A suggestion for stopping triggers and the thought spiral that comes out of them.
- Carry a small pocket notebook and pencil. Fancy or plain is fine but unruled is much better.
- Name each journal something having to do with the stage of sobriety or change you are going through at this time, maybe "Scared days" or "unsure about everything" or "I've got this," so later you can reference your experiences based on your stage.
- Frickin' carry it with you like I said. Like all the time.
- It's designed for Triggers but could work for cravings or thoughts as well.
- Catch yourself having an event (trigger, craving, thought, dream, emotion, etc.)
- Write down the date, time, location
- (optional) Write down the situation and the event (trigger, craving, etc.) The idea is that if you do this you can look back and see what you were experiencing for sure. If you don't do this then your notebook is virtually meaningless to anyone else who reads it, looks at it or even watches you do the drawings.
- Sketch, draw, doodle or scribble as much or as little of the page as you need to help you bring your focus away from the dangerous thought or event. Use more pages if you have to. It can be a detailed Celtic knot or a mess of loops.
- You can add anything else you want to afterwards like how it turned out, who you called, what you did to get through it or how long it lasted, but that's not as important.
The idea isn't to think or create, it's to draw, literally draw your attention away from the event and into something else. Those who draw, draw, those who sketch, sketch, and those who filled the margins of their school notebooks with this:
do that. The slight stimulation and attention to the drawing will be a short but very immediate reminder that the thoughts, events, or cravings are only that. They can't get you if you don't respond to them.
It doesn't have to be the best moleskin or a #6 soft graphite pencil. Just get something you can draw on and again, make sure you have it with you.