Insight for the Journey: Developing Refusal Skills

Insight for the Journey: Developing Refusal Skills

Abstaining from alcohol and drugs is challenging for many reasons. Temptation can come from within a person and include such things as a longing to relax or escape. Cues, urges, and temptations can also come from external sources, and involve external circumstances and environments. Certain situations bring an almost automatic urgency or desire to use again. Developing refusal skills will help you endure temptations, recognize cues and triggers, and respond more assertively.

Triggering Activities
Do you have any hobbies, activities, or events that triggered your substance use in the past? Which of the following situations might trigger a desire to use again?

  • Using a recreational vehicle
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Playing softball or baseball
  • Playing golf
  • At a holiday celebration
  • On your birthday
  • Going to a sporting event
  • At a concert
  • On vacation
  • Before or after having sex
  • On a sales call

Know Your Vulnerabilities
Identifying specific cues and triggers will help you protect your recovery. Sometimes people choose hobbies and activities that support substance abuse. They play softball so that they can drink. They go camping so they can drink. They go to a concert, expecting to use. Certain hobbies and activities may need to be avoided to reduce temptation. Developing skills to avoid these critical situations, or finding alternatives, becomes vital to your recovery.

Keep in mind that avoiding every place that serves alcohol or avoiding everywhere drugs are available would be impossible. However, you can find alternate places to go on lunch break, develop different hobbies and activities, and spend time with sober people instead of your using friends. Refusing the temptations you encounter today creates a stronger recovery tomorrow.

Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the ride!