It may appear difficult to change. For the suffering addict, change is paramount to survival. The following four concepts help to remain calm during times of anxiety. These steps are particularly useful while changing behavior and may even prevent relapse. Those working on their sobriety are encouraged to use these tools to help combat triggers, cravings and personal stressors.Dr. John P. Forsyth and Dr. Georg Eifert’s work, The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety offers substantial help in managing stress and anxiety while practicing and sustaining recovery.
Let’s review Forsyth and Eifert’s work on reducing anxiety and stress while in the recovery process. Following these four simple steps can help when detoxing or preventing relapse:
1. The Observing Self: The individual attempts to extricate himself/herself from irrational, unfair, dishonest and distorted thinking.
2. Thoughts: The individual examines his/her current thoughts to examine if they are positive, negative, helpful or detrimental to staying sober.
3. Actions: The individual observes his/her current thoughts – staying in the moment – to ensure making a positive, safe choice as though “pausing to think” before relapsing.
4. Feels: The individual strategically examines his/her physical sensations, stress level, breathing patterns and cravings at the present moment.
The goal of this exercise is to ensure positive, rational decision-making. The individual is urged to remain mindful while practicing these helpful steps. Asking for help from a therapist or counselor is highly encouraged.