Category Archives: Counseling

Structuring Your Time: Exercise to Help Your Addicted Client

Do you have a client who is dealing with a cocaine addiction? Here is an exercise that your client may benefit from.

Some clients fall into using too much cocaine because they don’t structure their time. They find themselves with unplanned hours to kill, and cocaine- searching for it, arranging for it, bargaining, buying, setting it up, and using- supplies a structure to their time. They continue using it because they have no other structure to compete with the seeking-and-using cycle. Seeking and using replaces productive work, or productive, or both. To quit cocaine, your client may have to impose a structure on their time that shuts out the seek-and-use cycle.

Here are some questions you can ask your lceint to help them analyze and arrange their leisure time:
– How do you spend your spare time?
– What activities do you enjoy of look forward too?
– Are you an indoor person or an outdoor person ? A day person or a night person?
– How much time do you spend alone? Do you like being alone or is it a source of unhappiness? Do you use cocaine alone?
– What sports or other physical activities have you excelled in? Would you like to pick these up again now as a way of structuring leisure time?
– What do you do for exercise now? If you don’t do anything, what do you think you’d like to do?
– What hobbies or pastimes have you had or think you might like to try?
– When do you feel bored? Be aware that these are probably the most important spots to fill activities.
– Before you started using cocaine, what did you do when you were bored of had nothing else to occupy you?

Here are some general suggestions that you can share with your cocaine addicted client to help them structure their leisure time:
– Find a buddy to plan activities with, or find several, for each planned activity.
– Take a class. Classes are good scheduled activities. An aerobics or exercise class, for example, will kill two birds with one stone: schedule your time and give you the anti-cocaine benefits of exercise. Take singing lessons, dancing lessons, or piano lessons. Take a drawing or painting course. Take a cooking or sewing class. Audition for a play. Go back to school, start working on another degree, or if you never started, begin working toward one.
– Plan to do all the things you’ve been meaning to do for a while: refinish a piece of furniture, learn to use a computer, plant a garden, start spring cleaning now even if it’s still January.

Adapted from the book Cocaine: Seduction and Solution.

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