No, not the gun slinging, hammer cocking, bullet shooting kind; the psychological kind.

Back in the days when Ozzie Osbourne had a better psychological health profile than me, and his kids had far better prospects; people would often use the word “trigger” to me, I’d often nod my head and agree but I don’t think I truly understood. A trigger to me could have easily have been a duel at dawn for all I knew. Psychiatrists would often say, “Oh, it seems as if alcohol is your trigger, maybe it’s time that you stopped”, of course, they could have just told me I was going to win the lottery and travel to Australia. It made no difference, I was never listening.

Anyway, to be frank – triggers are human emotional responses to external stimuli from the world around them; my Dad for instance, he could phone me up and shout down the phone for half an hour to tell me how useless I was, and afterwards I would down half a bottle of vodka to take the stress away. My Dads intrusive dressing down of my character flaws being the trigger for my excessive binge drink on that day. I had many, many triggers, often related to negative stimuli from other people, and the alcohol served as blotting paper for a night. Triggers aren’t all negative, there are many positive emotions that can result from these, such as the wife exposing part of her breasts to me; I needn’t say more there.

I think it’s quite life changing to be able to recognise your self-destructive triggers; maybe you are the hopeless romantic with incredibly low self esteem and get attached to any person that dares to throw a compliment your way, or the aggressive fighter, hooked on adrenalin and always trying to end up in a fight somewhere. Whatever the case may be reflection is a brilliant tool. I know a lot of mine and it becomes easier to be accountable for my own actions. “I” chose to drink the half bottle of vodka, not because my Dad made me feel low, “I” ate the whole bar of chocolate because “I” wanted to, not because my wife was getting some.

“Accountable for one’s actions” moving on, this is an extremely mature concept. For many years up until very recently my mentality was that of, “Ohh, I did this because this person was doing that”. Did you remember the time when your Mum said to you, “If all your mates were to jump off a cliff, would you?” well, the concept is still the same. You didn’t do this because of the other person, you did this because you wanted to. Yes, you stoop up and made the decision, not your friend, not your boss, but you. You always had the chance to say, no! I don’t think this is a good idea, but you didn’t so you need to take a stand for what you have done, be that good or bad.

This is where self esteem kicks in. When you finally realise that your life is your own, yours for the taking, you can learn, travel, fail miserably, achieve greatness, love, lose love, the world is yours for the taking.. and it Dawns on you. “I am my own person, I control my own life, me, only me and no-one else”. Then you finally realise, in ground-breaking, awe-inspiring, earth-shatteringly brilliant fashion, that you are truly free.

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