Today I want to talk about triggers. A trigger is something that happens to us in the environment that creates a visceral reaction and we respond with a thought, and then a behavior. Out of that behavior there is a reward system. For example, you’re driving in traffic and someone cuts you off. So, you scream, yell or flip them off, and that is your behavior. The reward is you feel self-righteous.
When you perpetuate this trigger behavior, reward cycle, over time, it becomes a habit. Whatever your maladaptive coping mechanism is, that becomes your perpetual habit. The key is to recognize your trigger. This is vitally important when you’re first new to recovery. Once you recognize the trigger then you have to sit in that trigger without the corresponding behavior. Most triggers will you give you some type of sensation in your body. Once you can identify it, you start to gain a lot more control over your reactions, behaviors and the rewards you get.
We don’t do anything without a reward and the consequences, over time, shadow these rewards. By then, its sometimes too late. So, if we catch it early and we practice sitting in that trigger, we have much more awareness, power and the ability to not react with the maladaptive coping mechanisms that we are used to.