So often, a return to drinking or drug use happens in a “screw-it” or “just-this- once” moment. Maybe it’s after a horrendous day or when everything seems to be going wrong at once. On the other hand, impulsive use can occur when celebrating something really great. The thinking commonly goes, “I’ll just have one or two drinks (or a few snorts), and that will be the end of it. But will it be just one or two? What about the next day? Have you been successful with short-term use in the past?
That need for a quick fix, also known as immediate gratification, often drives use for someone with addiction, and the tendency can linger – sometimes for a long time. Part of overcoming the problem is recognizing and appreciating the value of enduring satisfactions versus momentary pleasures.
One of the most helpful slogans people often pick up at AA meetings is “think the drink through” – or “think it all the way through to the other side”. In other words, in that critical decision-making moment, force yourself to pause and really reflect upon where that one drink or single drug use will likely take you.
To help them think it through, some people think about their last bender with alcohol or their last crash with drugs. But it helps, too, to contrast the negative images with the positive things going on in your life without alcohol or drugs.
What comes to mind when you think it through? What are your enduring satisfactions? What are the positive things going on in your life now that you’re not using alcohol and drugs?