I’ve noticed that Music is a big trigger for me.
I absolutely love music, love bands, gigs, festivals and I love to dance! In the last couple of months sober I have noticed that music automatically makes me think of drinking. It’s not so much that I’m craving alcohol while listening to the funky soul sounds of James Brown. It’s more a like fond memory of being drunk and enjoying myself to that particular song.
The two memories are so entwined it’s exceedingly difficult to differentiate one from the other.
I listen to music frequently, I listen to it when I run, when I work and when I’m in the car. This means I am being bombarded ever so subtly by ‘happy’ drunk party memories on a daily basis.
Warning signs are going up for me considering I have been very prone to relapsing in the past. If I am to make this a lasting change I need to find a way to reverse these thoughts or reframe them in a new way.
‘This Naked Mind’ by Annie Grace and Allan Car’s the Easyway to control alcohol have provided me with a method I base my recovery on.
The premise for these books is that there is no true pleasure inherent in the consumption of alcohol. The ‘perceived’ pleasure is a combination of a couple of things:
- The dopamine lie – Dopamine is released in the brain promising something amazing is on the way and makes you excited to get it.
- The relief you feel when you allow yourself to do something you’ve been denying yourself.
- The relief of the physical alcohol withdrawal if you’ve reached that point down the rabbit hole.
- The social situation you find yourself in when alcohol in being consumed that is truly pleasurable in and of itself, being at a concert with friends, camping at a music festival, dancing and partying the night away with your mates.
Reframing the memories and remembering the event or song itself rather that the drunkenness, perhaps trying to remebering the outcome of the night which was inevitably chaotic, or recalling the black outs.
I don’t want to unneccesarily obsess and demonise the memories so much that it becomes a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ moral thing in my head because I know for a fact that this leads to relapse for me. My ‘willpower’ eventually runs out and doing the ‘right’ thing very quickly becomes ‘Fuck It!’
Maybe its more about making new memories and having those on tap too.
In the words of Jame Brown: “Get up offa that thing, and dance ’till you feel better!”