In our first few months of sobriety it can be easy to move quickly from thought to action. Tough day at work? Argument with a loved one? Tired, hungry, and stressed? The thought, “I need a drink (cigarette, cookie, edible…)” pops into one’s mind and, if alcohol/nicotine/marijuana/food is accessible, BOOM! Thought turns into action.
When this happens one needs immediate access to tools to create space, comfort, and a new behavioral pattern for dealing with triggers which doesn’t have to do with substances. As we get more practiced with having this thought and doing nothing about it, these thoughts become less charged, and there is space between thought and action. In this space we get to choose how to respond.
Struggling with addiction?
How to Start a Toolkit
- Cleanse your environment of the substance or substance reminders (beer bottles on the mantle, lighters on the counter, cinnamon rolls near the fruit basket)
- If you have to keep the drug of choice in your house, move it to an area “off limits” to you or a space out of eye sight.
- Take 10 deep breaths.
- Go on a walk in the park or around the block. Moving your body allows to brain to readjust and move from the “stuck” place.
- Practice S.T.I.C. – Stop, Take a Breath, Imagine the Future Consequences, and Choose.
- Rest for 5 minutes, lay down, close your eyes, and just breathe.
- Take 5 minutes to meditate, offer yourself loving kindness, and observe the wave or craving rise and fall.
- Carry essential oils. Lavender, peppermint, geranium, orange blossom, and frankincense all work wonders on alcohol cravings and relaxing the nervous system immediately.
- Just take a few drops of pure essential oil, rub it into your palms, inhale deeply and you’ve got a quick fix.
- Carry chamomile, peppermint, or kava teabags.
- Carry GABA Calm lozenges and pop one under your tongue.
- Learn R.A.I.N. – Recognize, Accept, Investigate, Non-Attachment.
- Take a bath.
- Listen to a song, or better yet an entire album, before taking action.