The task for this week is to build a strong motivational foundation that will carry you through the rest of the program. The more time and effort you put into this week the more you will gain in the long run.

The start of your journey

Week 1 is probably the most important week in the whole change process. This is the week that you set the new foundation for the rest of your life. This week you build your motivation for change and you set the tone of the rest of your recovery.

In normal alcohol treatment, week one is a critical period, between 50 and 60% of people relapse because they have not built a foundation or have not built it strong enough. So the task for this week is to build a strong motivational foundation that will carry you through the rest of the program. The more time and effort you put into this week the more you will gain in the long run.

Try and carry out as many of the tasks described below as you can. It is better if you can do them over the course of a week than all at once, as it allows you to start and absorb some of the information and, indeed, some of the information about how you feel will change as the week progresses.

You will begin the process of assessment this week. This may be the first time you have actually looked closely at yourself and your drinking behavior, so take your time and do it properly. This assessment is what you will call to mind when you are tempted to drink or drink heavily. The problems that you have in your life because of alcohol will provide the motivation to change and motivation to resist temptation.  It will also be the improvement in these problems that will provide you with continued and further motivation.

The first tool of the assessment process is the Areas of Concern Tool. Watch the video carefully, so that you are familiar with how to to use the tool. Then take the time and work your way through the five areas of concern, noting first of all the problems you can  and secondly your level of concern about them. Don’t worry if you don’t understand what this means at the moment, all of this is explained in the video. When you have completed the Area of Concerns Tool, you should complete the Drinking Diary and finally the Drinking Thoughts Tool.  All of these tools have a graphing facility but this facility only comes into its own from week 2 onwards,

This may be the first time you have ever had a blog, or you may have had one, or even many, in the past.  Regardless you should watch the video anyway. The video actually discusses more than just how to fill in the blog, it also discusses using it as a Journal. You should not under estimate how useful a Journal is to the process of change. As you change so too do your feelings change, your attitudes change, your behavior changes and how you feel changes. So it is very useful to have a record of how you felt and thought before, and the blog can provide that.

It can also provide you with a place to vent your feelings and maybe to explore your feelings in privacy and safety. At the end of week one you will be able to export your assessments into your blog.  However at the moment you should start writing up how you feel physically, psychologically and emotionally. Also if possible you should complete your blog on a daily basis, particularly at the beginning of the change process.  This is a good habit to acquire and week 1 and the next few weeks are all about acquiring new, more positive, habits.

On your first week as a member in the site try to post an introduction in the forum. Try to tell the community a bit about yourself.  The forum is also an important tool for change as it allows you to share about yourself in a safe environment.  It also allows others to feed back to you about your posts and about themselves.  Try and get into the habit of sharing in the forum.

As a member of 24/7 Help Yourself you will receive a number of different types of messages. You will receive a daily message for the first month you are a member of the site. This message will generally contain a motivational statement and a meditation. One occasion it may also contain a suggestion about change and a suggested exercise. You will also receive messages when you complete your assessments from week two onwards. These messages will comment on your progress, whether your assessments have improved. Occasionally you will receive a message from the website whenever changes have been made or new documents or pages have been added. Finally you may receive messages from other members of the site. These may be messages in your inbox or they may be instant messages that you can reply to if you want.

For many of you this will be a busy week, not only online but also off-line. Off-line you may have relationships to repair with your family, your partner and/or your friends. This takes time, however, we do urge you to complete your tasks on the website. These tasks were designed to give you maximum insight into your drinking and into yourself and, to repeat, the more work you do on yourself in this week the better it will be for you in changing your life and your drinking.

Finding yourself