Filling your life with structured commitments that you have chosen, helps keep you safe from lapse or relapse. Reducing stress through structured positive activities reduces the risk of relapse. If you have a brutal day at work, worrying and stressing over it all night will not be healthy. Going after work to a pre-booked meeting with your running club will break the negative train of thought and emotion leftover from your workday. It is much harder in the middle of negative thinking and negative events to make a sudden positive decision to go for a run all by your self.
Make inserting structure into your daily life a habit to reduce the risk of relapse. Using the “3 Month Weekly Planner” at the end of this chapter, start inserting dates and times for activities you need to do to achieve your Life Plan and Goals. You will need to plan ahead for at least three months at a time to insure you have sufficient structure in your life to keep your positive motivation and momentum rolling. Always use your calendar to structure your life. Plan your activities in advance and write them down. Get committed to your schedule and to planning ahead. Written commitments are harder to ignore.
To prevent relapse it is essential to organize your life structure and to include at least two positive activities each day in addition to work or school. Book one morning activity to gives you something to look forward to and ensure you have a good reason to get up early and start the day. Constantly sleeping in will result in relapse, losing your job or failing at school. Even if you don’t have work or school in your life right now, get up anyway and start your day with a positive activity!
Always book one positive activity every evening. Having nothing planned to do after work or school is unhealthy for you. This is true especially during early recovery. Idle time is a cue to using. Having pre-scheduled positive commitments every evening will keep you focused on where you want to go and it will keep you away from drugs or alcohol.
Don’t depend on will power. There will be times when your desire to succeed and motivation will be low. Some peaks and valleys are normal in life. It is at these times that structure is invaluable. When you don’t have the energy to decide to do the right thing, having that activity locked into place will ensure success.
Stop now and think of three ways to add structure to your daily life. Write them down now and start doing them today. Add to this list in the next day or two, but don’t close this book without at least three ideas.