The Subconscious and Triggers

I was in my recovery class last night learning about the subconscious. How it’s formed, what’s stored in there and so on.

One statement that was made was very interesting to me. The speaker said that the subconscious cannot tell reality from fantasy (ie- a memory). I discussed it with my facilitator and how that plays out in real life is a large part of how triggers work.

For instance, you hear a song or smell something that brings you right back to a moment in childhood. It’s your subconscious recognizing what you don’t consciously and recalling that memory like it’s in the present. Not differentiating the memory from the actual present.

This is what happens when we trigger. We have certain experiences- sight, sound, taste, touch and so on- that bring us back to a moment that has been cemented into our subconscious and when it recalls that from the memory banks, it’s almost real to us and we react accordingly because of those strong feelings.

Reminding ourselves that the actual memory is of the past and things are changing helps. Lingering reinforces the memory and creates another layer in that moment.

I don’t know about you all, but that is very hard for me. I’ve buried my pain for years and it’s very hard to recognize when I am doing that again or if I am acknowledging the feeling, letting it pass then dealing w/ the new, present one the trigger has brought up. It’s a learning process that I hope to get better at, because the stuffing isn’t working any more than wallowing would.