Now that you and the client have discussed different types of strategies to better manage their cravings for speed, it is time to summarise the preceding discussion and develop an action plan for the client to implement at times of craving. Spelling out exactly which techniques to use in particular trigger situations removes the obstacle of having to think of something else to do in the heat of the moment when the craving is intense. This increases their chance of successfully not giving in to cravings as they arise.

Exercise 2: Devising a craving plan (Kadden et al., 1995)

  • Write down the high-risk situations for speed use generated by the client during the session, or from the homework activities (urge diary), on the sheet – "My craving plan".

  • Ask the client to circle the triggers he/she feels they can simply avoid or reduce their exposure to (e.g. not having speed in the house, not buying it, thereby reducing the likelihood of experiencing a craving).

  • Of the remaining triggers that cannot be avoided, go through the coping strategies described above with your client and jointly identify those that he/she can put in place when he/she experiences cravings and urges to use.

  • If your client has not tried any of the coping strategies before (e.g. urge surfing, relaxation, nominating a support person to call on), encourage them to practise the technique in the session with you now. This will make it easier for them to use this strategy later if required.

  • Assist the client to generate ideas: "What things will I do to help me stay off speed?"

  • Record the final plan on the sheet – "My craving plan" for the client to take home.

  • Ask the client to refer to the plan throughout the week when a craving develops and act on all the strategies generated during the session. Some may work better for the client than others and once a strategy is found to be helpful, it may be used again and again.

My craving plan

This sheet has the following headings, under which the the client can list high-risk situations for using speed and the associated coping plans and strategies:
  • High-risk situations (circle those that you can avoid)

  • My coping plan

  • What will help me stay off speed?