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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:12 pm 
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I've mentioned how valuable I think addiction recovery workbooks are, but I thought I'd start a thread just to discuss them. I've recommended them to members of the forum before, but I'm wondering if anyone has gotten any and would like to tell us how they've worked out thus far. I know I've used them and they are great for identifying one's own, unique triggers.

I think identifying our triggers and having a specific plan in place to deal with them when they arise can make or break someone's recovery - i.e., can cause or prevent a relapse. I personally think that for people on suboxone, our cravings are under control for the most part and (for me at least), I think I have less triggers due to my sub maintenance. So then I'm also thinking that for people who have gone off sub that when their triggers arise it's probably even MORE important for them to have a specific plan in place. What I'm saying is I think these workbooks might be that much more beneficial to those people who are already OFF suboxone and want to be doubly prepared to avoid any and all relapses.

Below is a link to a bunch of workbooks available on Amazon.com, but I got two really good ones at a local, super bookstore. I'd look for the ones that focus specifically on triggers and relapse prevention. They are not all created equal.

Please know that I'm only mentioning this again because I feel I've found something here that can really help a lot of us and I only want to share it with all of you. Good luck and be happy today.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss? ... 1326387067

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:01 pm 
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My wife bought me a book called "How to Heal the Addicted Brain" for Christmas, it's a good book with a lot of links to online worksheets. Honestly, as I was reading through it and came to the first reference to doing an online worksheet, my first inclination was to throw the stupid book in the garbage, but I resisted that urge and did the worksheet.

I also ordered a SMART recovery book. I like it too.

NA is good and all, but it's too......????.......constraining for me right now. I've actually backed down my meeting attendance to twice a week and I'm looking into some of these other methods to help one recover.

Thanks for the links.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 1:00 am 
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SMART recovery has an awesome online=toolbox thing, whatever
that has worksheets you can print off for FREE

My therapist had me print out the TRIGGERS toolbox packet......
there was like 5 pages on how to identify triggers, and what to do about it....
they really have helped me, not that I look at the papers all the time, but writing it out kind of put it in my
'memory bank' so I can pull it up 'as needed'

Just wanted to add that in case somebody is broke like I was completely, at first.

Thanks for the links Hat, I'll be checking those out as well.

AND Romeo, Ive heard about that book before,,,,,,you GOTTA let me know what you think when your done. I almost ordered it on amazon, but was hesitant to spent $30 on a 'hunch' that I wanted it, or that it'd be worth it I guess.....
keep me posted bro

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:51 am 
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I've got a drawer or two full of recovery material I accumulated from various rehabs & support groups, heaps of paperwork etc. I still look over it from time to time.

They are really excellent at giving one insight into their own addiction, how it works, and practical ways to prevent relapse. However, at least for me, I've found insight into my addiction never stopped me from using. Sure it helps me give other people advice, and pretend I'm some kinda addiction guru. But when / if I ever get a strong desire to use... It's as if all the stuff I learnt just goes out the window completely. I can even twist all the information around in my head to rationalise my using.

I think I tried to get clean too long before I was ready to stop using. So I understood recovery on some intellectual level, but didn't have the capacity or willingness to put in the effort. What eventually pulled up my using wasn't the textbook stuff, but me getting smashed around a bit and realising I didn't want to die, and life was too short.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:43 am 
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Hey Amber,

I'll give ya a shout when I get done with the book. So far, I like it. It's similar to a lot of recovery stuff I already know, but there are some things it's brought up that are totally new to me and it's pretty cool.

Tear, I can really identify with what you just said. For 6 months or so, I was hitting an NA meeting everynight and at some point, it got to be a complete overload of my system. I somehow lost sight of the simple fact that #1---I can't use drugs. I got so busy identifying my character defects, turning my will over to God, reading my daily meditation, blah, blah, blah that I got sidetracked, forgetting the most important part.....don't use drugs!!!

Understanding my addiction and my triggers is only getting me so far. Having a deep desire to NOT want to use again is crucial to staying clean. I believe understanding ourselves and our addiction helps us, but the rubber meets the road when we decide we've had enough of drugs, IMO.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 3:46 pm 
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Yes, understanding triggers only gets you so far. For me the next step involved making a plan for what to do when I got triggered. And the next steps after that involved changing my life in such a way as to remove as many triggers as possible. Not easy, and I'm not finished, but worth it.

Interestingly, the work I've done around triggers has helped me in other areas of my life. It caused me to slow down and examine the cause-and-effect relationships between shit that happens in my life and my behavior. Ultimately what I found is that the thing that triggers the desire to use is an uncomfortable emotion, and also that uncomfortable emotions trigger all sorts of other, crappy, definsive, illogical behavior on my part - from overeating to procrastinating to spending money to picking a fight with my partner to yelling at my kid. I'm sure you get the picture.

Since it's not really possible to give up being an emotional human being, I've had to work on realizing that however uncomfortable, it's just a FEELING and I can get over it, usually by just breathing or taking a little walk. The trick is becoming aware of the feeling before the reaction happens. So really, that process has become the focus of my recovery at this point. And it's helped me in every area of my life. I'm more able to let shit go, more able to know what I need and calmly ask for it, more able to not let other people's crap effect me, I'm calmer with my daughter and more creative in dealing with her emotionality and my relationship with my partner has improved on multiple levels.

