By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
The First Aid Kit tool is something I encourage clients to create as a simple resource for their recovery. As I have worked with men and youth in counseling for sexual addiction in Mesa Arizona, I have found this tool to be very helpful. What is it? Similar to a first aid kit you might take camping, it will contain items that might be needed in times of crisis. The more energy you spend creating a kit, and the more creativity you put into place, the more effective the tool will become.
First decide on some type of container to hold your items. A simple shoebox or plastic container works for most guys. However, you may choose to use a binder or small folder. What you use will be somewhat dependent upon what you put into the kit. Generally I encourage my clients to place items into their kit that pull them into a place of motivation and positive thinking. Also, items that help you feel confident. Perhaps you have items that remind you of good times or friends. Anything that helps you stay on track will be appropriate.
Below is a list of possible items you can place in your first aid kit. Remember these are just ideas. Don’t be afraid to get creative and personalize this for yourself.
1. Letter to Yourself: Write a persuasive letter at a time when you are doing well and feeling confident. Say things to yourself that will remind you of why you should stay in recovery. You might include all the positives as well as the negatives.
2. Nature: Some clients collect items from nature that reminds them of the larger world. Perhaps these are things that remind them of memories like camping with grandpa, going on scout trips, or staying at the cabin with family. You might get a pinecone to put in your kit, or some leaves from the cabin, or pieces of grass from your childhood home.
3. Photographs: These are most common. You could include pictures of your family, spouse or children. Sometimes I’ve seen clients put a picture of Jesus in their kit. You might use a photo of yourself as a happy young child.
4. Recordings: You might ask friends or family to record an inspiring message about you. Perhaps they can say things on the recording that reminds you of your positive qualities. Words of encouragement can be powerful.
5. Affirmations: Choose several affirmations or encouraging phrases and write them onto 3x5 cards. You’ll want them handy. Some clients add pictures to these affirmations that help them solidify the feeling. One client I had wrote a page of affirmations about himself and read it with background music that was highly motivating. This recorded affirmation brought an emotional energy to him.
6. Music: You might put a CD in your kit that has a few recorded songs that bring peace and motivation.
7. Phone Numbers: Although you might have friend’s numbers in your cell phone, take a moment to write down their names and numbers on a 3x5 card. Simply seeing the name, and recognizing their availability to support you, can be motivating.
8. Humor: Many of my clients have success using humor to break their trance-like addictive states. Perhaps you include comic strips, funny stories, humorous pictures, or a list of jokes that bring a smile to your face and make you laugh.
A First Aid Kit doesn’t stop addiction nor does it eliminate triggers. However, it does help you to gain strength in turning away from the compulsive behavior. It helps your mind stay clear and focused. It turns your emotion away from negativity and toward encouragement.
Call us if you’d like a free 15-minute consultation. We provide counseling services for sexual addiction in Mesa Arizona. (480) 668-8301.