Capitalizing on a relapse using an index card

So you just relapsed. You feel shitty- both because of that massive hangover you’ve got and because of the overwhelming guilt. This could be one of the worst feelings you’ve ever felt in your whole life. All that hard work squandered over some stupid booze. So now either you can lay there in the mud or you could capitalize on this relapse.

One of the difficulties of staying sober is your brain somehow miraculously forgets all of the shitty times you had with booze or this shitty feeling you are having right now. You need to stay reminded of this feeling cause trust me you will forget it while you’re standing in line at the liquor store.


A trick I used early on was to write down the feelings I felt that morning onto a 3” x 5” note card or index card. Write down items such as how you feel, the stupid stuff you did or said the night before, your reasons for staying sober or even the ridiculous amount of money you spent on that incredibly smart bender. Now take the card and wrap it around your drivers license then slip that bad boy back into your wallet. Next time you go to buy booze and they ask for ID you are going to have to look at that humongous brick of a guilt trip. Staring at that note card makes that alcohol not look so good any more.

This was incredibly helpful for me in the beginning. It is amazing just how much a little deterrent like that can keep you out of a sticky situation. Just knowing you will have to move it out of the way to get to your ID can be enough of a barrier to keep you from relapsing again. Even today I keep a note card that my significant other wrote me after a pretty bad relapse/ fight that simply says “David, I love you”. Just seeing that card takes me back to that morning and I never want to go back. That’s the power of this method- making this shitty feeling that is overwhelming you now to be the power that keeps you from relapsing in the future.

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