’t my fault, my therapist said his house was one of my triggers! Mom, you don’t understand, if you only knew what it was like to be me, you’d be smoking crack too!” 

     Right. Good stuff.

God, help me to always remember that nothing makes me use other than myself…

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