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Exercise #6: 
Stopping Denial As You Think About Your Life History

In this exercise you will be asked to review the important things that have happened to you in the course of your life and think about how alcohol and drugs were related to each of the key life events. At each step in this process, you will be asked to notice if you were able to recognize and stop your denial when it was turned on.

1.  Developing The Life History:

Our first job is to develop a life and addiction history.  Take a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns.  At the top of the first column write Significant Life Events.  At the top of the second column write Alcohol & Drug Use Pattern.

In column one, letís briefly describe the sequence of significant life events that you experienced from birth until now:  Weíll use brief bullet points that capture the essence of each event.  We should be able to summarize your entire life history in a couple of pages. 

Note:  Donít ask about alcohol or drug use. If information is volunteered make note of it, but treat it lightly. 

2.  Developing The Alcohol & Other Drug (AOD) History: 

Now letís go to column two and describe your pattern of alcohol and drug use during each phase of the life line: What substances did you use during this period of your life?  How much did you use?  How often did you use?  What did you want to get out of using alcohol or drugs?  What fears did you have about using alcohol or drugs?  What actual happened as a result of your alcohol and drug use?

A sample of the two column life and addiction history is presented below.

1. Significant Life Events:

2. Alcohol & Drug use Pattern:

Describe the sequence of significant life events:  Use brief bullet points that capture the essence of each event.  You should be able to summarize the entire life history of the client by reviewing the events in column number one.  Donít ask about alcohol or drug use. If information is volunteered make note of it, but treat it lightly. 

 

Describing the pattern of alcohol and drug use during each phase of the life line:  Questions: 
(1) What substances did you use?
(2) Quantity: How much did you use?
(3) Frequency: How often did you use?
(4) What did you want to get out of using alcohol or drugs?
(5) What fears did you have about using alcohol or drugs?
(6) What actual happened as a result of your alcohol and drug use?

Life Event #__

 

 

 

3.         What did you want alcohol or drugs to allow you to do that you couldn't do without them?

4.         Did your alcohol and drug use get you what you wanted?  Please explain your answer.

5.         What did you want alcohol or drugs to allow you to cope with or escape from that you couldn't when not using? 

6.         Did your alcohol and drug use give you the escape or coping skills that give you the escape or coping skills that you wanted?  Please explain your answer.

7.         After reviewing you history, what were the benefits and disadvantages that alcohol and drugs brought to your life?  Letís take a separate sheet of paper and list out the benefits in the first column and the disadvantages in the second column.

Benefits of Alcohol and Drug Use

Disadvantages of Alcohol and Drug Use

1.

1.

2.

2.

3.

3.

8.         What are the three most important things that you learned about yourself by completing your history of significant life events and the relationship of those events to your alcohol and drug use.

9.         Now letís complete the two part denial check using the Denial Self-Monitoring Form.

 

 

 

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