Category Archives: handout

First Step handout

A worksheet that I have used with folks.

 

First Step Worksheet: Acceptance

“We admitted we are powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.”

The first thing is to admit powerlessness, or, in other words, to say “I can’t control my use of drugs/alcohol, or the consequences of my use of drugs/ alcohol.”

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• How have drugs placed your life, or the lives of others, in jeopardy?

What family/personal problems have you had? What legal problems have you had? What work problems have you had?

• How have you lost self-respect due to your drug use?

• How have you tried to control your use of drugs?

• What types of physical abuse have happened to you, or others, as a result of your drug use?

• Are you happy with yourself about your alcohol/drug use?

It is important to honestly look at how the consequences of our drug use have affected us.  This is “connecting the dots”.  When I use, this is what happens.  Looking back over your using history:

• What health problems have you had?

• What sexual problems have you had?

• What financial problems have you had?

Remember that “loss of control” (powerlessness) and problems (un-manageability) are symptoms of the disease of drug/alcohol dependence.  In order to recover, people have admitted their limitations and accepted that the solution is to be open to support from others (NA/AA) and to stay away from the first use, one day at a time!

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Relapse Stages

One of the hand outs I use with groups. This is a shorten version of Relapse Stages and just a starting off point for further discussion.

First stage – I am un aware. I don’t see it, and have no idea I am in trouble. (people around us may notice subtle changes in attitude and behavior).

Second Stage We become restless, incurable and discontent. Our focus shifts from internal to external, we stop focusing on ourselves and start focusing on other people around us. We start blaming; acting the victim, fear and anger start to become evident.

Third stage Unresolved feelings occur and they are not dealt with in a healthy manner. We go into the emotional and physical withdrawal, than start to isolate. Negative attitudes start to predominate such as compulsive behavior, we start discounting recovery, we may engage in magical thinking.

Fourth stage – A crisis in our life provides the excuse for us to start using it again, or we create a crisis that rationalizes are returned to use. In other words, we have made the decision to use, and are ready to light the fuse.

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As we move through the stages of relapse, a few different things are occurring. Firstly, the need to regain our ‘right’ to re-engage in our addiction seems to make sense. We talk ourselves into the false belief that this time we can control it.

There’s a gradual and progressive destabilization of our lifestyle. Lastly, Stress and Stressors will accelerate this process.

Relaxation & stressless

Stress is one reason people report relapsing and using substances/intoxicants. I’ve been teaching a stress less/relaxation class for years and below is one the handouts that participants report is most helpful.:

Change the situation: Avoid – Alter. Change your reaction: Adapt – Accept

1. Avoid unnecessary stress

Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed.

Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them.feelings-16

Avoid people who stress you out –Limit the amount of time you spend with people that cause you stress.

Take control of your environment – If the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off.

Avoid hot-button topics –If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.

Pare down your to-do list –If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.”

2. Alter the situation

If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future.

Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way.
Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same.

Be more assertive. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them.

Manage your time better. Plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself.

3. Adapt to the stressor

If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.

Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective.

Look at the big picture. Will it matter in a month, or a year?

Adjust your standards. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.”

Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts.

4. Accept what you can’t change

Some sources of stress are unavoidable, in such cases; the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.

Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.

Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth.

Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist.

Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes.