Safeguarding your sobriety against relapse or slip-ups is a necessary part of the recovery process that involves careful forethought and preparation. Without a tactical plan of defense in place, the first year of sobriety can be bumpy and unpredictable. Temptations, urges, cravings and triggers can leave you feeling debilitated and hopeless, and quickly make you revert back to your past addiction mindset and behaviors. This loss of confidence can rapidly morph into something dangerous, which may take your recovery off the rails if a well-thought-out plan of protection is not put in place immediately.
In the pages of Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality To Conquer Addiction, everyone is instructed through the process of self-discovery that is required when creating your own personalized recovery plan. When compiling the pieces of your Sobriety Blueprint, you will explore your past mistakes, which involves serious and determined self-reflection. You will contemplate both your sobriety and recovery in ways you may not have done before. The primary purpose of these self-reflection exercises is to discover the root cause of your addiction and WHY you continue to relapse. By purposefully analyzing your failures and slip-ups, you will uncover the specific triggers, red flags and warning signs that have ALWAYS caused problems for you. Small, but significant recovery strategies like self-reflecting on your past, present and future really help you to begin the process of building a rock-solid recovery foundation. This foundation/infrastructure will be supported with many different pieces (techniques, strategies and tools), and will be completely different for everyone. No two “My Personal Sobriety Blueprint” plans will be the same. When a recovery plan is personalized with the specific individual in mind, remaining sober will feel more natural to them than relapsing and returning to addiction.
After completing all the exercises in the book, as well as addressing any lingering mental health issues that may have prevented you from staying sober in the past, your sobriety will have a deep-rooted foundation in place for you to start building upon. Although, you now have some powerful ammunition available to lead and guide you through the precarious first year of sobriety, it is still NOT ENOUGH. This is a life or death situation, and if you are not 1000% prepared for anything and everything that may come your way, then your addiction already has the upper hand. To counter these daily attacks in early recovery, you will need to design a battle plan for relapse defense and prevention.
It was necessary to offer an archive of free recovery tools to aid anyone in the fortification of their newfound sobriety. The Sobriety Fortifier Tool Box is an additional recovery support system that was built using key concepts discussed in the book, notably the self-diagnosis and “The Sobriety Blueprint Kit” (building your recovery foundation) AND relapse defense and prevention (protecting your recovery foundation/infrastructure). Both these concepts involve tactical planning; the first concept is essentially your sword and shield in this battle for your life against addiction, while the other can be considered your armor or the fortification that is protecting your new recovery foundation. The Sobriety Fortifier ToolBox also includes two indispensable weapons in your journey of life-long sobriety: your personal Sobriety Blueprint, which assists you in establishing a rock-solid recovery foundation, and the Relapse Defense Plan, which acts as a safeguard to protect your sobriety when times get tough in the beginning (because they always do). Follow the “Instructions for Using The Sobriety Fortifier ToolBox” below for step-by-step directions on implementing some imperative, extra support for your recovery. Keep in mind that this Toolbox is most effective when used to build-on and deepen the infrastructure you began creating in the book.
You will be guided through TWO phases. The first phase: “Recovery Infrastructure Formation” is for those who have not yet completed the exercises in the book or those who would like to revisit “Part I” of the book. In this first section you will deeply reflect on your particular situation, and pinpoint how and why your addiction began. The valuable insight uncovered about yourself is used to complete the self-diagnosing worksheets. Then, after thoroughly studying and exploring the introspective findings of your past, present and future, you will move on to the next section: working through “The Sobriety Blueprint Kit”. This Kit walks you through each stage of putting together your own personalized recovery plan. Begin with “Instructions For Creating A Personalized Sobriety Blueprint” info graphic, which explains in detail how to complete this section of the ToolBox.
Phase II of the “The Sobriety Fortifier ToolBox” is entitled “Foundation Fortification”. In this section of the ToolBox, we will discuss in detail two important aspects for bolstering strength, confidence and success during the first year of sobriety: Relapse Defense Planning and Finding an Accountability Partner. Tap into this arsenal of recovery tools to better reinforce the foundation you are creating, and provide yourself some integral support on your new journey. Use Phase II of this ToolBox to fortify and defend your new sober life against all threats, and finally remove relapse from your story.
PHASE I: RECOVERY INFRASTRUCTURE FORMATION
Self-Observing Your Past, Present and Future
The following tools are used to self-diagnose your current situation to gauge your level of motivation for making sobriety your new path in life. Intense, purposeful self-reflection is the best way to fully understand your predicament or to determine why you continue to relapse. If you have read through each chapter of Fully Alive and completed the exercises, you would have already finished each of the self-diagnosing worksheets in this Toolbox. Keep in mind that reading through Part I of the book will help you to be more detailed with your responses. These tools are used to bolster the infrastructure you have begun building, and to make certain you safeguard yourself and your sobriety during the precarious first year of sobriety.
