“The Oscar’s Are Over So Here Is Part 3 Of Relapse Prevention”

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Welcome Newbies,

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*THIS IS WHAT RECOVERY SHOULD BE!*
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So welcome recovery boys and girls! LET’S wrap up Part 3 of  “Gambling Addiction Relapse Prevention” and the Guide. In my last blog post we covered the important area’s of how to have a relapse plan, and how to deal with “Positive & Negative” feelings and emotions, deal with HIGH RISK situations, and to not TEMPT your control or yourself by going to Risky places. And we learned the difference between Lapse and Relapse. So will close out by learning to avoid Slips, Awareness of our Behaviors & the Chain, coping with Triggers, and why you need a Daily Relapse Plan.
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I remember an old standing joke we had in my Gamblers Anonymous meeting group in So. Oregon. When the Oregon Lottery had introduced Video Poker Slot Machines, many little lottery retail shops were popping up all over our community. And as long as they sold food, beverages, and beer and wine, they can have 6 of these poker machines inside the store. They SOLD the Cheapest Smokes in town, so we’d joke that “WE ONLY WENT INTO The lottery store for cheap packs of smokes, but because it’s a “Risky Place” for us in recovery, we’d end up Gambling and Spend WAY MORE then That Cheap Pack of Smokes! So then it became the most costly pack of smokes because you’d drop a couple hundred dollars gambling”!!! So much for the cheap pack of smokes in town! So my point is, Please,……DON’T TEMPT or TRUST YOURSELF In Early Recovery!

The Slip Plan:
You must have a plan in case you slip. It is foolish to think that you will never have a problem again. You must plan what you are going to do if you have problems. A study found of recovering addicts, that thirty-three percent of patients lapsed within two weeks of leaving treatment. Sixty percent lapsed within three months. At the end of eight months, sixty-three percent had used.
The worst thing you can do when you slip is to think that you completely failed in recovery. This is inaccurate thinking. You are not a total failure. You haven’t lost everything. You have made a mistake, and you need to learn from it. You let some part of your program go, and you are paying for it. You need to examine exactly what happened and get back into recovery.
A slip is an emergency. It is a matter of life and death. You must take immediate action to prevent the slip from becoming a full relapse. You must call someone in the program, preferably your sponsor, and tell that person what happened. You need to carefully examine why you slipped. You cannot gamble and use the tools of recovery at the same time. Something went wrong. You didn’t use your new skills. You must make a plan of action to recover from your slip. You cannot do this by yourself. You are in denial. You don’t know the whole truth. If you did, you wouldn’t have relapsed.
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Call your sponsor or a professional counselor and have him or her develop a new treatment plan for you. You may need to attend more meetings. You may need to see a counselor. You may need a new sponsor. You may need outpatient treatment. You may need inpatient treatment. You have to get honest with yourself. You need to develop a plan and follow it. You need someone else to agree to keep an eye on you for a while. Do not try to do this alone. What we cannot do alone, we can do together.
*THIS IS VERY TRUE* WE CAN RECOVER With the help and support of recovery friends!*

