There is nothing more useless for addicts and alcoholics than relapse prevention (via trigger identification)… except maybe harm reduction (i.e. methadone, suboxone, etc.). When you go to any run-of-the-mill TC, an A&D counselor sits you down, gives you some paper, and tells you to write down all of your triggers. Then the addict stares at the counselor and then stares at the paper and thinks, Hunh??? Then the counselor says something like,
“Come on, Charlie, be honest, I’m sure you have many, many triggers. Think about it, dig deep and write them all down, because if you can identify your triggers, then you can avoid them, and then you can just stay sober. And if you bump into one of them by accident, not to worry because relapse is part of recovery.”
Besides all of that being complete nonsense, let’s just pretend for a moment that triggers exist and that I avoid every trigger known to man. It doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t prevent me from wanting to get high, which then brings up a much more important point. I can go around desperately trying to avoid triggers, but, uh, wait a sec, I’m still the most miserable, anxious, crazy, pissed off, twisted, depressed, hopeless, bored, frustrated and selfish piece of shit I know. WTF kind of solution is that?
Yup, that’s right. It’s no kind of solution at all. I’m still untreated and suffer from the mental obsession and am subject to relapse at any time. This solution is equivalent to locking myself up and throwing away the key, because that’s the only way to keep a sober-only addict sober. And locking us up is, of course, not a solution. In fact, considering these guys actually have to go to school to become a counselor, it’s just about the dumbest advice I’ve ever heard in my entire life. Once you let me out of my cage, guess what happens? That’s right, I go relapse. But not to worry because there does exist a real solution that can lift our obsession and make us free men and women, safe to go anywhere on God’s earth that we please without worrying about some fictional trigger. Refer to all previous posts to learn about that.
The reason it is so asinine to tell an addict to write down a bunch of triggers is because they must conjure them out of thin air. Triggers don’t exist, so the addict is tasked with making shit up that has nothing to do with why they use. We are essentially tasked with concocting lies, which seems a little counter-productive, but hey, that’s just me. The so-called trigger has no part in causing us to use, and the addict knows this, trust me. Addicts use because the thought (randomly or deliberately) comes into their minds and then they go use. Thoughts to use occur regardless of what is happening around us, regardless of where we are, what we’re looking at, who we are with, or what we are feeling.
Furthermore, once the thought occurs, there is no getting rid of it. We have already relapsed. We will use as soon as we get the chance, even if we have promptly removed ourselves from our so-called triggers. A&D counselors just don’t understand the mental component of addiction. So if you want to know the truth about addiction, this is it. Ask any real addict and they will tell you, “Yes, that is exactly right. That guy must be an addict. Why don’t they have people like that at the methadone clinic?” Lol.
I’ve had drug counselors spam this blog in the past demanding that I admit I am misguided and that triggers do indeed exist and that avoiding triggers works to keep “most” drug addicts sober and to curb their desire to use. Hold on, excuse me for a second while I try to stop laughing. There is no such thing as avoiding something and then suddenly we don’t want to use anymore. But I’m here to help, so let’s illuminate a few things for these poor A&D counselors, all too quick to flip the robot switch and recite everything they learned in school. This blog will open your eyes if you let it. Or you can just disagree for no other reason other than because this conflicts with what you think you know.
When an addict is walking down the street and they see a liquor store and then suddenly they want to drink, even though the counselor was able to push the alcoholic to conjure up some triggers, the truth is that his sudden desire to drink had nothing to do with the liquor store. It is just as likely that I walk right past the liquor store and I see some asshole pull into handicap spot and then I want to drink. It is also just as likely that I walk past the liquor store and the bus pulls up next to me and the exhaust goes in my face and then I want to drink. It is also just as likely that I walk past the liquor store and stare off into space and then I want to drink. It is also just as likely that I walk past the liquor store and nothing happens and then I want to drink. And it is also just as likely that I don’t even walk past any liquor store or do anything and I just suddenly want to drink for no reason at all.
The truth is that triggers do not exist. There is no such thing as a trigger. We can avoid every trigger we can possibly think of and not only will it not keep us from being ‘triggered’ by something totally new, or rather, nothing at all, but avoiding triggers doesn’t stop us from wanting to use because the thought will come for any reason or for no reason. The only trigger that truly exists is simply being alive, breathing, waking up. I used to look out the window and see a cloud and want to get high. Did the could trigger me? Only an idiot would actually think that.
I only write what I write to help addicts from making the effort to go to treatment, failing, and then getting bummed out because the advice was so wrong and so stupid that they then gave up trying because they are now convinced that the whole treatment thing is utter bullshit, which most of it is, and then they walk away and go use and overdose and die, thus brutalizing their families and suffocating the very spirit of their parents for life, thus ensuring total agony and dread and despair and depression until the very last breath that they take on earth.
Is it really any wonder why the statistics for addicts completing treatment are so atrocious? And why the heck are we screaming for more federal spending when a) federalized treatment worsens our addiction, and b) our country has over 17 trillion dollars of federal debt, over 70 trillion dollars in total public debt, and over 225 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities? Are you kidding me?
God, please help guide mainstream treatment to the light…