Note: “The Sobriety Fortifier Toolkit” is most effective when used after completing the work sheets, exercises and tactical planning discussed in Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality To Conquer Addiction. If you have not yet completed the prior worksheets and exercises, the first thing you are going to want to do is download and print out each of the self-diagnosing worksheets (also included are WRITEABLE PDF formats of the worksheets for those who do not have access to a printer).
Use The Desire for Change Worksheet to determine your DESIRE and motivation level, and exactly what and how things are going to be different this time around (if you have a relapse issue). Your mission is to identify the real reason you are embarking on this journey. The Desire to Change Worksheet will give you a glimpse of the big picture. Additionally, you will seek to pinpoint any red flags, warning signs and dangers that are present in your life, and the healthy goals in recovery you would like to accomplish. One of your primary objectives at this point is to get a gauge for your level of genuine DESIRE and motivation for a new way of life, because healthy, lasting recovery is a full-time commitment.
The next step is to print and download The Power of Self-Reflection Worksheet from Chapter 3. Spend some time and thoughtfully contemplate your responses to each section. You will begin cultivating and practicing these self-reflection techniques, and then use them to maintain your determination and confidence for life-long sobriety. Self-reflection is vital to longevity in recovery. Without a strict, daily routine of reflecting upon everything that happened to you (positive and negative), you run the unnecessary risk of repeating the same mistakes that got you into this mess. With this worksheet, you will be dissecting your past failures, your present situation, and all future life and recovery goals. Some of the primary conclusions you are trying to reach with this impassioned self-reflection are discovering the root cause of your addiction or relapse problem (the why, when and how), AND pinpointing the relapse triggers or warning signs that have afflicted you in the past.
The Sobriety Blueprint Kit
Included are the following:
-Blank templates of "My Personal Sobriety Blueprint" (writeable PDF/printable PDF)
-“Instructions For Creating A Personalized Sobriety Blueprint” infographic
-“Example Sobriety Blueprint” PDF
1. After completing the self-diagnosing worksheets, you should now be aware of the following:
-discovering the why, when, and how your addiction began.
-identifying your true level of DESIRE and motivation for the commitment of a sober life.
-determining (exactly) what is going to be different this time(if you have a recurring relapse problem).
-pinpointing all your relapse triggers, red flags, and warning signs that have caused past failures or slip-ups.
Now it’s time to create a tactical plan of attack that will be implemented daily until your recovery foundation is secure. This recovery tool is called the “Sobriety Blueprint”and it’s a key technique described in Chapter 13 of Fully Alive: Using Your Individuality To Conquer Addiction. The “Sobriety Blueprint” is both your sword and shield in the fight to live a healthy, sober life. If you have not read through “Chapter 13: The Sobriety Blueprint” yet, do not worry. Included below are step-by-step directions for filling out the “My Personal Sobriety Blueprint” template. Simply follow through the instructions and deeply self-reflect to complete each section. The more exhaustive and thorough you are, the better the final result will be. You want to be 100% honest with yourself and really study the actions and behaviors of your past. Knowing EVERYTHING about your enemy is the best way to defeat them. One of the core strategies when creating a personalized recovery plan is learning from your relapses and growing stronger!
2. Download, print and read “Instructions For Creating A Personalized Sobriety Blueprint” worksheet below for step-by-step directions for creating your own. Simply go through each of the 7 Steps on the worksheet. Please take this opportunity to seriously contemplate each individual step and try to be as detailed as you can. 100% truthfulness with yourself will reap positive outcomes. If you are able to crack the code of YOU and your past mistakes, you will have the ability to discover exactly what you need to do (and more importantly, what NOT to do) to have a successful recovery and defeat your addiction before it destroys you.
PHASE II: RECOVERY FOUNDATION
Finding an Accountability Partner
The next section of the “The Sobriety Fortifier ToolBox” involves another imperative piece of recovery reinforcement: finding a suitable accountability partner. There are important things to keep in mind when searching for this person. First, this relationship will be more productive and fruitful if the prospective accountability partner has been living a healthy, sober life for at least five years, and has personal experience with addiction and recovery. When a person is living recovery themselves, they are better able to give you real-world, applicable advice, and be able to see through you if you fallback into your old way of thinking and behaving. Lean on this person as much as possible during early sobriety. You can have as many accountability partners as you need—the more the better! If you can get into the habit of calling and texting this person EVERY TIME you leave the house or feel weak during the first few years of recovery, you will undoubtedly be able to fend off any triggers, temptations or cravings with far better success. An accountability partner acts as a safety net for your newfound sobriety and gives your fresh recovery foundation/infrastructure some critical, deep-rooted support.
