Group – “Getting It: Building Motivation from Relapse”

Learning from Relapse: Who The Group Is For

You knew you had a drug and/or alcohol problem and decided to abstain. With or without treatment, with or without a Twelve Step Program, you quit long enough to get beyond acute withdrawal, possibly even months or years beyond. And then one day you changed your mind – you decided to drink or use again. Even more discouraging, you may have run this cycle before.

You may not know it, but you have something in common with virtually everyone else who has ever done this. At that moment of changing your mind, you each experienced one of two kinds of thought, if not both: 1. “Wishful thinking,” such as “One won’t hurt,” “This time will be different,” “I can handle it now,” or, 2. “Expletive thinking,” usually “F— it!” or a similar outburst.

The practical challenge is to protect yourself from these two kinds of thinking and the states of mind they express. Hopefully, you can prevent them from occurring at all. If not, you seek ways to prevent them from taking control.

How? One approach is to join a therapy group requiring that every member has had such moments of relapse. The group is facilitated by a professional who has made understanding and treatment of both “wishful thinking” and “expletive thinking” the work of a lifetime. We explore together what the thoughts actually mean. What do they tell us about what must change and how to maintain that change? We use group process, as well as structured exercises and even (shudder!) homework. We do this to find out what is necessary for us, not just to get clean/sober, but to stay that way. And the more clear we are about what is necessary and why, the more motivated we are to do it!