The 4 Ds to Help You Prevent Relapse

During active addiction, an individual tends to slip into denial. The 3 Deadly Ds in addiction are:

1. Delay

2. Detour

3. Deny

An alcoholic or addict avoids treatment by postponing the decision, or takes some other route or completely denies that he needs to change.

However, once he or she is clean and sober, there is always the danger of relapse lurking on the horizon. Staying sober is nothing but avoiding relapse.

A relapse (using the substance again) is always preceded by a return to old thinking patterns. An addict should incorporate a relapse prevention technique to maintain is clean and sober status.

A well-known relapse prevention technique is the 4 Ds. The Ds stand for:

Delay – Since cravings come and go, if you can delay your using decision for 20 minutes you’ll discover that the cravings have subsided on their own.

Distract – Cravings pass more quickly when you are involved in a distracting activity for a few minutes.

Deep Breathing – De-stress exercise such as deep breathing will help you remain calm when cravings hit, keeping you from making rash decisions.

De-Catastrophize – One of the triggers of craving is a panicky ‘end of the world’ type of thinking – like “I can’t take it any longer.” Or, “I’m never going to make it so I might as well get high now.” Don’t let catastrophic thoughts guide your actions. Challenge your catastrophic thoughts and when – try and reframe them into more positive perceptions, like, “This is really painful, but I know my withdrawal symptoms will go away within a few days.”

So the next time craving hits you, remember The Four Ds and avoid a permanent mistake caused by a temporary urge.

Craving is triggered by some thought, incident, smell or sight. If you have sobered up in a treatment centre, your counsellor should have helped you identify your unique triggers.

Hope Trust rehab helps all clients identify and recognise their triggers and how to respond to these. A Relapse Prevention Plan is drawn up so that the addict is aware of his or her particular triggers and learns to deal with them and avoid a relapse.