Looking forward to the weekend?

For many people the weekend is a chance to unwind and shake off the stress of the week. But for those struggling with addiction, weekends are often the hardest time with the euphoric recall of the ‘good times’ with the substance/relationship they’re trying to recover from. Here are 5 tips for those trying to get through this weekend.

1.If you’re in recovery, get to a meeting. And if you’re not in recovery, get to a meeting. The anonymous fellowships bring hope, connection and recovery to many, many people so it’s worth putting any scepticism to one side and giving it a go. www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk.

2.Connect – the worst thing you can do is keep your feelings to yourself. Pick up the phone to someone you trust instead of picking up the substance/person you’re recovering from. Or if no one springs to mind, there are many brilliant advice lines like the Samaritans on 116 123.

3.Get outside – get out in nature, be around something bigger than yourself. Exercise can help. If you do go for a walk, be careful that your route is not triggering e.g. it doesn’t take you past places that will bring back sad memories, old haunts and pubs.

4.Play the tape forward – call to mind the events in the past that led you to try to give up the substance/person and make a note of them. Remembering the pain of the past will help you to avoid falling into the same cycle of self-defeating behaviour in the future. If you start to fantasise about how ‘good’ things used to be, read and re-read the list, then imagine going back to the addictive situation/substance but ‘play the tape forward’ to the end of the night or the next day. How do you feel? Pretty awful is the likely answer.

5.Hungry Angry Lonely Tired – it’s the simple things that leave us vulnerable to relapse. If you’re feeling tempted, ask yourself these questions: 1) have I eaten enough today? 2) have I taken enough rest? 3) am I annoyed by someone/something and do I need to talk to someone about it? and 4) am I feeling isolated and do I need to connect and open up to someone? Making sure these basic needs are met can help to ward off a relapse.

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