Prevention is one of the most difficult arenas in addiction treatment as most people say that when they had a lapse/relapse in the past that they did not “think” at all. We introduce ideas and new ways to become more aware of what is going on prior to use.
Here are some techniques that are helpful:
Distraction: Think about something else. Call someone. Work out. Hobbies. Go for a walk. Go to a meeting. Acknowledge the urge without giving in to it.
Direct Coping: CBA, thought records, journaling, researching your problem, rehearsing how to solve the problem, having an assertive conversation, reading recovery literature.
Waiting: Sometimes, waiting 20 or 30 minutes before taking any potentially negative actions can make all of the difference in the world. Practicing mindfulness, urge surfing or try to stay busy, distract yourself and allow cravings to pass – they will and they do.
Recognizing: Knowing beforehand what the triggers can be will go a long way toward helping the addict prepare beforehand for such urges, cravings and situations.
Network: Having a network or list of trusted friends, loved ones, sponsors and others who will be there to provide support and reason in a moment of potential relapse is one of the strongest ways one can arm his or herself against relapse.
Relax: Breathing exercises and other relapse prevention techniques go a long way in strongly fighting the natural urges most experience on the road to recovery.
Being Realistic: Many people get overwhelmed when they think about being sober or abstinent forever. Forever is a long time! It is exponentially easier to think about being sober or abstinent for today. And today only. Think in easy-to-manage blocks of time as opposed to black and white “forevers” and “nevers.”