I often tell addicts they need a game plan to effectively stay away from heroin the same way the Dallas Cowboys (America’s Team) need a game plan to beat the Filth-adelphia Egg-les. Football players will sit in a room, pouring over film of their upcoming opponent. They’ll practice these strategies on the field during the week leading up to the game. If the opponent has a strong running game, they might practice stacking eight men in the box. If the opponent has some speedy wide outs, practice may entail recruiting the safeties for help on the deep ball. Without this prior planning, the defense will get caught flat-footed and the opponent will put up six.
Addicts need to think similarly. If they don’t have a game plan in their head when they find themselves in a situation they’d typically use drugs, their risk of relapse skyrockets. If a recovering addict runs in to an old drug buddy that is offering to get them high, they better have a plan of exactly what they’ll say to get out of the situation. If the addict hasn’t game planned, and all they have up their sleeve is a distant memory of that D.A.R.E. pledge we all took in fifth grade, they’re probably going to get high.
A lot of plans fall through when the statement they plan on saying sounds lame or square, i.e. “No! Drugs are BAD! YOU are BAAAAD!” There’s no way somebody is going to say that shit. They’ll freeze in the moment, and use.
Other plans fall through when the rebuttal starts with, “I can’t.” Such as, “I can’t, my P.O. will drug test me.” If you’ve ever been to one of those seedy time share presentations, you know that saying “I can’t” only gives the spray tanned, Tommy Bahama shirt wearing jack ass permission to continue the sales pitch. They’ll find reasons why, in fact, you can spend money every month on vacation homes you’ll never use. “I can’t” gets met with, “Of course you can, just flush your system and you’ll pee clean! I’ve done it a million times.”
Addicts need to game plan what they’ll actually say in the heat of the moment. This statement actually works: “Generous! No thanks, though. I’m sober.” Honestly, most people actually respect a person’s attempt to get clean if they aren’t snooty and condescending to the person doing the offering. Having that prepackaged game plan has helped many clients maintain their sobriety streak.
Here’s the deal. I need to follow my own advice! I don’t need a Heroin Game Plan, as I could pass a drug test right now. I have, however, been slipping in other areas. All I need is a game plan.