How can you prevent relapse?
Henry Steinberger, Ph.D.
Relapse prevention is essential in recovery from chemical and behavioral addictions. Why? Because addiction has been found to reoccur more often when steps are not taken to cope with the cravings, urges, peer pressures, situational cues, bodily discomforts, neuro-biological changes, and other factors which pave the way for slips and relapses.
Therefore, we regard relapse as a “normal” (though distinctly undesirable) possibility on the road to recovery. When you choose to view a relapse as a mistake, grist for the mill, a learning opportunity and a discrete single event rather than viewing it as a total failure and as evidence predictive of failures, then your chances for success increase greatly.
“The person who really thinks, learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.” – John Dewey
Top 10 relapse prevention strategies
1. Learn to willingly accept your mind – The first step to preventing relapse is to Continue reading
I Want It, and I Want It Now!
by Alina Boie, M.S.
We live in a world full of instant self-gratification and we have little patience to wait or delay access to our “treats”. Almost everything nowadays is at a click of a button – literally! It is so difficult to say no to those appealing coupons and “must-have-it” deals. Everything around us attempts to help us get what we want faster – instantly, if possible. We want faster cars, faster computers, readily available food, easy access to the movie we want to see, appliances that work without problems, etc. While this may appear as a very appealing benefit of the modern society, it also undermines our ability to manage our frustration, when we do NOT get what we want immediately.
If you ever had trouble finishing something, postponing a project that was already overdue, then you might suffer from what Albert Ellis jokingly called “can’t-stand-it-itis”. We all have it! Every time we avoid short-term frustrations such as cleaning a closet, writing a paper, etc., we are actually feeding our frustration intolerance. This may lead to Continue reading
Feed Your Frustration Intolerance Some Data
by Malek Mneimne, M.A.
Life is filled with constant adversities, challenges, and difficult situations. According to the A-B-C-D-E model of REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy), “A” stands for adversity (or activating stimulus). Not everybody is faced with the same A’s or challenges in life, and we have varying views of what is challenging or difficult to overcome. Nonetheless, adversity, challenge, or difficulty, however defined, is inevitable, much like death, taxes, and ratings of worth.
Adversity can contribute to feelings of hopelessness and depression. In the face of adversity, we may believe that we can’t stand it or that it cannot be overcome. We may believe that nothing we do will change the adversity or difficult situation. We need not be powerless in the face of adversity, however.
Oftentimes, people become unnecessarily hopeless and depressed when they believe that they can do little, if anything, about adversities or difficulties facing them. Continue reading
An Exercise For Building Urge Busting Muscle
Discomfort is a fact of life. It is especially a fact of life when you have strong urges to engage in addictive behavior and you resist them. Part of the SMART program includes tools to cope with urges – below we’ve included an exercise that may help you cope with the discomfort of urges.
- Let yourself feel the full experience of discomfort – no avoiding!
- Once you’ve felt it, do a gut check – get an overall estimate of the discomfort level. Let’s say on a 100-point scale, you’re feeling discomfort at a 75.
- After you have identified your “discomfort level” divide the discomfort into two pieces:
- The literal, actual sensations you feel and
- The “I don’t want these sensations!” reaction that you have toward the literal, actual sensations.
- Once you’ve made the “cut,” see which piece is bigger. Most folks report it is the “I don’t want these sensations!” part, not the literal, actual sensations part.
- Now you make a second cut. This time cut the “I don’t want these sensations” piece into
- “I just don’t want these sensations” and
- “I MUST NOT have these sensations.”
Which of these two pieces carries more discomfort? Most people say it’s the “I MUST NOT have these sensations” piece. Continue reading