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Coping with Lapses

If at first you don't succeed, DO NOT GIVE UP!

Always congratulate yourself on making it as far you did. Most of all, try again. Use your lapse to learn how to combat urges in the future. For instance, think about what triggered you to start drinking again -- was it a specific event or situation? Then think about how you can prevent the same thing from happening again.

Remember to use the Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) techniques. The Frame of Mind Chart [pdf] also can help when you are feeling down about difficulties or lapses you may be dealing with.

You may experience frustration, anger, guilt, and many other emotions while going through this process. Try to complete the Alcohol Consumption Worksheet [pdf]. If you have relapses, filling it out can help stop that downward spiral of self-defeating thought! Also, keep in mind that relapses do not mean you should give up.

However, your ultimate goal should be no drinking at all.

Perhaps it would help to identify a list of friends you could call to support you during those times you feel like you may relapse. Identify someone that you could call when you are just dying for a drink and you need someone to distract you or talk you out of it. Talk to them in advance so they know what you are trying to do. Ask them if they would mind if you call them in the middle of the night.

Every week, thousands of people meet and talk about their efforts to quit drinking

They are members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). If you are having difficult quitting on your own, you may want to think about attending an AA meeting. They are free, only asking for donations. It can help to be around people who are going through the same experience as you and can relate.