The headlines read: “Former New Hampshire Liquor Commissioner Convicted of DWI”, “Former Massachusetts State Official Hospitalized After DUI Arrest”. With all the news reports, police warnings, advertisements, and simple word of mouth, you would think that you would have to be a fool to drink and drive. Not the case at all. In fact, one of the key psychological constructs to relapse and repeat offending is the desensitization effect. With all the exposure of what happens to “other people,” people are becoming desensitized to the dangers of drinking and driving. For those who have been a part of the horrors and problem, time is also is a factor. The more time passes from ground zero, the arrest, the less impact the horrors and problems have over influencing a persons behavior.
Think about it, one would think a former Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Chairman, Matthew Amorello, would know the dangers and be influenced by not only his position, but the consequence, not so (www.salemnews.com 8/17/10). How about Richard Simard, the former New Hampshire liquor commissioner (www.wmur.com 8/17/10)? Again, not so. Here is the fact of the matter: as long as there are mind/mood altering substances, there are going to be people who fail to take into consideration the consequences of their actions.
This may sound overly simplistic, but MyDiscover Inc. has come up with a constant reminder for people to take into consideration the consequences to future actions. We offer a simple red wrist band that has the wording, “Who is in control?” The idea is whenever faced with a situation that may or may not have negative consequences, to stop and think (red band) and read the words. The two seconds one takes to read the words is all it takes to establish a window of opportunity to implement control and in a phrase, “choose the right thing.”
If you’re more interested in the three primary psychological constructs that influence repeat offending or irrational behavior, look for our articles on the disinhibition and reinforcement effects; of course the other being the desensitization effect. Since behavior is defined as a pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting, but controlling your thoughts, by default you control your feelings and actions. We are all responsible.
The cognitive problem solving skill of “Who is in control?” is used within our Discover Addiction Recovery, Anger Management, and Domestic Abuse programs. It has proven to be simply effective.