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Part of the addiction recovery process is developing techniques that work to help you overcome temptations to revert to old habits. Needs are different for every individual, which is why it is important for everyone undergoing addiction recovery to explore a wide range of temptation-busting techniques and to find what works for them. One technique that many recovering from addiction find useful for resisting temptations is called “playing the record forward.”

How it works

“Playing the record forward” involves stopping at any moment when you feel that you are about to give into temptation, and then playing out what the potential consequences will be if you decide to use just that one time. It helps to put the big picture into perspective at a time when you are focused solely on the present moment.

Look to your past

One of the best ways to determine what the consequences of relapse might be for you is to look to your past addiction. Look to where substance abuse led you in the past. Did you encounter financial troubles? Decreased job performance? Impaired relationships? Be sure to remind yourself of how addiction affected you physically and mentally and to remember the particular struggles you encountered during addiction. Then, as you feel tempted to use again, even “just this once,” imagine these negative consequences coming back to you. The  consequences you would face could even get worse than they were originally.

Look far ahead

The key to playing the record forward is to consider the big picture and thus consider the long-term effects of giving into temptations. Don’t look simply at how you would feel tomorrow and throughout the next week ahead of you; instead, look weeks, and even months, into the future and consider what could escalate from this occasion’s single use.

Remember the risks of overdose in relapse

Don’t forget that the risks of overdose increase significantly during recovery from addiction. This is an added consequence that you need to consider in particular when weighing out the consequence of one-time use during recovery. On some occasions when recovering addicts revert back to using for the first time following treatment and a period of recovery, they will use the same dosages that they were using at the point that they decided to undergo treatment. This is highly dangerous because the body no longer sustains those levels of tolerance that were present before. The consequence could even be death.