A new study looking at the comparative effectiveness of various coping skills for dealing with urges to drink in preventing relapse reports some counter-intuitive findings [emphasis mine]:
…relying on going to a meeting or talking to a sponsor or counselor when experiencing an urge was not correlated with improved drinking outcomes.
Ineffective skills in this population included exercising regularly, living with clean/sober people…
Two strategies were only helpful in the short run in this population: relaxation/meditation or smoking a cigarette. The smoking strategy is consistent with a past study where we found that the subset of patients who said they use smoking to cope with urges to drink were more likely to be sober a month later ( Monti et al., 1995 ). For this subset, it may be useful to delay attempts to get them to quit smoking until after sobriety is well established.
Take 12 step facilitation off the table for a moment. Getting together with abstinent friends or talking to an abstinent mentor isn’t associated with improved outcomes?
They ignore the many studies finding that quitting smoking improves outcomes, cite one study and suggest that quitting smoking may be associated with with relapse and suggests delaying attempts to quit?
Exercise and living with other sober people ineffective too.
Yikes. Now that this has become “evidence”, I hope there are some follow-up studies.