Objectives and Relapse Prevention
- Avoid slippery people, slippery places, and slippery things, unless you
want to slip. The wisdom in this slogan refers to the need to change many
aspects of one's lifestyle in the interest of recovery.
- Some of these may have to do with daily routines such as cooking meals,
ironing, cleaning the house, coming home from work, or watching the 6
o'clock news on television. Other drinking rituals may involve certain
people or even certain places. This process of connecting drinking with
people, places, things, and routines happens naturally as drinking becomes
- The addict is someone who is increasingly preoccupied with maintaining a
certain level of alcohol or drug in their body and whose drinking or using
in turn becomes connected to habits and rituals. In time, many of the
addict's old habits and interests give way to new ones which support the
- In order to stay sober or clean ,you need to change many patterns
associated with habitual use; otherwise, your willpower will be no match for
the power of ritual and habits combined with the obsession caused by
drinking or using.
- Can you identify any rituals associated with drinking?
Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired or
- Is there a certain sequence of events that you follow?
- Is there certain routines that are associated with your addiction?
- Can you identify a list of drinking or drug using partners?
- Can you appreciate the power of habit or how powerful these
rituals can be and how they can actually be stronger than willpower?
- Can you see how preoccupation with drinking will be no match
for personal will power in one of these slippery situations?
- First, you need to identify slippery situations
- Second, change, people, places, things, and routines
associated with your addiction if you hope to sustain be sober or clean.
- How can you develop:
- a new social network--a new group of sober or clean friends?
- things to do and places to go instead of drinking or doing drugs?
- Where did you spend most of your time with your addiction?
- Where will you spend your time in the future?
- Include places that are associated with a variety of activities with a
variety of sober and clean people.
- Example: Going to church and becoming involved in its functions.
- Exercise/gym (YMCA)
- Pursue hobbies or interests...bowling leagues, etc.
- Use the library for books, music, or videos.
- Generally relapse can happen for a lot of reasons the most
commonly it happens when one is:
LONELINESS ·ANGER ·GRIEF ·ANXIETY
- Do not allow yourself to get into these positions without taking care of
these problems fast. These are the emotions that most often lead to taking
that first drink or hit, which in turn sets off cravings and leads back to
- Be able to identify the following "feeling states" and do
something about them before you are induced to drink or drug them away:
Helpful Sayings and Slogans
- You are more apt to cover these feelings up with addiction when you are
either hungry or tired. Getting lots of rest and eat healthfully.
Easy Does It
First Things First
One Day at a Time
Let Go Let God
Turn It Over
Hungry and Tired
- Recovering addicts need to develop a lifestyle that allows them to get
GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY
- A state of exhaustion is an invitation drink or use.
- A body in poor physical condition will get tired more quickly than one
that is being taken care of
- How much sleep should you have on an average?
- Is this adequate? The average adult needs eight hours rest. Any more ore
less usually leaves the body tired and sluggish.
- What changes, if any, should you make with regard to rest?
- What is your state of health? Are you capable of some form of regular
exercise in the interest of gaining energy?
- Avoid excessive hunger.
- Regular meals are encouraged.
- You are encouraged to use light healthy snacks to avoid getting too
- Do you have cravings for something sweet?
- How can you satisfy this need, healthfully?
- Anxiety has many sources.
- One form of anxiety concerns making decisions or knowing what to do and
feeling right about it.
- Much of the spirituality is directed at relieving the sense of confusion
and anxiety associated with being alone, of having no one or no faith to
- The "serenity prayer" addresses feelings of
isolation and confusion:
TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE, COURAGE TO CHANGE THE
THINGS I CAN, AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
- Study it out in your mind.
- Make a decision as to what choice you want to take.
- Ask your Higher Power if your decision is the right one for you, at this
- If you feel a sweet calm or get a sense that what you have asked is good
or right, you have gotten a "yes" answer from your Higher Power.
Follow through on your decision.
- If you feel confused or tend to forget what you are asking, you have just
received a "No" answer. If this is the case Ask your Higher Power
to help you select the correct choice. Rethink your choices and repeat step
1. Anger that causes anxiety drives the addict to drink or use in order to cover
these feelings up.
- The pressures of deadlines and over-commitment create stresses that invite
- Developing a system of realistic priorities.
- Make a realistic or do-able list of things to do today.
- Schedule things twice as far in advance as you usually would.
- Sit quietly for 15 minutes a day.
- Talk to someone, preferably a recovering person, about your feelings of
- Anger and resentment are difficult emotions for addicts to deal with.
- Resentment, comes from unexpressed or denied anger
- Resentments must be confronted and let go in favor of more effective ways
of dealing with anger in the present.
- How can you express anger better, to avoid building up stores of
resentments in the future?
- Identify sources of resentment:
- What do you do in these situations versus what you used to do?
- There is little difference between unexpressed anger you have
at the moment and stuffing it and resentment in which you hold on to anger
over things that have happened in the past. Examples: Someone breaking your
favorite vase and you saying its all right (stuffing it). Someone
continually taking advantage of you (holding on to past resentment).
- Both types fester and canker your feeling and thoughts.
