Seemingly Irrelevant Decisions

Awareness of Seemingly Irrelevant Decisions or SIDs is critical to sustaining difficult changes, whether that is dealing with addictions, starting to adopt a fitness regime, weight management, or just adopting new lifestyle choices.

When it comes to taking responsibility for an addicts recovery, taking control of the SIDs is something which a recovering addict can do and benefit massively from fewer lapse providing situations.


A huge risk to recovery is ignoring what is going on for the person in addiction, ignoring thoughts feelings and the risks posed to by these and the environment. To keep moving forward in recovery it is essential, then to be honest to themselves, acknowledge any vulnerabilities and insecurities otherwise they may jeopardise their recovery by making poor decisions.

How do Seemingly irrelevant Decisions contribute to lapse and relapse?

SIDs are those decisions which directly contribute to making lapse and relapse a more likely outcome and can be anticipated and acted on to prevent or reduce the risk of lapse and relapse. These decisions can be a direct contributor to a lapse or contribute to the general conditions which result in the addict feeling or being less resourceful when confronted with a high risk situation.

Directly contributing Seemingly Irrelevant Decisions could include going to an environment which is high risk but with legitimate reasons for doing this. For example: Going to the local supermarket for food. However, not deciding what to buy until you get there, so you are carrying too much money. Then, using checkout where the alcohol is sold, and then being triggered, developing an urge and making a purchase. More help around taking control is available from SMART recovery here.

Good weather and good moods can contribute to poor decisions

Another example could be going to visit a friend on a sunny day, and having to pass the old drinking venue you used to use, only to be encouraged to stay by former drinking buddies who are all sat outside. If drugs was your issue then by using alcohol your judgement is impaired and you ignore further risks and go on to use afterwards. These are directly contributing as here the addict has put themselves in a dangerous and predictable situation. A key trigger for Gamblers is just carrying money. Carrying more than is necessary or carrying a bank card.

Be kind to yourself by being honest

To manage these situations addicts need to be honest about how dangerous a situation is and adopt a safer strategy so that they are not triggered and if they are, then they need to have a realistic plan to deal with the situation.


Plan the amount of money you need to carry

Indirectly contributing Seemingly Irrelevant Decisions could include taking more money than you need out with you. Even if they are triggered and have an urge to use, by not carrying enough money an alcohol or drug user or a gambler or shopaholic is unable to act on that urge and are then able to take themselves out of the environment, by which time the urge would most likely be over.

Understanding SIDs is vital to keep changes moving forwards. They may seem irrelevant but they stem from a deep seated desire to break the new lifestyle choice. Reluctance to address these potential risks may be a good indicator to how committed to change you are and if you need more help to grow your motivation to make changes.

A SID may lead to a lapse but some justify this to relapse

Some people use lapse as an excuse to give up making changes. People who diet, deviate from their plan once due to a SID, but then use it to reset their goals a few weeks later, never actually restarting. Addicts catastrophise and over exaggerate how disastrous a single lapse was often saying "i will never be able to beat this" again allowing a SID to escalate into a full blown relapse instead of a point of learning for next time.


SIDs can and do undermine change, so plan for those decisions, plan for the worst and hope for the best and you will make your change plans more successful and enjoyable.

Need help with your recovery?

Contact positive hypnosis here today to book your free 30 minute online appointment using Skype or face to face in Sheffield UK. Discuss how therapy can support you to make better choices, manage your urges and allow you to find  long lasting and meaningful changes in your life. Dave has extensive experience working with addictive behaviours and together we can help you build the life for you.


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