I’m a slow learner.
With my recovery, I sometimes think “abstaining from alcohol” is all the strategy I need. I’m learning that’s not enough.
Most days I’m rock solid. Only 3 times in 77 days has desire for alcohol felt strong enough to overcome my hatred of that poison. But I know that one slip can send me back to addiction hell. After 11 weeks of sobriety, that’s not an option.
After my last “near relapse” I talked with my sponsor about having a plan for when the cravings hit. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
When to Invoke the Contract
- HALT – When I’m hungry, angry, lonely, tired
- Fantasies – When I’m imagining a time or place where I can drink again
- Self-pity – When the negative self talk begins
- Cravings – When I imagine a drink can offer help, support, or happiness
Contract: Before I pick up a drink I will…
- Ask my HIGHER POWER for help
- Eat a full meal and drink a soda.
- Call my sponsor or my someone on my AA phone list
- Think through the drink – not just the first 5 minutes of relief, the whole nasty end-game
- Do something active for 30 minutes – walk, jog, or push ups
- Write a mini gratitude list, then specify how drinking will affect those.
- Find a 12 step meeting or do one online
- Find 3 friends on Twitter who needs encouragement to fight their addiction or mental health struggle – then help them
- Tell alcohol to f*ck off and go to hell. Do this out loud 7 times with increasing force.
- Wait … at least 3 hrs from the time I finish this list
*** If anything is literally impossible from the list above, substitute by doing a different item a second time.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear your feedback on this plan for getting through alcohol cravings. Leave a comment below to share your own strategy.