Step One: The first action-step is to complete the “Accountability Partner Diagnosis Worksheet”. This will give you a clear idea of the characteristics and qualities you should be looking for while searching for an accountability partner. The majority of the questions on this self-diagnosing worksheet are Yes or No questions. This provides you a launch pad to further explore each segment in greater detail before finally deciding on someone. Always remember: The person you select can make or break your sobriety. If they relapse, they can quickly drag you down with them if you are not strong enough.
Step Two: For the next step you will need these three separate worksheets and infographics:
1. “Finding an Accountability Partner Checklist”
2. “Accountability Partner Diagnosis Worksheet”
3. “Quick Tips For When You Find An Accountability Partner”
You will now use these three powerful tools together to determine the specific criteria (for your particular situation) for finding yourself the perfect accountability partner.
-Use both “Finding an Accountability Partner Checklist” and “Accountability Partner Diagnosis Worksheet” together to make sure that the person you select meets all of the requirements on this checklist. This will ensure that the potential accountability partner you have in mind will be safe for you, and not jeopardize your recovery in any way. Picking the wrong person can endanger your sobriety before your foundation is secure. As long as you choose someone who aligns with your diagnosis and the checklist from these worksheets, then the relationship can be healthy and productive for BOTH of you. Essentially, these two tools help you zero-in on the perfect accountability partner for your unique set of circumstances.
-Use “Quick Tips For When You Find an Accountability Partner” infographic AFTER you have decided on the specific person. Following the tactical search for an accountability partner, you should now have someone who meets your strict criteria, understands your situation intimately, and can provide assistance 24/7. This next infographic will be used to set boundaries and goals for the relationship. Use the following tips and suggestions to make sure everyone is on the same page and agrees on EVERY aspect of this vital relationship. Without a dependable accountability partner, your recovery will struggle to gain a solid footing, and all the time and effort you have put into defeating your addiction with be for nothing. Choose wisely, call/text them as much as you need for the first year of sobriety, and protect what you are building!
Relapse Defense Planning
Relapse Defense and prevention is VITAL to living a healthy, sober life. Without it, your first year of sobriety will be stressful and unnecessarily challenging. If you are not adequately prepared for the worst case scenario (relapse), then a simple slip-up could quickly and easily bring you back to full-fledged active addiction. This is the part of the process where you will reinforce your newfound recovery foundation.
The main focus of Relapse Defense Planning is to meticulously analyze your past relapses to determine the exact cause(s) of your failures. By exhaustively going through each individual relapse and making notes on the specifics of each one, you can begin addressing the main concern: why do I continue to relapse? After this rigorous examination of your past, you will now have in-hand the PRECISE triggers, thoughts, and behaviors to be on the lookout for, as well as the reason(s) for your relapse problem. Relapse can never be blamed on anyone else except yourself. You may have been triggered by someone or something, but it was ultimately you who made the final decision to consume the substance. Learn from your past to protect your future.
Step One: The first move is to go through the “Relapse Diagnosis Worksheet” to get a firm grasp on your past sobriety and relapse failures and what to need to do (specifically) to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. After you learn the kind of enemy you are up against, you can start to see the big picture, and then begin creating a battle plan for protecting your sobriety. Think hard on each one of these questions and really try to pinpoint the particular triggers, thoughts, behaviors and red-flags that have caused relapse or slip-ups in the past. For most people, triggers, behaviors, etc. will remain the same throughout recovery, so one of your objectives with Relapse Defense is to identify, and attempt to always be aware of your potential pitfalls during early sobriety.
Step Two: Use the invaluable knowledge you gain from the “Relapse Diagnosis Worksheet” to then fill in the “Relapse Defense Plan”. This one-page template is both your sword and shield in the safeguarding of your recovery. You will now know all the “red-flags,” warning signs, etc., to look out for during the precarious first few years of sobriety. This newly uncovered information is critical for someone with a frequent or pestering relapse problem. Now you have powerful weaponry to brandish in this fight for your freedom. Knowing what the enemy is going to do can give you a significant advantage when mapping out your defense strategy. Try to keep this in mind: if you can picture your addiction as a real-life person that wants to destroy your life, mind, body and spirit, then it becomes much easier to formulate a plan to conquer and vanquish it from your life. Use the power of past failures to finally break the chains and gain the freedom you deserve!