When dealing with substance use and mental health issues it is important to make positive lifestyle changes. However, it is just as important to make sure to avoid repeating past mistakes, especially ones that can derail your progress. One way that we can prevent repeating our mistakes is to see the warning signs or “red flags” ahead of time and then change our course in time to prevent making a bad decision. This exercise is about recognizing some red flags in life and then coming up with a personal plan to prevent negative decisions so we can stay on the positive course toward forward progress.
Opening Exercise - Directions – Review this list below and consider the following points for each one and discuss your answers:
Have you heard this before? If so, what were the circumstances?
What red flags come to mind? What potential concerns may be present when you hear this kind of statement?
12 “Don’t worry” Phrases that Should Potentially Trigger Worry -
(…Or at least trigger some legitimate concern because of potential red flags)
Have you ever heard someone say…?
“Don’t worry, there’s no way we’ll get caught”
“Don’t worry, this is 100% a sure thing”
“Don’t worry you have absolutely nothing to lose”
“Don’t worry that was the past, I’ve changed”
“Don’t worry, there is no chance (I/you) will get pregnant”
“Don’t worry I know I did it to all of them, but I won’t do it to you”
“Don’t worry, if something goes wrong and we get caught, I will just say it’s all my fault”
“Don’t worry, even though I may look a little off, I am in complete control”
“Don’t worry, all of those warnings are just there to scare people”
“Don’t worry I know you caught me, but this was the actually first and only time I ever did this”
“Don’t worry, I know you found out, but I promise was going to tell you”
“Don’t worry, you can’t get hooked if you are just smart about it”
Other? – Have you heard any other dubious “don’t worry” statements in your life? – If yes please share them with the rest of the group
Discuss: “Sensible people will see trouble coming and avoid it, but an unthinking person will walk right into it and regret it later.” (Proverbs 22:3)
Discuss the following RED FLAGS and what the greater meaning could be… (Answers provided)
A plan or scheme sounds “too good to be true” … (It probably is)
Someone lies about little things, sometimes even for no reason… (They will very likely lie about big things)
Person treats everyone else poorly… (You’re probably next in due time)
Someone goes out of their way repeatedly to convince you how honest they are… (They are probably not)
Disconnect – Lots of positive words but not a lot of action to back it up… (Their words have little value)
Ideas designed to appeal to your emotions but little substance behind them… (Probably not reliable)
Someone trying to make a deal with you looks like they could pack up and leave quickly… (They just might)
Person has an answer for every single thing… (No one really has an answer for everything)
Person uncaring with animals, children and/or family… (Good chance they may treat you poorly eventually)
Again, what are some of other red flags that you try to always stay aware of in life?