Clare Myatt, somatic, coaching, somatic coaching, psychotherapy, Strozzi, London, addiction, highly sensitive person

Early in my work with recovering people, we spent a lot of time figuring out what ‘triggered’ them to drink or use other drugs. It was important they know this, both to move towards quitting, and once abstinent, to stay that way. The Matrix Institute on Addictions, where I trained in Los Angeles in the early 1990’s, used a Thought Stopping model. This involved awareness of the trigger, noticing the thought that came from it to drink or use, and before that thought evolved into euphoric recall, invoking a big red STOP sign in the imagination, and moving. Important to shift activity to something different than when the thought hit; essential to move the body and actually do something different. Could be as simple as stretching, or getting a drink of water, going to the bathroom, brushing your hair, going for a walk, etc. But shifting energy seemed to be a key component.

I recently came across this blog post about Trigger Events by expert Terry Gorski and found it useful reading. An excerpt from the book Enough Already!: A Guide to Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Addiction by Bob Tyler, the author explains the relationship between a seemingly unrelated event and someone being triggered. Let’s take an example.

Sam, clean and sober for ten days, is really clear that when he goes to the grocery store he needs to avoid the aisles where alcohol is on sale. Better still, frequent grocery stores that don’t even sell alcohol. However, he is taken by surprise when he reaches for a big tub of vanilla ice cream and feels pangs to smoke dope again. What?! How does ice cream relate to pot? Well, his brain has set up a neuronal pathway between the two because when he was smoking, he would often reward the inevitable ‘munchies’ with sweet things like brownies, cake, chocolate, biscuits and yes, you guessed, ice cream. So for now, he needs to navigate the aisles selling these products with equal care. It won’t always be this way, but in the beginning, he needs to be cautious.

If any of this material is relevant, and you’d like to explore how I may be able to help you either get or stay clean and sober, please email or contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

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