The process and rationale behind counter conditioning were described in some detail in part two of this blog series. Duffys are not fun, despite the whimsical name. Not at all. They are hard. They are not pretty. But they are unique, and they’re administered by the most caring nurses you’ll ever meet. In my case it was Diane and Debbie. They have incredibly unique jobs—they see you at your worst, while administering treatment that will lead you to your best.
By the time my third Duffy was over, I was feeling physically and emotionally spent, yet clear headed about my addiction and hope for the future. And I was not alone. Other patients echoed the same feelings. By the time of my last Duffy, I knew I would never drink again, because if I relapsed it would mean coming back to Schick, and I never wanted to see it again.
And as hard as the Duffys were, they worked for me. Bottom line: five Duffys versus a lifetime of addiction? No contest.
Counter conditioning is but one part of the medical treatment. On alternate days, you have a sedation (Sleepy) interview. I’ll repeat what I said in part two of this series: Their purpose is to monitor your developing counter conditioning, and to give you and your treatment team insight into your feelings and emotions about using and recovery. It can cut therapy time down by months by getting the information from and to your subconscious. Another objective of the interview is to provide positive suggestions to the subconscious to encourage abstinence.
For the Sleepys we were encouraged to prepare our own affirmations, or we could read those prepared for us. I’ve always believed in affirmations so I was happy to create my own. Here are some of mine mixed with some of theirs. I remember reading only the first few before I went to sleep…
I choose not to have my disease control or manipulate me.
I enjoy my life without alcohol or other drugs.
I enjoy being alive.
I love, forgive and accept myself unconditionally.
Today I choose new responses to old situations.
I’m comfortable in every situation without alcohol or drugs.
Alcohol and drugs are repulsive to me.
I love being sober!
I enjoy my sobriety more each day.
I calmly accept the things I cannot change.
I am lovable, loving, and loved.
In addition to the affirmations, you are encouraged to write down questions about yourself that you’d like to have answered. Please do this. You may be surprised—shocked even, by your answers. Don’t hold back – this is the time for the naked truth.
For me the truth came when I was asked: “How long has chemical use been a problem for you?” My response was: “Probably since I was 16.” If you had asked me that question while I was not under the effects of the drug, I might have said, “The past 10 years since my brothers died” (both from overdoses, by the way). But then I realized I never drank “normally.”
From the first minute I took a drink—before age 12—I drank to excess. I remember a New Year’s Eve at Bear Mountain Inn in New York when I was 17; lying under a table so drunk I was unable to move. So badly hung over I couldn’t get out of bed for two days. There were lots of other dates, other dinners, lunches! I remember warnings from friends about the frequency and quantity of my drinking. Warnings I so easily dismissed. I recall countless phone calls I made the morning after, checking in with friends to
make sure I had done nothing the night before to jeopardize our friendship. Or to make a fool of myself. Sound familiar?
However old you were when you started, if you are reading this, you know it’s time to stop.
To be continued…