18 plus years sober, and triggers still happen.

Real Estate Agent with Brokers Hub Realty SA514778000

18 Years of sobriety yet, you can still be triggered out of nowhere.

For those that know me, I have always been very vocal about my alcoholism and my journey to continue staying sober. In February 2023, I reach my 18th year milestone. As I continue to celebrate my monthly wins (the 9th day of each month) I always try to share some insight with those who follow me.

In the past couple weeks, I was triggered by a simple smell of Jack. In my heavy drinking days, Budweiser and Jack Daniels were my "go to". Day in, and day out, I would sip, gulp and pour both down my throat. Always searching for the "high" the feeling of being "comfortably numb" where you're not "drunk" but you're no longer sober. Relaxed enough to forget the trials of the day, but coherent (at least thats what I'd tell myself) enough to function. 

So the last Friday in April, my wife and I went out with my longtime, best friend, Todd to happy hour (with many friends) then we three went out to dinner. During our dinner, Nickie saw a drink that was based with Jack, a splash of Fireball and a toasted marshmallow hanging across the brim of the glass. she loves roasted marshmallows, so  she was intrigued with the drink. Not a normal "whiskey drinker" she asked if I cared if she ordered it, I said no, go ahead. After 18 years, I can easily handle friends and colleagues drinking around me, my Time limit in bars is about 2 hours, so I was find with this.

As the drink arrived, the scent of Jack Daniels made its way over to me. The smell triggered me in a way I wasn't ready for. It was kind of a shock, I can handle NA Beer all day long, but the smell of Jack as she tried it and set it on the table made me nervous. I quickly moved the drink over to Todd so it was away from me. Understand, neither of them would let me "touch it" and it was not my intention, I am much stronger than that. But the scent triggered a desire.

If you're struggling with booze, drugs or any mental health issues, make sure you have someone you can lean on, talk too and make sure they have your back in time of need. I am lucky, I have a few of those people in my life. 

Heres a the story in a little more detail:


Posted by



Chris Dunham
The Real Estate Guy™


"Equal Housing Opportunity"

Brokers Hub Realty

Comments (5)

Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Congratulations on your will power and staying sober for 18 years.

May 11, 2023 06:27 AM
Chris Dunham

Thank You

May 17, 2023 11:00 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

Congratulations and prayers.  I have the personality of an addict.  I couldn't live close enough to a place to gamble and while I do drink, it's social and I'd say a limit of 2 drinks and not more than 6 times in any given year.  I've never "over done" or had it be an issue in my life, but I have the deep gut feeling that it could.  I was a smoker, but I quit and that has been difficult and like you sometimes the trigger sets off a desire and I'm staying strong.  And it can be the most random things that do it.

May 11, 2023 07:46 AM
Chris Dunham

Great job on recognizing your "weakness" and setting limits. 

May 17, 2023 11:00 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Chris - good for you.  It's one day at a time in so many things in the operation of daily life.  

May 11, 2023 09:52 AM
Chris Dunham

Couldn't agree more Michael 

May 17, 2023 11:00 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Kudos to you, Chris, on these many years of sobriety and your willpower. Not being a drinker, it's hard for me to fully understand what someone like you goes through. But I totally respect how hard you work to stay sober.

May 11, 2023 11:51 AM
Chris Dunham

Appreciate it Nina 

May 17, 2023 11:00 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Chris- Congratulations on your 18th year of sobriety!  I have known a few alcoholics and you're right...the important thing is that they have people around them for support. Keep it up...one day at a time. 

May 11, 2023 05:30 PM
Chris Dunham

Thanks Kathy

May 17, 2023 11:00 AM