* Urges are excruciating or unbearable.
* They compel you to use.
* They will not go away until you drink or use.
* They will drive you crazy.
Is there any evidence to support any of this? No, there is not.
You can resist urges and they will get weaker over time.
When you realize you can stand a little discomfort, you will be back in control and part of your problem will be solved immediately.
Accept your urges as a normal part of changing instead of treating them as catastrophes.
You make yourself feel crazy by thinking thoughts such as, "I can't stand this; it's awful to feel this way; this is too much for me; I'm losing control of my emotions and I must be in control.
When an Urge occurs, accept it, but keep it at a distance. Experience it as you would a passing thought, one which "comes in one ear and out the other". Detach yourself from it, and observe and study it as an outside object for a moment. 'Hmm, that's interesting. It'll pass.' Then return your attention to what you were previously doing.
If the Urge is intense, remember (and perhaps picture) your benefits of stopping. (Remember that list in your wallet?) Recall the "moment of Clarity" when changing your addictive behavior seemed almost without question the right course of action.
Think your addictive behavior through to the end. Don't just remember the "good times", complete the thought to include the negative consequences that follow.
The letters stand for a reminder of some techniques for dealing with urges.
It is a fact that the mind cannot hold a single thought for any length of time. If you don't believe me, just try to meditate on your navel for 20 minutes. Think of NOTHING else. Don't think of that ticking clock you hear, don't think of your foot that itches, and don't think about how much time is left before you can get up and make dinner. Just your navel, period!
Hmmm, pretty hard to do. You can use this fact to crowd out urges by postponing them for a later time. Twenty minutes later, the urges will not seem as urgent as it did when it first appeared. Wait that nasty thought out and it will dissappear. Try it! What have you got to lose except ... your urge.
E=Escape the situation.
We cannot ALWAYS manipulate the situation, but often we can. If you have chosen to go to a party, and the urges are looking 'irresistable', do yourself a favor and get the heck out of there. Mark parties off your list for several months.
If certain friends seem to 'make you want to drink', put them on the back burner for a while. If driving by your favorite bar puts a yearning in your stomach, drive home a new way for a while. Several months down the road you can experiment with dealing with tempting situations, but why do it in the first sensitive weeks? There is plenty of time later. Give yourself a break!
Make your list up now of triggers that YOU feel tempt YOU and avoid them. Avoid them for good or just for a while. This is your list and your choices. Putting them on paper NOW rather than finding yourself in a sticky situation later makes much more sense to me.
Distraction or diversion is somthing that we talk about a lot around here. Having a list of things to do, in advance, is insurance for when the only thing you can think of to do is drink. Pull out that list and pick an activity... and just do it... whether it feels like something you want to do or not. I have found that at first, I would say 'Heck, I don't want to do that'... but after making myself do it, it became fun.
My favorite motto of late:
'Motivation follows action'.
I said earlier that it is hard for you to hold one thought in your mind for any length of time, just think how hard it is to hold TWO thoughts at once! This distraction technique utilizes this principle.
You can substitute an irrational belief with a rational belief.
You can substitute an addictive behavior with a healthy behavior.
You can substitute cranberry juice for beer.
You can substitute jogging around the block instead of eating chocolate cake. You can substitute feeling sorry for yourself with coming to an online meeting. The possibilities are endless.
DEADS. Another tool to stick in your Smart-toolbelt.
Arthur Horvath, President SMART Recovery
Alcohol: How To Give It Up And Be Glad You Did, by Philip Tate Ph.D;
SMART Recovery Member's Manual