A HUGE thank you to Audrey Carlson for coming on the Platform Podcast to share her expertise as an addiction counselor and giving me some tips for how to build a strategy around dry January (or however your choose to approach it).
Here are a few of the strategies we discussed:
Set up your environment for success- Remove alcohol from your house or store it out of sight
Write down your "whys"- Visual reminders of why you are pursuing this can help keep you on track
Get social support- We NEED social support anytime we try to make life changes, but especially during these trying times
List out your strategies to replace the behavior- Add a hobby, go for walks, meditate, read, blog, listen to a podcast
Identify your internal & external triggers and write them down- Being mindful of your triggers will help you find strategies that address the root causes and help you avoid external cues
Avoid external triggers as much as possible- Take a different route home, change your routine to avoid triggers, avoid individuals or groups who are not supportive
Build structure into your routine- We are creatures of habit for better and worse, create a routine that supports your goals
Experiment with different strategies to find what works best for you- Test and iterate to find YOUR best strategies and have multiple tools in your tool belt
If you fall off, reflect on why and get started again- Avoid the all or nothing mindset; having one drink doesn't mean your whole month is shot. Assess why and get back on plan!
Seek professional help- www.lionrockrecovery.com is the company that Audrey works for and they provide 100 percent online professional help and they have links to no-cost support groups for anyone (current clients, alumni AND the general public), including specialized groups for first responders and nurses.
If you're wondering if you may have a substance use disorder, here are the updated DSM 5 Criteria for Diagnosing Substance Use Disorder:
In the past year-
Taking the substance in larger amounts or for longer than the you meant to
Wanting to cut down or stop using the substance but not managing to
Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from use of the substance
Cravings and urges to use the substance
Not managing to do what you should at work, home or school, because of substance use
Continuing to use, even when it causes problems in relationships
Giving up important social, occupational or recreational activities because of substance use
Using substances again and again, even when it puts the you in danger
Continuing to use, even when the you know you have a physical or psychological problem that could have been caused or made worse by the substance
Needing more of the substance to get the effect you want (tolerance)
Development of withdrawal symptoms, which can be relieved by taking more of the substance.
Severity of the disorder is determined by the number of symptoms present.
2-3 Symptoms = Mild substance use disorder
4-5 Symptoms = Moderate substance use disorder
6 or more = Severe substance use disorder
I hope 2021 is YOUR BEST YEAR EVER! If there is anything I can do to support you in your journey, please don't hesitate to contact me.