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Avoiding Visual Triggers

Last month, I spent four days with my family in a rented cabin on a mountain. At my house, no food is out on the counter except for ripening fruit. At the cabin, there was granola and chips and trail mix with M&Ms and birthday cake all out in the open. The first couple of days I didn’t think anything of it. I made it through the birthday celebration watching them all eat cake. I got used to their erratic meals and snacking and stuck to my own schedule of three meals at specific times. I find safety in that.

But on the third day, the visual triggers got to me. I didn’t really want the granola or the trail mix (I don’t like M&Ms) and the cake was down to the dregs. But all day I wanted sugar. I wanted to get in my car and drive to the grocery store up the highway and get ice cream bars and my favorite chocolate and stuff myself with them. I didn’t do that, and I didn’t eat any of what was there. But I really suffered.

I realized after I got home that I could have asked to keep the counters clean. There were empty shelves in one of the cupboards and I could easily have removed the visual triggers but it didn’t occur to me to do that. I think I’m still not completely comfortable asking for what I need even if it means I suffer. There was a good lesson in that and one I want to remember.

What do you need to ask your family for in order to strengthen your abstinence and recovery?

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