Thinking precedes every action except for actions which require a conditioned response. A conditioned response is the way we eventually drive a car. We don’t think about every tiny part of driving except when we are learning to drive or when we are particularly aware of our actions due to hazardous or unusual road conditions. If we are in a new car that we’re not used to, we may reach for the gearshift and realize it is not on a steering wheel, but on the floor. It takes time to change habits.
Using frequently and heavily results in developing a habitual unthinking response to all life’s situations by using again. The total environment around the user eventually becomes so cue laden that the user is faced with cues to use at every turn. This can be overwhelming to some people. Take time out at a safe place, to help you stop habitual using behavior. When you are in a safe place away from drugs and alcohol and from people who routinely use, you can learn to become aware of your thinking, feeling, and responses to situations. A timeout allows you to pause, to be away from cues that maintain or reinforce your old thinking habits. This time out gives you the opportunity to build new thinking patterns and responses.