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Addiction Counselling Vancouver

Addiction Counselling Vancouver

The following are the 4D techniques discussed for relapse prevention:

  1. Delay – Since cravings rise and fall like waves, you'll generally find the cravings dissipate on their own if you can delay a relapse decision for 20 minutes.

  2. Distract – Craving time passes more quickly when engaged in a distracting activity for a few minutes.

  3. Deep breathing (De-Stress) – Deep breathing exercises help you maintain calm and purpose when cravings hit, keeping you from making rash decisions.

  4. Decatastrophize - In a craving, it's easy to get caught up in panicky 'end of the world' type thinking, like "I can't take it any longer." Or, "I'm never going to succeed, so I might as well get high now." Don't let inaccurate catastrophic thoughts guide your actions. When necessary, challenge your thoughts and reframe them into more accurate notions, like, "This is really uncomfortable, but at least my withdrawal symptoms will go away within a few days."

Also, drink a glass of water – Drinking a glass of water relaxes you and sets your purpose. Imagine your cravings like a runaway train gathering momentum to a disaster. Simple activities like taking a moment to drink a glass of water are like brakes that slow that train!

Make a Relapse Prevention Card to Take with You


Fold a paper into four squares:

  1. On the first square, write out The Four Ds

  2. On the second square, write out 5 or 10 personally relevant distraction ideas

  3. On the third square, write out 3 or 4 of your most significant reasons for wanting to stay clean and sober.

  4. On the fourth square, write out some negative expectations - accurate predictions for what will happen if you slip and use or drink.

So the next time you feel a craving, remember The Four Ds and avoid a permanent mistake caused by a temporary urge.

Addiction Counselling Vancouver

20 other Distraction Ideas for Cravings

  1. Take a shower, even if you don’t need one. Scrub hard and turn the water as hot (or cold) as you can stand it. Let it soak into you for a few minutes, and by the time you towel dry 20 minutes later, you’ll probably feel a lot less tempted to fold.

  2. Wash and wax the car

  3. Call a friend and talk about their problems (not yours)

  4. Clean the fridge, the bathroom or the garage – cleaning anything provides just the right amount of physical exertion and mental distraction – and as a bonus you feel better after getting it done.

  5. Walk the dog (or just take a walk around the block)

  6. Go jogging

  7. Do a quick home work-out

  8. Meditate or do yoga

  9. Play a musical instrument

  10. Do a progressive muscle relaxation exercise or write in a journal

  11. Catch up on work for a few minutes

  12. Prepare an interesting snack, and then enjoy it

  13. Do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle

  14. If you’re tempted to drink or use at home, then get out of the house and go for a drive. This can be risky. Don’t get in the car if you’ll steer by autopilot to the nearest bar or drug dealer

  15. Play a challenging video game

  16. Do bicycle maintenance

  17. Cut the grass

  18. Walk out and get a coffee

  19. Fix that thing that needs fixing – replace burnt-out light bulbs or dead batteries, etc.

  20. Water all the plants or groom your pet.

Addiction Counselling Vancouver

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Reaching out for addiction counselling can be the crucial first step towards reclaiming control of your life and discovering a path toward lasting recovery and well-being.

Source from the internet, therapist aid. Photo credit from


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