A thought or an urge to do something I’d rather not do – what might help?

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

UAB - Unhelpful Addictive Behaviour


S is for “Stop” where I am and “Step Back.”

O - “Observe” how I’m feeling—what are my physical sensations and cravings, if any?

B - “Breathe.” I take a deep breath; then another breath; and centre my attention in my breath.

E - “Expand” my awareness so that I have a larger sense of what would happen if I did choose to use. How would I feel? What would I put at risk? Lose? Sacrifice? How will I feel when I stay true to my values?

R - I “Respond” mindfully to the situation proactively, rather than reactively. I note that I have several choices in front of me and I have no requirement to take the first choice that comes to my mind out of habit.



It is a fact that my mind cannot hold a single thought for any length of time. When I try to meditate on my navel for 20 minutes. Think of NOTHING else. Try not to think of that ticking clock I hear, not to think of my foot that itches, and not to think about how much time is left before I might get up and make dinner. Just my navel, period! Hmmm, pretty hard to do. I might use this fact to crowd out an urge by postponing it for a later time. Set my phone timer for 7 minutes and go do something else. A walk outside, or walking on the spot for a minute would be great. Phone a mate. Review my BCM and HoV with EMOTION. Seven minutes later, the urge may not seem as urgent as it did when it first appeared. Wait that nasty, unhelpful thought out and it might dissipate or disappear. What have I got to lose, except, my urge?

E=Escape the situation

I might not ALWAYS be able to manipulate a situation - OFTEN I CAN. If I have chosen to go to a party, and an urge is looking 'irresistible', I might do myself a favour and perhaps get the heck out of there. Maybe mark a party off my list for several months. If a certain friend seems to 'make me want to drink', possibly put them on the back burner for a while. If driving past my favourite bar puts a yearning in my stomach, maybe drive home a new way for a while. Several months down the road I might experiment with dealing with a tempting situation - why do it in the first sensitive week or two? There is plenty of time later. Perhaps give myself a break! Why start training for a marathon, by running a marathon?


Make my list up now of an ‘Invitation To Act’ that I feel tempts me and avoid it as better I can. Avoid it for good, or just for a while. This is my list and my choice. Putting it on paper NOW, rather than finding myself in a sticky situation later, makes good sense. Spotting ITA’s as I progress is seen as helpful.


Distraction or diversion is something that might be pretty helpful. Having a list of things to do, in advance, is insurance for when the only thing I might think of to do is drink. I might pull out that list and pick an activity - and just do it, whether it feels like something I want to do or not. I have found that at first, I would say 'Heck, I don't want to do that' - after making myself do it, it became fun. My favourite motto of late: 'My motivation follows my action.' I said earlier that it is hard for me to hold one thought in my mind for any length of time, just think how hard it is to hold TWO thoughts at once! This distraction technique utilizes this principle.


I might substitute an unhelpful belief with a helpful belief.

I might substitute an unhelpful addictive behaviour with a healthy, constructive behaviour.

I might substitute beer with cranberry juice.

I might substitute coffee with herbal tea.

I might substitute eating chocolate cake with walking or jogging at a park.

I might substitute feeling sorry for myself with coming to an online meeting or reading about a balanced life.

Gradual skill improvement helps a thing be more possible.

For a thought or an urge - maybe identify a CRITICAL TIME of mine and a VITAL BEHAVIOUR of mine to help drive a bit bigger 'pause' or wedge between my thinking and my doing.

01 - Urge Busters - Playing Tape Include
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