Sunday, February 14, 2016

Seeking Safety Coping Skills List

1. Ask for help – Reach out to someone safe. 
2. Inspire yourself – Carry something positive (e.g., poem) or negative (photo of a friend who overdosed). 
3. Leave a bad scene – When things go wrong, get out.
4. Persist – Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up.
5. Honesty – Secrets and lying are at the core of PTSD and substance abuse; honesty heals them. 
6. Cry – Let yourself cry; it will not last forever. 
7. Choose self-respect – Choose whatever will make you like yourself tomorrow. 
8. Take good care of your body – Eat right, exercise, sleep, safe sex. 
9. List your options – In any situation, you have choices. 
10. Creating meaning – Remind yourself what you are living for: your children? Love? Truth? Justice? God? 
11. Do the best you can with what you have – Make the most of available opportunities. 
12. Set a boundary – Say “no” to protect yourself. 
13. Compassion – Listen to yourself with respect and care. 
14. When in doubt, do what is hardest – The most difficult path is invariably the right one. 
15. Talk yourself through it – Self-talk helps in difficult times. 
16. Imagine – Create a mental picture that helps you feel different (e.g., remember a safe place). 
17. Notice the choice point – In slow motion, notice the exact moment when you chose a substance. 
18. Pace yourself – If overwhelmed, go slower; if stagnant, go faster. 
19. Stay safe – Do whatever you need to put your safety above all. 
20. Seek understanding, not blame – Listen to your behavior; blaming prevents growth. 
21. If one way does not work, try another – As if in a maze, turn a corner and try a new path.
22. Link PTSD and substance abuse – Recognize substances as an attempt to self-medicate. 
23. Alone is better than a bad relationship – If only people who are receiving help are safe for now, that is okay. 
24. Create a new story – You are the author of your life; be the hero who overcomes adversity. 
25. Avoid avoidable suffering – Prevent bad situations in advance. 
26. Ask others – Ask others if your belief is accurate. 
27. Get organized – You will feel more in control with lists, “to do’s” and a clean house. 
28. Watch for danger signs – Face a problem before it becomes huge; notice red flags. 
29. Healing above all – Focus on what matters. 
30. Try something, anything – A good plan today is better than a perfect one tomorrow.
31. Discovery – Find out whether your assumption is true rather than staying “in your head”. 
32. Attend treatment – AA, self-help, therapy, medications, and groups – anything that keeps you going. 
33. Create a buffer – Put something between you and danger (e.g., time, distance).
34. Say what you really think – You will feel closer to others (but only do this with safe people). 
35. Listen to your needs – No more neglect – really hear what you need. 
36. Move toward your opposite – For example, if you are too dependent, try being more independent. 
37. Replay the scene – Review a negative event; what can you do differently next time? 
38. Notice the cost – What is the price of substance abuse in your life? 
39. Structure your day – A productive schedule keeps you on track and connected to the world. 
40. Set an action plan – Be specific, set a deadline, and let others know about it. 
41. Protect yourself - Put up a shield against destructive people, bad environments, and substances. 
42. Soothing talk – Talk to yourself very gently (as if to a friend or small child). 
From Seeking Safety: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for PTSD and Substance Abuse by Lisa M. Najavits, Ph.D.
(PART 2)
43. Think of the consequences – Really see the impact for tomorrow, next week, next year.
44. Trust the process – Just keep moving forward; the only way out is through. 
45. Work the material – The more you practice and participate, the quicker the healing. 
46. Integrate the split self – Accept all sides of yourself- they are there for a reason. 
47. Expect growth to feel uncomfortable – If it feels awkward or difficult you’re doing it right. 
48. Replace destructive activities – eat candy instead of getting high. 
49. Pretend you like yourself – See how different the day feels. 
50. Focus on now – Do what you can to make today better; do not get overwhelmed by the past or future. 
51. Praise yourself – Notice what you did right; this is the most powerful method of growth. 
52. Observe repeating patterns – Try to notice and understand your re-enactments. 
53. Self-nurture – Do something that you enjoy (e.g., take a walk, see a movie). 
54. Practice delay – If you cannot totally prevent a self-destructive act, at least delay it as long as possible. 
55. Let go of destructive relationships – If it cannot be fixed, detach. 
56. Take responsibility – Take an active, not a passive, approach. 
57. Set a deadline – Make it happen by setting a date.
58. Make a commitment – Promise yourself to do what is right to help your recovery. 
59. Rethink – Think in a way that helps you feel better. 
60. Detach from emotional pain (grounding) – Distract, walk away, change the channel. 
61. Learn from experience – Seek wisdom that can help you next time. 
62. Solve the problem – Do not take it personally when things go wrong – try to just seek a solution. 
63. Use kinder language – Make your language less harsh.
64. Examine the evidence – Evaluate both sides of the picture. 
65. Plan it out – Take the time to think ahead – it is the opposite of impulsivity. 
66. Identify the belief – For example, should, deprivation reasoning.
67. Reward yourself – Find a healthy way to celebrate anything you do right.
68. Create new “tapes” – Literally! Take a tape recorder and record a new way of thinking to play back. 
69. Find rules to live by – Remember a phrase that works for you (e.g., “Stay real”). 
70. Setbacks are not failures – A setback is just a setback, nothing more. 
71. Tolerate the feeling – “No feeling is final”, just get through it safely.
72. Actions first and feelings will follow – Do not wait until you feel motivated; just start now. 
73. Create positive addictions – Sports, hobbies, AA… 
74. When in doubt, don’t – If you suspect danger, stay away. 
75. Fight the trigger – Take an active approach to protect yourself. 
76. Notice the source – Before you accept criticism or advice, notice who is telling it to you. 
77. Make a decision – If you are stuck, try choosing the best solution you can right now; do not wait. 
78. Do the right thing – Do what you know will help you, even if you don’t feel like it.
79. Go to a meeting – Feet first; just get there and let the rest happen. 
80. Protect your body from HIV – This is truly a life-or-death issue. 
81. Prioritize healing – Make healing your most urgent and important goal, above all else. 
82. Reach for community resources – Lean on them! They can be a source of great support. 
83. Get others to support your recovery – Tell people what you need. 
84. Notice what you can control – List the aspects of your life you do control (e.g., job, friends…) 
From Seeking Safety: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for PTSD and Substance Abuse by Lisa M. Najavits, Ph.D.


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