One of the things you are likely going to have to deal with in early recovery is addiction cravings. These urges to drink or use drugs again can seem to appear out of nowhere (although they will always be trigged by something), and they can happen at the most inconvenient time. A traditional approach to dealing with drug or alcohol cravings is distraction, but this can reinforce the idea that urges are something you need to be afraid of. A more effective approach might be to use the mindfulness tool of urge surfing.
What is Urge Surfing?
“…an urge is like an ocean wave that grows bigger and bigger as it approaches the shore. As it grows, there’s the desire to just give in, but if you do, you’ll reinforce the power of the addiction. Instead, you can ride the “wave” by using the breath as a kind of surfboard.” – Alan Marlatt
Urge surfing is a technique devised by Alan Marlatt who was a professor of psychology at the University of Washington. It is a way of applying mindfulness as a way for dealing with cravings rather than turning to distraction. These urges rarely last more than 20 minutes, so if the person can just sit with this thought, it will eventually disappear.
Even if you highly motivated during your stay in rehab, you can still end up failing in your attempt at sobriety if you have insufficient aftercare. The transition from the protected environment of this type of facility to the real world can be bumpy unless you are prepared for it. Here are 5 mistakes to avoid with aftercare planning so your move home goes smoothly.
1. Planning Your Aftercare at the Last Minute
There is not much point in just learning to be sober in drug rehab because you will soon be back in the real world. This is why everything you do needs to be preparing you for when you go home. Aftercare planning needs to begin from day one because if you leave it too late, you won’t be ready for the transition.
If this is your first Christmas sober, you may be approaching the holiday season with a touch of trepidation. This is a time of year when getting drunk becomes far more acceptable, and even social drinkers will tend to go a bit overboard. How will deal with this increased pressure to drink? Will you spend the holiday feeling like you are missing out? How can you enjoy Christmas without alcohol to put you in the right mood?
Here are a few tips to help you stay sober over the Christmas period:
Even if you are not a big fan of the recovery meetings, it is worth making an effort to go at this time of year. It means you will be around lots of other people who are having a sober Christmas, and you will gain strength from their support and experience. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous also usually have parties at this time of year, so you can get to let your hair down in a safe environment.