Addiction and Recovery Resources
Its pretty damn hard when starting on a recovery journey. While everyone's experience is different there are some great resources out there when starting out which can make things much easier.
Relapse prevention plans are essentially a plan for change, which takes into account some important aspects of early recovery. It includes having a defined goal, understanding your motivation to change your behaviour, building social supports, planning alternative positive experiences, strategies for high risk times, and strategies for dealing with cravings and urges.
One of the best free Relapse prevention plans was created by the World Health Organisation and is Called "Self-help strategies for cutting down or stopping substance use"
It Can be downloaded here
In the very early stages its important to understand how to manage cravings. the most common tool taught to people is the 4D's. A very Good Resource by Counselling Online on the 4D's is available here .
Having a craving is not a bad thing although they feel horrible. A craving on its own only lasts about 20 minutes. If it is re-triggered it can feel like it lasts hours. Learning how to accept and tolerate cravings is a very important. Start with the small cravings and work your way up in intensity. once you start to have confidence, the cravings intensity will likely reduce.
Having a good relapse prevention plan can help you stay on track with your goals, even when sometimes you don't feel very motivated, feeling ambivalent or experiencing temptations or cravings. If you have a plan for some of these common experiences, you are more likely to be successful. In essence you have already solved the problem before you have gotten to it. It is much easier to adapt a plan then to make one in the heat of the moment.
Learning what you need in recovery
Everyone has very specific and individual needs, its important to cue into what yours are for your stage of recovery. Its important to know becoming sober or controlling your drinking is like developing a skill set; it takes time and practice & sometimes you might have a lapse- this is normal. if you are addicted to a substance its like being a pro athlete at a sport, it takes time to build a skill set which can overcome it. Take the pressure off yourself and figure out what you can learn from that experience.
Before Quitting Alcohol Cold Turkey
If you are drinking more than 6 standard drinks per day, I would recommend you have a discussion with a medical professional like a GP, an Addiction Physician or specialist drug and alcohol service prior to commencing a cold turkey. There are risks with alcohol withdrawal which can be mitigated safely most of the time. the last thing you want is to have a seizure or adverse event when going through withdrawal.
Social support is one of the most important aspects of recovery. Feeling alone and lonely can be one of the biggest triggers for some people. Gaining Social Connection through self help groups can be really helpful. In the ACT there are three main social support groups:
AA alcoholics anonymous Link to Meetings
NA Narcotics Anonymous Link to Meetings
Smart Recovery Link to Meetings
The types of support at each of these meetings is quite different. AA and NA subscribe to the 12 steps and 12 traditions. It focuses on a stepped approach of dealing with addiction.
Whereas Smart Recovery focuses on problem solving current issues you are facing. there are merits and downsides to both approaches. Take what you need from each of these. For a lot of people social support leads to; feeling less alone, becoming hopeful, sharing experiences and getting some good feedback or strategies about aspects of recovery.