Recovery Tip: Remember to PRIMP daily
Written by: Janice Ponds, LADC , CBIS
One of the most difficult challenges those in recovery from substance abuse/dependence issues face is how to maintain their sobriety. In spite of their best efforts to live a clean and sober lifestyle; the reality is that many will relapse. An important factor in learning how to effectively pursue sobriety is for one to clearly identify their relapse triggers. Two common relapse triggers that those in recovery identify are anxiety and boredom. Although many may deal with a diagnosed anxiety disorder; often anxiety can be substance induced. Often medications prescribed for anxiety such as benzodiazipines have addictive properties, thus those in recovery should be encouraged to find other positive alternative coping skills to assist in managing anxiety. These skills may include things such as exercise, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, massaging, journaling, etc.
Sometimes there is a valid need for some to take medication to treat anxiety disorders. If this is warranted, it should be under a psychiatrist’s care; with the doctor being aware of the person’s addiction issues. At that time a determination could be made to have the person in recovery possibly take non-addictive medications to address the anxiety issues. It may be helpful to advise those in recovery that medication is 50% of it. There is also the need to additionally develop the effective use of strategies, skills, and tools to assist in managing the symptoms.
One effective concept is teaching those in recovery that their recovery needs to “look like something.” In other words; it should be “observable” and “measurable.” If someone is doing something that is observable; they will be actually be seen doing something. Someone doing something that is measurable will actually be just that; measurable. For example: John went to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings 3 out of 7 days; or Mary walked briskly for 15 minutes out of 24 hours. This simple concept of “observable” and “measurable” helps those in recovery to actually grasp how to successfully PLAN THEIR RECOVERY. As they reach their goals, they have a sense of accomplishment; thus are more motivated to keep doing what they see as achievable. The result is successful sobriety.
There is a motto often stated in AA recovery/support meetings: KEEP IT SIMPLE. One way to assist people to acquire successful recovery is to encourage them to utilize simple concepts to “keep their sobriety before them all the time.” In many recovery circles, participants are encouraged to PRIMP daily. PRIMP is an acronym that embraces the “observable” and “measurable” concept that contributes to sobriety. It has been often said “Those who PRIMP daily, usually stay sober.” Each letter represents a word that is helpful in achieving successful recovery and wellness.
P PRAY first thing in the morning the moment you wake up.
R READ something positive daily such as the Big Book, a devotional book, or something that fosters spiritual growth.
I INVENTORY of self; where one looks inwardly at what they need to be working on for self improvement and not focusing on others.
M MEDITATE with a quiet,peaceful time of relaxation daily throughout the day. Accompanying this with deep breathing is helpful.
P PRAY at the end of the day, being sure to express a heart of gratitude to God for one more day of sobriety.
Those who PRIMP on a daily basis report it to be very beneficial in assisting them to have successful sobriety that remains “observable” and “measurable.” Thus, the likelihood of this becoming a part of one’s lifestyle of recovery and wellness increases greatly. Those in recovery often ask one another “Did you PRIMP today?”