A relapse prevention plan is something that you can write down that will offer you the best chance of reducing the risk of relapse.
In it you include:
- Your relapse signature
- What you can do at each stage to cope
- Any life or psychosocial events that you feel may have triggered you in the past
- A list of people you can turn to for support either by phone, email or within communities
It is important to have documented this and to stick to it because at the time we can get so caught up in the ‘feeling’ that we fail to action any ‘thinking’ and this can lead to us engaging in the very type of behaviour we were trying so hard to avoid. I found myself becoming very ‘hard of thinking about my drinking’ when a relapse was on the horizon either because I was overwhelmed, or I didn’t want to do it differently, for whatever reason. Drinking felt almost ‘hard wired’.
Support for me has been the single biggest factor in keeping me on the sober path. I talk to Mr HOF, I blog on here, I read and comment on others sober blogs, I hang out in sober communities whether it be here in the wider public sober blogging community, or whether in more private communities such as Soberistas, or the Booze Free Brigade on Yahoo, or any other kind of community. You could attend an AA meeting or organise outpatient support through your GP if that is available.
Recovery is hard and can feel very lonely at times. It can begin to feel like a relapse is inevitable, but it isn’t. We always have a choice to pick up or not pick up a drink and I hope that these posts have added to your sober toolkit for the next time wolfie comes a-whispering in your ear 😉
Are there other sober tools I should add to my toolkit to make a relapse preventable?
Maybe it’s just me but since I stopped drinking I find myself reflecting on my past and what bought me to the here and now. Everything happens for a reason right?
And whenever I reflect I wonder about times that my drinking wasn’t a problem – like when I was pregnant. Now I’m not saying this as a joke because in the UK you can still have a drink during pregnancy whereas in many other countries they recommend not to.
So why is it, this wasn’t difficult for me? Was it because during the first three months you feel sick and the thought of wine makes you want to vomit? Did that 3 months almost count as a 100 day challenge and I just got used to it? Why could I have my one glass of wine on a Saturday night and not want to inhale the whole bottle? Was it because I knew that drinking more would be harmful to my on-board passenger? I do remember in my first pregnancy being very vigilant but with my second was a little more laissez-faire and I found it more difficult to give up the booze but of course I did.
I guess if I’m honest part of me is still wrestling with the idea of ‘forever’ and looking for chinks of hope to draw from in the past. Wolfie whispering ‘see you did it then and it wasn’t a problem. You could go a whole week and only have one glass on a Saturday night and that was fine’. I do remember being resentful that I could only have one, second pregnancy round.
I appreciate that this is a post of more questions than answers and maybe you want to chime in too? What’s your recollections and thoughts? I’d love to know 🙂
God I so love the internet! Not only do I get to hang out with all you really cool people but there are so many endlessly brilliant resources.
I saw this video and thought oh god that was me and wolfie?! So if it helped me maybe it might help you?
If you are torturing yourself about things that you did in the past and feel guilt then Eckhart Tolle‘s conversation with Oprah might really help.
Killer line for me: ‘The awareness was not there to act differently’ and that is it in a nutshell. It’s only when I stopped drinking that I had the awareness to act differently but also equally when I was drinking the booze removed awareness and made it difficult to sometimes act differently.
I wish I had had the foresight to do this when I stopped. The value of hindsight and all that means that I missed the opportunity, but you don’t have to if you are reading this and still drinking.
What I wish is that I had taken a ‘before I stopped drinking’ selfie. Why? Because once you get a fair amount of time under your belt you begin to forget how awful it was and the impact that it had on you both physically and psychologically. A picture of me looking dog rough the morning after the night before – resplendent with blood shot eyes, puffy grey face and expression of ‘I am in world of pain’ would serve as a warning and a reminder of what had been before. Plus I have could have taken a selfie now and compared the ‘before’ and ‘after’ to see how much better I look. People tell me I look great but when the change is so gradual you don’t necessarily notice it yourself and these pictures would help with that.
Now wolfie is stirring at the tiniest thought (crafty bugger) of the need to go back and drink again so that I can get this ‘before’ photo, for the benefit of the blog of course, but I’m not falling for it. I will take a picture now at almost 6 months and compare it to myself in a year’s time instead 🙂
Here it is 😉
Edited to add: A member of the Soberistas community has recently done this – taking a selfie on Day 1 and then again 3 weeks later and the results are gobsmackingly amazing and shocking at the same time. They look like a different person!
Edited to add: 21st March 2016 The Metro ran a story with accompanying photo’s of a Reddit user who shared before and after selfies – take a look here