Written By:Amber Hollingsworth,LPC
Cowboys don’t beat addiction, chess players do.
Translation…. It is not about being tough; it’s about being strategic! You have to be smart to survive this cancer. YES, I MEANT TO CALL IT A CANCER!!!
Have you ever heard that addiction/alcoholism is “cunning, baffling, and powerful”? There couldn’t be a truer statement. The thing is… addiction doesn’t play by the normal universal laws. But once you understand this new set of addiction laws, you can make strategic decisions on how to protect yourself and your family.
The key to relapse prevention is knowing those rules.
Trust me… you CAN NOT BEAT THIS THING BY FOLLOWING YOUR INSTINCTS! That’s why people say you can’t do it by yourself. Addiction is a liar, manipulator, and a con-artist, that’s the “cunning part”. This disease has the power to rewire your instincts and that’s why you can’t rely on your own internal signals or thoughts.
The stronger your recovery gets the more cunning the disease will become.
I have had several new clients start their journey this week, so it has been back to the basics. Here are some examples how I go about teaching the basic philosophy of relapse prevention.
Earlier this week in session, one of my clients made a big step toward her recovery. She made the decision to use our Soberlink alcohol monitoring system to help make sure she doesn’t relapse.
The first few days after she started this, she noticed that her cravings increased dramatically. She was processing this with me in session, and I explained to her that this is probably a sign that her disease is trying to ramp up because it knows she is winning. It’s kinda like a kid throwing a big fit because they know they are busted! Afterward we discussed some skills/tactics she could use to bypass her triggers.
Another client this week was telling me how he managed to increase his odds of getting control of the ball in a “50/50” situation in soccer. I’m pretty girly when it comes to sports stuff, and I think he could tell by the look on my face that I didn’t know what that meant. He explained to me that this was a term that referred to a situation when 2 players get to the ball at the exact same time and the odds were 50/50 for who would get control of the ball.
This young man was telling me how he started studying this issue and he noticed that like 80% of people facing this dilemma in soccer will respond a predictable way. So, he developed a tactic to win control of the ball.
He told me that this strategy increased his odds of winning control of the ball to like 75% instead of 50/50. It took some focus and concentration at first, but now it’s just automatic for him. I loved hearing him tell me about this, because it made me know he has exactly what it takes to beat his addiction. I explained to him that if he could put that same kind of thinking toward his recovery, I have no doubt that he would be 100% successful.
Once you understand the predictable way addiction is going to come at you, it becomes possible to circumvent relapse and stay 3 steps ahead. The more you practice these skills the more automatic they become.
“NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS” -Hans Solo
I love this saying so much that I put it on the wall above my therapy couch. Don’t listen to all those negative people who talk about how only 1 out of 10 people actually get sustainable recovery. That kind of thinking creates the perfect breeding ground for relapse warning signs. If you listen to that kind of negative B.S., your disease will exploit that negative thinking cycle and start to whisper things to you like…” Everyone Relapses” or “You can’t stay sober because you don’t even want it for yourself” or “your family is never going to trust you again anyway, you might as well keep using if they are just going to keep accusing you of it and treating you like a child”.
I’ll bet at least one of those thoughts sounds familiar to you, doesn’t it?
See that’s what I mean when I say “addiction is predictable”. I have created this list of “Rookie Mistakes” so you can go ahead and start your Jedi Recovery Training. Once you get these basics mastered you will be ready for my more advanced course.
I will be holding a free live webinar on HOW TO MAKE SURE YOU NEVER RELAPSE AGAIN! I’m going to be uncovering the “RELAPSE FORMULA”. Once you understand this formula you will know exactly how to protect yourself from ever relapsing again! Click Here to learn the top 3 Rookie Mistakes that causes most people to fail!