- Both poison your system and ruin future health both mentally
- What can you do to keep either of these types of anger from
happening to you in the future?
- What can you do to get rid of such anger from the past?
- What would stop the patient from expressing anger in the
- Should you deal with your anger immediately on the spot or
take time to figure out why you are angry.
- Has this anger incident dredged up old festering anger that
has not been dealt with?
- Does the amount and intensity of your anger really match the
incident at hand?
- When you are angry are there times that you cannot figure out
how to deal with it?
- Are there times that doing anything would only make things
- How do you deal with this type of anger? Can you discuss it with your
- There will be times when the only best way to deal with your
anger is to Turn It Over to your Higher Power.
- Make a commitment to express your anger honestly and deal with
it as soon as possible in the best possible manner.
Denial This is denying there was or loss or
minimizing the importance of what was lost. This includes denying its
- Addicts-to-be often experience many losses that have gone ungrieved.
- The grieving process goes through several stages. These stages do not
always follow a certain order or included all the stages. Some stages are
repeated several times.
- Understanding the stages can help you identify where you are and help you
get through them in a healthy manner.
Anger The breakdown of denial and the natural
reaction to loss.
Bargaining Attempting to replace the lost thing
with something else without acknowledging its loss.
Sadness The true expression of undenied loss.
Sadness that is dwelt upon for long lengths of time could be depression and may
need professional help to overcome.
Acceptance This comes slowly, only as denial
breaks down and the individual feels able to come to terms with the reality of
loss or limitation and is ready to move on.
- Identify one loss in your life which you have worked through in this way.
- Identify a loss you have not worked through.
- Addicts need to come to terms with the "loss" of not using
alcohol or drugs to cope with problems or feelings.
- Accept the limitation that you cannot control your use of alcohol or drugs
and have to give it up.
- Your recovery task is to go through the grief process with respect to
alcohol and drugs.
The Moral Inventory
- Write a "good-bye letter" to your companion, alcohol or
- Write in your journal about losses that you have not adequately
acknowledged and grieved, including losses in each of these areas:
- Relationships (people, pets, things or goals
- Self-esteem or self worth
- Dependency on alcohol or drugs needs to be conceptualized as a
relationship that must be broken and grieved in order to recover.
Goals of the Moral Inventory
- Addiction is a physical and a spiritual illness.
- It is an illness of the spirit in the sense that addicts are driven by
their disease to behave in ways that compromise their personal ethics and
- Addicts commit crimes and misdeeds in the process of satisfying their
obsession with their addiction.
- As a result addicts have impaired judgment while under the influence. This
undermines their self-esteem, alienates others, and makes reaching out to
one's Higher Power and others more difficult.
- Recognize the fact that you have feelings of guilt and shame related to
your behavior. Acknowledge and sharing that these feelings have value.
- In general, such a moral inventory is a process instead of an event. It is
best done by someone who is actively working to stay sober and clean. A true
inventory takes time to investigate with your sponsor, clergy, counselor or
your Higher Power.
- Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous (AA/NA) program sets least 6
months of personal work for this step.
- Some feel that a personal moral inventory should be taken often with one's
Higher Power, for the rest of their life.
1. Honestly admit and talk about the wrongs and errors you have
committed as a result of your addiction.
· Jealousy · Greed · Selfishness · Impulsiveness · Grandiosity ·
Arrogance · Self-pity · Meanness · Resentment
- Honesty - To be of real value, a moral inventory must be honest. Admit
your contributions to strained marriages or friendships, problems with
children, and so on. Be frank without promoting needless guilt. The goal of
a successful moral inventory is not guilt but commitment to recovery.
- Addiction have predictable effects on personality, one of which is that
character defects that were evident before the illness will get worse. Still
others may emerge as a consequence of becoming obsessed with alcohol. Most
addicts become more demanding and selfish over time.
- Explore these character defects that leads you to make ethical and moral
- Character defects include qualities such as:
2. Balance recognition of wrongs done with equal recognition of positive
aspects about yourself.
- Journaling should be used to explore your character defects these.
- List down any important items you come to understand about yourself during
the whole process of the moral inventory.
· Generosity · Heroism · Charity · Sharing
Balance -- A moral inventory should also be balanced, meaning that you
should not lose sight of your positive qualities, right choices, and
- Even the most severe addicts are capable of doing things right now and
- Note asset or qualities of the following:
· Altruism · Kindness · Humility · Love · Compassion
- You have had the courage to face your moral mistakes may be able to at
least acknowledge them.
- Because of this inventory you have sometimes felt the need to do something
to make up for those mistakes. This gives you an advantage over those who
refuse to even acknowledge their defects.
- The question now becomes: When are amends appropriate, and what
constitutes appropriate amends?
- Sponsors and AA/NA friends, clergy, counselor, and your Higher Power are
key sources of support during this time of making amends.
- It would be appropriate during this time to contact your counselor between
sessions if you are experiencing intense emotional reaction to the moral
inventory or amends work.
- An emergency counseling session could be appropriate.
The Twelve Step Program
To write me:
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Annette Nay Homepage
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