- Choose a container, either a disposable plastic Ziploc container, Tupperware container or even a paper bag.
- You may choose to decorate the outside of your container with affirmations or motivating pictures that will help you remain in recovery.
- On small slips of paper write as many activities as you can think of. Try to get at least 100. You may use the handouts provided for ideas (e.g. call a friend, give myself a manicure, leave the house for a drive without money or credit cards).
- Fold up the pieces of paper and place them in your container or “coping bank.”
- Whenever you have an urge or craving to use reach in and grab 3 slips of paper. You must do two for 60 min.
- Most people find that after completing the second activity that their urge has passed.
- If after completing the second activity the urge is still strong, use your Crisis Survival kit
- If after using both the coping bank and crisis survival kit the urge remains, either do another round of coping bank/ crisis survival kit.
- After you are finished, complete the questions on the urge surfing curve and keep track of your answers to be able to identify emerging patterns.
Recovery Toolbox/Crisis Survival Kit
- Choose a container that is approximately the size of a shoebox. You may choose to decorate the outside of your box with motivating poems, pictures, etc.
- Find at least one item that will soothe each of your five senses to be placed in your survival kit. Use the space below to list your ideas/items. Examples are in the parentheses.
- Smell- (aromatherapy candle, perfume, sachet)
- Sight- (motivating picture)
- Touch- (make your own stress ball, touchstones, fidget toy)
- Taste- (Breath strips, something strong e.g. Altoids)
- Hearing- (CD of favorite music, meditation, guided imagery)
- Add 10 positive affirmations written on index cards. See for example:
- Add 1 Wonky Thought Card (On one side of the index card write a belief that you have e.g. “I am worthless therefore I deserve nothing.” On the opposite side write three objective challenges: e.g. “Because I do not like myself I am not an accurate judge of my character and cannot determine what I truly deserve.” “Other people compliment me frequently and tell me I’m valued, therefore, I must be valuable.” Etc.
- When an urge or craving strikes, go to a quiet spot and use everything in your crisis survival kit. Note: the kit may also be used to interrupt any kind of self sabotaging thinking.
- If after using everything in your kit, the urge to use is still strong and you have already used your coping bank, try using them again.
- Most people find that the majority of time after using the crisis survival kit thoroughly, they can avoid acting on an urge.
- Once you are finished answer the questions on the Urge Surfing Curve and keep track of your answers. This will allow you to identify patterns as they emerge. You will also be able to identify triggers and learn to plan for them and avoid the curve altogether.
©1996 by Monika H. Ostroff