Your recovery is going great and you're feeling fantastic when suddenly you're blindsided by a huge life problem - and since the only way you've dealt with life problems for a long time is with drugs or alcohol, eventually that's what you fall back to.
Fortunately, it doesn't have to go down like this...
Once you can accept that problems are coming and that life problems threaten your sobriety you should also accept that improving your drug-free problem solving skills makes a lot of sense - especially since doing so doesn't require all that much effort.
Well, addiction is a brain disease that’s not often reversed with simple determination – in fact, the experts at the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) say that learning new skills, such as improving problem solving abilities or communication skills are 1 of 13 essential components of any addiction treatment program.
See how easy it can be to improve your problem solving skills by reading the following 7 step guide to problem solving that is recommended by NIDA as an essential tool for anyone in early recovery.
In Early Recovery? Why Your Problem Solving Skills Might Need Work
And for some people, things are even worse:
Life Problems - The Facts
Before you get started with improving your problem solving skills, it's useful to consider a few basic truths about problems and problem solving.
In Recovery: 7 Steps to Better Problem Solving
Practice the following 7 steps when confronted with your next problem in life and find the best solution as you also reduce your risk of drug or alcohol relapse.
Recognize the Existence of a Problem
Accept that you have a problem.
Someone may tell you that you have a problem but you often have to rely on clues that point toward its existence, such as feeling worried or angry or depressed or feeling like you can’t handle some aspect of your life.
“I have been feeling really down for a while now…I wonder what’s causing my sadness?”
Define the Problem - Identify the Specific Elements
Very specific problems are a lot easier to solve than poorly defined ones.
Think about the specific challenges you face and decide on exactly what you seek to achieve from a possible solution.
Brainstorm for Possible Solutions
Make a list - take a few minutes to brainstorm and write down any and all solutions that occur to you.
Think about the Likely Consequences for All Possible Solutions
After you've brainstormed for all your options it's time to start narrowing in on the best course of action.
Beside each possible solution on your list write down:
Choose a Course of Action
Look back on your list to select the best course of action, which should be the solution that delivers a positive outcome at the least personal cost.
Execute Your Decision
Once you've decided on a course of action, execute your decision as quickly as possible.Look Back at What Happened and Learn from the Situation
Afterward, look back at what you did and think about what worked best and about what didn't work as well it could have.
For Complicated Challenges, Repeat the Process as Necessary
Complex problems may not disappear after a single round of active problem solving.
This is normal.
If after completing the 7 steps your problems persist, start again at the beginning, looking at how the problem has changed with time and from your problem solving efforts and continue to work towards a satisfactory solution by again using the same 7 step process.