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The confrontations you have with your addict will not always be easy, especially when you are in the grip of a powerful trigger. Your addict will try at every turn to counter your arguments, to lie and to trick you back into your compulsive behavior. Going into these situations unarmed will make them more difficult than they need to be. That is why preparing to make a different choice is so important.
When you can recognize your triggers, you can prepare to face them down ahead of time. Much like a boxer or an MMA fighter might study their opponent's moves before a fight, that’s what you need to do when preparing to confront your addict.
A great tactic to use is to fight fire with fire. Think of times in your life where you are triggered in a positive way. I had a client once who was in a bowling league, and a positive trigger for him was picking up his bowling bag. Whenever he did this, he was mentally preparing to be “up”, and excited and energized. This was a positive trigger for him. Use that energy.
When you are driving to work, you have some time in the car to make the mental shift from your “home self” to your “work self.” You know that the change is coming, and you prepare for it ahead of time. Likewise, when you are on the way home, you transition yet again, leaving the workday behind, and preparing to be more relaxed at home. These are all subtle ways we anticipate some of our triggers, and we do it every day.
Start by noticing what triggers you. What are your thoughts, feelings and actions? It’s okay to simply observe yourself in these situations, and assess how you feel. Figure out what caused you to feel triggered, and demystify it. You can take the power away from the trigger, and you can resist. You don't have to just give in. Instead, you take this chance to dialog with your addict. Get to understand why he wants to act out so badly, and prepare to make a different choice.
You always have a choice. Remember that. Sometimes, it feels like you don't, but that’s the biggest lie of compulsive behavior. You feel like you can't stop, or perhaps that you don't even want to. Deep down, you already know your behavior is a problem, but you can often talk yourself into it anyway. Compulsion has been taking you away from the things, activities, and people who are most important to you. Your addict would have you keep doing that to the detriment of all else, unless of course, you know how to stop him in his tracks.
Once you start to realize what’s triggering you, that feeling does not have to escalate anymore. You can anticipate these situations, and have a plan in place for how you plan to combat them. When you notice, demystify and resist, every time you feel triggered, those triggers begin to lose their power. It's a step-by-step process… and it requires your full commitment. But it has worked for thousands of other men, and it can work for you too.
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