Most relapses begin inside of your mind and can be predicted and prevented. The first principle to follow is that relapses are normal but preventable. The second principle is that you create almost all of your relapses through poor planning or self-deception.
One of the greatest weighted variables is the support or lack of support from loved ones. If you have individuals in your life who still believe in you, even after a relapse, and who you express adequate value for their presence in your life follow the steps listed below.
- Storyboard. Since most relapses evolve in your own head, you need to learn how you mislead yourself into old habits. One solution to this destructive pattern is to write a storyboard that describes your next relapse. A storyboard is a series of drawings with captions that describe a sequence of actions. This technique is often used in the early stages of movie and TV production. Draw, as best as you can, a sequence of events that leads up to your relapse. You can use stick figures if necessary. From there, in each panel of the storyboard, write an appropriate caption that describes what is happening.
- Photocopy storyboard. Once you have designed your storyboard you can photocopy or retrace your illustration. Take a minute to think about how you could intervene with yourself in order to prevent your relapse. In what section of the board could you do something different, and perhaps using a technique mentioned in earlier articles or ones you have developed with your counselor.
- Take alternative action. Identify where alternate action could take place. Circle the panel on your storyboard where you could make a change, and adjust the caption accordingly.
This exercise should be repeated a couple of times, each with a different relapse storyboard. The creation of your storyboards will help you uncover the different ways in which you might try to deceive yourself into a future relapse. It will also help you to recognize external triggers more quickly, and to take preventative action.
If you are the cause of most of your own relapses, then the more you learn about how you persuade, manipulate, and deceive yourself into part-taking in addictive activities the more likely you will be able to prevent them in the future.
For more methods on relapse, management check out the earlier articles published on stress management through Slow Deep Breathing (SDB). The articles include ways to de-stress everyday life without the “aid” of your addictive activities. As a result, you will be asked to find an alternative behavior to replace your current negative habit. SDB can help calm your mind as you find more positive coping mechanisms. If you have already given yourself the opportunity to develop your SDB skills, then you already know how powerful your breath practice can be.
Storyboarding is just one of several techniques that we practice at BlueSky Behavioral Health. Now is the time to learn more about ways you can put your addiction to rest. You are the controller of your mind, don’t allow your mind to control you.