Relapse prevention strategies are designed to build healthy habits of thinking, speaking and behaving. Consider this statement regarding the power of words.
“Be careful of what you think about. Your thoughts become words, your words become actions, your actions become habits, your habits become your character… and your habits become your destiny.”
The following exercise is designed to help to become “mentally tougher” so that you can defeat negative thoughts when they first begin. It is part of host of strategies used by cognitive behavioral therapists to help individuals with addiction problems reduce their risk of relapsing. It is best that you practice this and other relapse prevention methods under the guidance of a licensed mental health professional skilled in these procedures.
Here is a partial list of typical negative thoughts associated with alcohol and drug use. For each negative statement, on a separate sheet of paper, write a corresponding healthier response.
Relapse prevention strategies need to be practiced early and often to begin to take hold.
To be MOST effective relapse prevention strategies need to be practiced with full awareness, concentration and passion.
Negative Self Statements.
- I need it.
- It will feel so good.
- I just need to relax a little.
- I am much stronger now. I can handle it.
- No one will know.
- What’s the harm just doing it once?
- My friends will think less of me if I don’t join in.
- It’s just part of the culture. Everyone does it.
- Someone’s offering it to me. It won’t cost me anything.
- I can’t help myself. I have no control.
- I’m just celebrating. It will be this one time.
- Everyone says relapse is part of recovery so it’s normal to give in.
- I really will stop after this one time.
List any additional statements that apply to you on a second paper.
On a third sheet of paper, write out your positive response to each of the negative statements.