Today I thought I would try something different so I will probably post multiple entries throughout the day as I want to look at Urge Logs. As a person in recovery for over 7 years, I have fewer urges relating to booze or drugs these days, I get them now and again, but not very often, so completing the urge log for substances wouldn’t work for me at this time. At least, it would be a very dull urge log:
- 9am- nothing
- 12:35pm – nothing
- 16:00 – nothing
So, completing the log for drugs wouldn’t work for me, but I often eat to excess, particularly sweet food, and as I am helping facilitate at a recovery café today where there are lots of sweet treats available, today is a great opportunity. The urge log can be used for anything which we are trying to change but is pervasive and continually enters into our thoughts: playing video games, looking at phones, using social media, masturbation, sex, violence, eating, picking wax out of ears, biting nails, smoking, cleaning, exercising and on and on, and on and on! If it is an urge to do something repeatedly which we feel we must cat on, and it is affecting us in a way which is unhelpful to our lives, an urge log can help in a number of ways.
- By noting the date/ time when we feel the urge, we may be able to identify triggers at specific times of day/week/month. This will help us identify points where interventions will have the most impact.
- By noting the intensity of the urge, how strong the feelings are, we can highlight what triggers are the most likely to cause the most challenges to overcome.
- By noting the length of the urge we can see how long the urge lasts in reality, in order to highlight what is necessary to overcome.
- By noting the specific trigger, we can help design ways to manage/avoid/replace/circumvent.
- By noting who else is there when the urge takes place, we can design ways to manage/avoid/replace/circumvent.
- By noting how I managed the urge I give myself the option to do more of what works, or design something new for the urges where my strategies didn’t help.
- By noting alternatives, I give myself the opportunity to have choices so that the next time the urge comes, I can deal with it in a variety of ways.
- Finally, by completing the urge log, we are doing something instead of doing the other thing, it’s a behavioural change!!!
Lots of people (in my experience) look at the urge log, or diary’s and think “this is too much hassle, it’s a pain, I don’t have time, blah blah blah”. This is a commitment, it is time consuming, but seriously, we are looking at ways to change, and this is a change. The more work something is, the greater the possible rewards, particularly when we are learning something completely new about ourselves.
So here goes, the first entry. There are cakes and biscuits are everywhere, EVERYWHERE!! But I had yoghurt with me so I ate yoghurt and fruit and oats with nuts and pumpkin seeds and it was bloody marvellous!