One of the most important elements of recovery is developing the ability to take care of oneself. When an addict or alcoholic leaves a rehabilitation centre, they are no longer surrounded by support 24/7. They should, at that point, be equipped to handle certain difficult situations - which often means finding the humility to ask for help.
Asking for help, or taking action, can be overwhelming for alcoholics or addicts in early recovery. They get anxious, confused and, as a result, may fall into an emotional relapse. At Hope Trust, clients are we provided with Alcoholics Anonymous’ slogans that are short and clear, therefore easy to remember. They simplify the process of taking action and working towards getting happier and healthier.
When a recovering alcoholic or drug addict reaches a roadblock, he or she needs to take a deep breath and reflect. There is a simple acronym recovering addicts can use when they feel as though they are stuck - CARDS.
C - Call your sponsor
A - Ask your Higher Power
R - Read the Big Book
D - Do the Steps
S - Stay active in your groups (Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous)
When addicts use CARDS, they are reaching out for help - whether it’s from their literature, their sponsor, Higher Power or other members of the Fellowship. This is essential for addicts because addiction is characterized by the need to control. They think that they are capable of handling the disease of alcoholism or drug addiction by themselves, which is what lead them down the path of addiction in the first place. When addicts use CARDS and hand over control to someone else, they get help in addition to displaying humility.
Let Go, Let God is a slogan that runs in a similar vein. Addicts are made to acknowledge that they are powerless, which is where the concept of a Higher Power comes in. A Higher Power may or may not be God, it is simply an entity that is greater than the addict - someone or something that the addict can hand over control to. Its definition varies from person to person, and it is a deeply personal concept. When an addict lets go, and lets God (or a Higher Power) take over, they find it easier to forgive; which, again, is key to recovery.
When addicts use CARDS and Let Go, Let God, they are sharing their problems. They allow their bottled-up emotions to overflow, leaving them lighter and happier. At Hope Trust, recovering drug addicts and alcoholics are reminded that “we are only as sick as our secrets”. The moment something is troubling an addict in recovery, they should immediately inform somebody in order to avoid harboring negative emotions. Negative emotions may lead to an emotional relapse, which in turn causes a mental, and then physical, relapse.
When an addict feels they are on the path to a relapse, they must seek the help of the aforementioned slogans. This is often overwhelming, which is where another slogan, Easy Does It, applies. Through this slogan, the addict is reminded to take a breath and calm down. The recovering drug addict or alcoholic should then break down the problem they are facing to the basics, or KISS - Keep it Simple, Stupid. Although addiction is a complex disease, keeping recovery simple makes the process easier and more controlled.
In addition to following the 12 Step Program created by Alcoholics Anonymous, Hope Trust uses evidence-based strategies for recovery management. The slogans aid in the process of treatment in recovery as Hope Trust works on providing clients with a more positive outlook in life. Using the slogans, addicts are able to stabilize themselves even after leaving the treatment facility, which is something Hope Trust places great emphasis on. We provide a nurturing environment that embodies the most hopeful slogan - this too shall pass.