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The Behavior Chain:
All behavior occurs in a certain sequence. First there is the TRIGGER. This is the external event that starts the behavioral sequence. After the trigger, there comes THINKING. Much of this thinking comes very fast, and you will not consciously pick it up unless you stop and focus on it. The thoughts trigger FEELINGS, which give you energy and direction for action. Next comes the BEHAVIOR, or the action initiated by the trigger. Lastly, there is always CONSEQUENCES for any action.
Diagrammed, the behavior chain looks like this:
TRIGGER—THINKING— FEELINGS—BEHAVIOR—CONSEQUENCE…
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Lets go through a behavior sequence and see how it works. On the way home from work, George, a recovering compulsive gambler, passes the convenience store (This is the trigger). He thinks “I’ve had a hard day. Maybe I’ll do a couple of scratch off lottery tickets to unwind” (The trigger initiates thinking). George craves gambling (The thinking initiates feeling). George turns into the convenience store and begins gambling (The feelings initiates behavior). George relapses (The behavior has a consequence).
Let’s work through another example. It’s is eleven o’clock at night and Betty is not asleep (Trigger). She thinks “I’ll never get to sleep tonight unless I gamble” (Thinking). She feels an increase in her anxiety about not sleeping (Feeling). She gets up and gambles (Behavior). She losses all her money and is so depressed she can’t work the next morning (Consequence).
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How To Cope With Triggers:
At every point along the behavior chain you work on preventing relapse. First you need to look at your triggers carefully. What environmental events lead you to gambling? We have gone over some of these when we examined high-risk situations. Determined what people, places, or things make you vulnerable to relapse. Stay away from these triggers as much as possible. If a trigger occurs, use your new coping skills.
Don’t let the trigger initiate old behavior. Stop and think. Don’t let your thinking get out of control. Challenge your thinking and get accurate about what’s real. Let’s look at some inaccurate thoughts.
1. It’s not going to hurt.
2. No one’s going to Know.
3. I need to relax.
4. I’ve had a hard day.
5. I’m just going to spend a couple of bucks.
6. My friends want me to gamble.
7. It’s the only way I can sleep.
8. I never had a problem with sports gambling.
9. I can do anything I want.
10. I’m lonely.
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All of these inaccurate THOUGHTS can be used to fuel the craving that leads to relapse. You must stop and challenge your thinking until you are thinking accurately. You must replace inaccurate thoughts with accurate ones. You are a compulsive gambler. If you gamble you could die. That is the truth. Think through the first bet. Get honest with yourself.
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HOW TO COPE WITH CRAVINGS:
If you think inaccurately you will begin craving. This is the powerful feeling that drives compulsive gambling. Craving is like an ocean wave. It will build and then, wash over you. Craving doesn’t last long if you move away from gambling. If you move closer to a gambling situation, The craving will increase until you gamble. Immediately on feeling a desire to gamble think this thought:
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“THAT IS NO LONGER AN OPTION FOR ME.”
Now, what are your options? If you are in trouble. You are craving. What are you going to do to prevent relapse? You must move away from the gambling situation. Perhaps you need to call your sponsor; go to a meeting; turn it over; call your counselor; or visit a friend. You must do something else other than thinking about gambling. Don’t sit there and ponder about gambling. You will lose that debate. This illness is called the great debater. If you leave it unchecked, it will seduce you into gambling.
The illness must lie to work. You must uncover the lie as quickly as possible and get it back to the truth. You must take the appropriate action necessary to maintain your recovery.
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Develop A Daily relapse Prevention Program
If you work a daily program of recovery your chances of success greatly increase. You need to evaluate your recovery daily and keep a log. Especially in early recovery!
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This IS your Daily Inventory….
1. Assess all relapse warning signs.
A. What symptoms did I see in myself today?
B. What am I going to do about them?
2. Assess love of self.
A. What did I do to love myself today?
B. What am I going to do tomorrow?
3. Assess love of others.
A. What did I do to love others today?
B. What am I going to do tomorrow?
4. Assess love of God.
A. What did I do to love God today?
B. What am I going to do tomorrow?
5. Assess sleep pattern.
A. How am I sleeping?
6. Assess exercise.
A. Am I getting enough exercise?
7. Assess nutrition.
A. Am I eating right.
8. Review total recovery program.
A. How am I doing in recovery?
B. What is the next step in my recovery program?
9. Read the Combo Book, or other recovery literature.
A. Pray and meditate for a few minutes.
B. Relax completely.
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Fill out this inventory every day and keep a journal about how you are doing. You will be amazed as, from time to time you read back over your journal. You will be amazed at how much you have grown.
Create a card that indicates on one side the names of people you will call in case of emergency. On the other side list the ten reasons you want to stay free from gambling. Never forget these reasons. read this list often and carry it with you at all times in your Combo Book. If you struggle in recovery take it out and read it to yourself. And remember: “TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME”!
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Even though I have this “Relapse Prevention Guide Workbook” listed on my Recovery Resources Page, I have wanted to break it down in 3 sections to share and go over it in a little more detail and hope I have accomplished that! I also hope all who can benefit from it will “Copy & Paste” it to somewhere for yourself to use anytime in your recovery. I feel it is a MUST HAVE in early recovery. I said it many times, but it has really helped me stay SAFE in my own recovery!
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We never look far ahead in our recovery, as life can throw some major events in our path that no matter HOW much clean time you have, you could be triggered into a relapse. Maybe not today, but maybe when a parent pass’s or other relative, or a break-up of a marriage, loss of a child. We never know what tomorrow will bring each day, so better to be ready and have a plan in place when it may. Early recovery is also a time to really have a sound relapse plan. I haven’t said it much, but I really want my Recovery blog to be a place where others can come and share WHAT works for them, interact in the comment section, or just ask a question. A”ddicted Compulsive Gambling is a REAL Disease”! I’d like to share some informative websites that I have come to rely on for resources about gambling addiction, and who I’ve “Pledged” my blog to RAISE AWARENESS of “Problem Gambling Awareness Month” all MARCH long…..
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1.) http://www.gamblinghelper.com  Become a member for help & support.
2.) http://www.azccg.org  The Arizona Council On Compulsive Gambling, info & support.
3.) http://www.ncpgambling.org  The National Council Of Problem Gambling.
4.) http://www.grippedbygambling.com My Good Friend & Author, Marilyn Lancelot’s helpful website.
5.) http://femalegamblers.info  Another FEMALE only Gambling Support Site by Marilyn.
6.  http://www.actcounseling.com  Fantastic Counseling Services for Gambling Addiction.
7.) http://addictionblog.org  Help and Info on all types of Addictions
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I have many more listed on my Recovery Resources Page and try hard to keep updating and adding new places to get Help, Treatment, and Support from addicted compulsive gambling. They are all well worth the visit! Until my next blog post, have a Fabulous Day All!!
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Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
PS…Don’t forget to leave your “Thoughts & Comments” because “It’s Time To Talk About It”!!

 

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