Brad Haber’s Blog

The Fire Extinguisher, A Breakthrough Relapse Prevention (November 2020 Sober World)

In my 30 years of working with addiction in various levels of care and treatment modalities, I have seen clients who relapse even after numerous treatment attempts and continually  fail to maintain their sobriety.  It just seemed that there was something else happening in this pattern of  relapse that occurred even with all their most sincere and committed efforts. Despite  attending numerous Treatment Programs, Counseling, Support Group and 12-Step Meetings, Smart Recovery, Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, changing “ People, Places and Things”, and Religion and Spirituality, they were still plagued by relapse. This scenario became so puzzling to me that I began to search for the reason for this confounding situation. When I began my study and training in hypnosis, I realized that the factor that goes beyond their recovery knowledge, determination, and support existed in the subconscious memories of the rewarding experiences of their substance use.  I was then able to identify the two primary motives driving addiction which were the memory of Pleasure and/or the Relief from Painful Experiences (Emotional, Psychological, or Physical)

By gaining this  understanding,  I developed a technique called the “Fire Extinguisher” that can interrupt impulsive behavior and empower the client to resist and avoid relapse.When this relapse prevention technique  is applied during a potential relapse it  reduces emotional cravings and desires and restores the client’s capacity to make logical and rational decisions.  When utilized effectively, the desire to avoid the pain and suffering overrules the desire to succumb to the cravings that cause relapse. “The Fire Extinguisher” can also be described as a Consequential Feeling , an Existential Model of Relapse Prevention.

This technique utilizes the client’s actual  Experiences with the application of Reality , Rational Emotive ,and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies, along with Motivational Enhancement, Positive Association, Metaphor, and Hypnotic suggestion. The systematic application of the “Fire Extinguisher” process works to overcome the desire for pleasure or relief with a stronger desire to avoid pain and suffering. By educating the client of the components of relapse and stimulating the recall of positive and negative memories the client learns to “ Pause and Reflect” and to  “ Pause for the Cause “ which is simply to avoid any further Pain and Negative Consequences. When the Fire Extinguisher Technique is applied it makes the decision to abstain from relapse virtually the only valid and sensible choice.

I have taught this technique to hundreds of clients who verbalized that the “Fire Extinguisher” has been their most effective relapse prevention tool and often expressed that is has saved their life. I have diligently worked to design and perfect this technique over the past 5 years and have developed a 3 CEU presentation for all mental health  and behavioral health professionals who work with substance abuse and/or other compulsive disorders.

Empower your Clients to Succeed in Recovery !

If you would like to learn how to effectively teach this technique to your clients, I have designed a 3 CEU training workshop that explains `and demonstrates the dynamics and method of the presentation.

For additional information, please contact Brad Haber at  (954) 261-5901,

The Fire Extinguisher Model and all information contained herein is copyrighted by Brad Haber, LCSW, CAP © 2020

Contact Brad for more information or to schedule an appointment