Triggers are hard enough already, but alcohol in any amount seems to just make matters worse. I have a harder time calming down and gaining control, because concentrating isn’t easy. It’s difficult enough when I’m sober to remember to breathe and that I’m safe if a trigger is bad enough, but with alcohol it’s almost impossible to remember my coping mechanisms. Even after just one drink, I notice myself reacting stronger to triggers than I ordinarily would. Because of this, I don’t drink anymore if my mental state isn’t great or I’m having a bad day/week as far as triggers go. I’m also a little bit careful to avoid triggers when I’m drinking, but that’s pretty difficult. I guess the only good news is that it would be impossible for me to use alcohol as an unhealthy coping mechanism. It would only make matters worse.
The first time I found out about alcohol and triggers not mixing well was actually pretty scary. Earlier that day I had a somewhat tough trigger, and I started thinking about it in bed after I’d been drinking quite a bit. I got flashbacks to both that moment and what it reminded me of. I just couldn’t stop them. I began to physically cringe every time. Eventually I was able to take control, but I went to my friends for help since I was still upset by it.
Another time, someone triggered me by touching me on the side of the ribs. I held onto the back of a chair for dear life as my breath came in gasps. I couldn’t remember how to calm down.Thankfully, I was able to remember a note in my phone where I’ve listed my most helpful coping strategies. After that, I was better in no time.
The good news is that sometimes I’m surprisingly calm after being triggered, and I can recover in less than a minute. Still, it kinda sucks being extra vulnerable when I’m trying to relax, but at least I have a great toolkit of strategies for when things go wrong. Knowledge is power.
Thank you for reading this article. You can find my backstory here.