Rank Your Risks

I thought it would be fun and educational to do a series on the 17 elements of HAMS.  But in typical Hamster fashion, I’m not taking them in order.  They aren’t steps – you don’t have to do them in order, or do them at all!

Ranking your risks is one of my favorite elements.  I never drove drunk – even when I had a car and drank a lot, I would never drive after even one sip of alcohol.  But I was terrible about drinking and texting.  When I re-read my drunk texts – which are mostly buried in my phone now – I shudder with horror.  I’d have to say though – those drunk texts gave me some insight into how I was really feeling, that the sober me was all too good at repressing.

What are your risks?  Drinking and driving?  Getting too drunk to do well at work, or even to show up?  Ruining family events by over-drinking and feeling bad the next day?  Forgetting to pay bills for weeks or months in a drunken fog?

We all have our risks.  Try to look at them without judgment, as you would look at someone else you cared about.  Our risks are often trying to tell us something.  My drunk behavior has told me to a) leave a relationship that was not healthy  b) leave a career that was killing me  c) do what I really love – go back to school, research and write!  If we can embrace the messages that our drunk behavior brings to light, while minimizing the harms, we can actually improve our lives.

Rank your risks, and start with the one at the top of the list.   If you drive home drunk from the bar, try buying a bottle and drinking at home.  If you send unfortunate emails when drunk, turn off the computer and put it in another room before you drink.

Don’t look at yourself as a failure, and don’t set yourself up to fail by expecting unrealistic goals.  Just minimize risk, one risk at a time.

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About Cat

Harm Reduction activist with a cat.
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