The thing to remember is that all of this is a process, a cultivation. It's not something that you do once and then you're done. You won't figure out your triggers and then be cured. And we change and what might be triggering to us changes. But as you practice, you become more skilled at the process and then you go to deeper levels and I truly believe that we can change on a fundamental level, becoming calmer, more compassionate and serene in a way that spreads out through our lives. To me, that feels like real freedom.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:37 am 
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Diary of a Quitter wrote:
Ultimately what I found is that the thing that triggers the desire to use is an uncomfortable emotion, and also that uncomfortable emotions trigger all sorts of other, crappy, definsive, illogical behavior on my part - from overeating to procrastinating to spending money to picking a fight with my partner to yelling at my kid. I'm sure you get the picture.


Yeah I'm with you there. Once upon a time, literally anything could trigger me to use. I would even seek out triggers as a prelude for relapse. Ie - it was a real warning sign that I was on a bad road when I'd start seeking out movies / books / websites / areas related to heroin use. Some dark part of me wanted to induce cravings. I had insight into this issue long before it got resolved.

These days, when I relapse into some kind of addictive behaviour (usually cigarettes, occasionally opioids)... it's when I have some kind of mood episode related to my bipolar. I'm 100% fine with uncomfortability as long as there's a reason for it - like work issues or relationship issues, a death in the family, mourning. It's the whacked out recurring depression that comes for no reason that really bombs me out, leaves me questioning the point in life / staying clean. I end up clutching at straws and doing extreme things to try and pull myself out of it, or stop it from getting worse. Those are the times I reach for drugs, when I'm all fogged over and have lost sight of reason. It IS getting better though.


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 Post subject: Triggers
PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:09 am 
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One time in treatment I went thru this long listed out relapse inventory and even though I did see some relapses to be triggered I found most were not. I would not have ever thought this way if I had not done this inventory and sitting there looking over this long winded diatribe I found most of my relapses were after a consistent almost ritualistic bout of behaviors that led up to each and every relapse. There was an occasional "oops I heard a pill bottle in somebody’s pocketbook so I used" relapses but most it was more like events and/or behaviors I was exhibiting that led up to my relapse. I guess one can say or see that events or behaviors could be called triggers but when I think of a trigger I think of a place or a thing that shook my little demon to wake up because something reminded me of using and so I used.
I am no one to preach to the choir about how to stay sober/clean though as I myself have had/has very limited accounting of sobriety. In one of Amber's post she said something that I find to be very true and the closest thing that ever worked for me besides staying on top of my actions and behaviors and that was working/volunteering "paying back" to or in the recovery world. I worked in a treatment facility for five years three years of which I remained totally clean and had no intentions of relapsing. I have recently written to a few different Harm Reduction Organizations asking about volunteer positions as to help insure my recovery for a while. So my relapse prevention plan at this moment is to keep an accounting of my feelings, behaviors and actions plus volunteer and I hope this will be like a second insurance policy besides my methadone.
I do think Triggers are important to realize and avoid though so please do not think I am minimizing the very essence of this thread. And reading recovery books, blogs, sites etc...Just another form of insurance. These are things we can do for ourselves outside of our medical/medication maintenance and/or therapy/counseling. And then there is another insurance that amber has recently invited into her recovery and that is exercise/running etc...I myself am not that healed yet. I come up with all kind of good excuses not to even try. Maybe if she keeps encouraging me with her morning run stories who knows. But the more you do for your recovery the more it will do for you.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:05 am 
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Wow, so many good points are being brought up.

Having an uncomfortable emotion and not knowing how to deal with it or wanting to deal with it is a definite trigger for me. Then that uncomfortable emotion triggers a cascade of behaviors that leads a person in the direction of a relapse. You're right DQ, learning to accept the fact that were emotional creatures and that these emotions are inevitable AND learning how to deal with them in a healthy way is critical.

T, I did the same thing you did by seeking out triggers. I didn't do it intentionally, it's just a behavior I learned to recognize as a prelude to a relapse. One of the behaviors I identified is my insistence on listening to music that I know will bring me down. Once I'm in "relapse mode" I'll usually drift to a darker style of Rock N Roll, but at least I'm aware of it now!! It's kinda strange as I look back at my slips and see these same few events.....triggers, illogical behaviors, then drug use.....you'd think I would have picked up on that pattern long ago?

T, I hope you're able to continue to making progress with your bi-polar issues. Throwing bi-polar on top of addiction has got to be so very difficult to deal with at times. Like I said, I hope you continue making progress.

Finallyachance said it better than I ever could, she said, "I found most of my relapses were after a consistent almost ritualistic bout of behaviors that led up to each and every relapse." It is almost like some sick ritual, isn't it? Once you're in it, it's hard as hell to break out of it. Catching it early, IMO, is the best way out.

I'm glad Hat started this thread, these are the kinds of things that I still need to be reminded of pretty consistently, for some damn reason, I tend to forget this shit too quickly.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 11:42 am 
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Romeo, I'm glad I started this thread, too. Because it's going exactly where I'd hoped it would go.....into a full discussion about all the different ways to discover our own unique pitfalls that can lead to relapse. Everything each one of you says is helpful to me and hopefully to each of you, too.

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-I'm only responsible for what I say, not for what you understand.


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