Social distancing could be a recipe for relapse – But it doesn’t have to be

A lot of people’s recoveries from drug or alcohol addiction have relied on routine, being able to mix, socialise, share common experiences, talk through personal challenges. Support groups which were once a safe space to offload have been replaced with isolation and the physical distancing can pose a threat to people, particularly those in early recovery and who are still working on understanding their own personal triggers and cravings and developing coping strategies to manage them.

Whilst social connection is a valuable part of recovery, let’s not forget that fundamentally our recovery journey starts with ourselves, learning new ways to understand and cope with our own

Thoughts

Feelings

Emotions

Actions or Reactions

Making healthy choices

Finding new distractions

YES, support groups are a great space to hear similar stories, to be able to relate to other people’s experiences and stories can offer comfort knowing that you are not alone, not abnormal, that what you are experiencing is perfectly normal, support groups are helpful, vital in some cases.

But a lack of human connection doesn’t have to be a reason to lapse back into unhealthy behaviours. You know those same old unhealthy behaviours that brought us into recovery in the first place, the same behaviours that we know don’t serve us, that we know deep down are only temporary fixes and not solutions to deeper problems.

Whilst in isolation you can STILL be working on your recovery

Writing down a plan which will help support you and prepare for tough times should you hit bumps can be really helpful

List your top reasons which I choose to be clean today 

Things I can do to stay clean – distractions such as reading, putting on some music that lifts your spirit

These are actions I can take if and when I have cravings: (examples: call a friend, eating if hungry, going an online meeting, reading recovery material, reminding myself that cravings can be intense but pass, or thinking of the consequences of using)

My Triggers or Early Warning Signs – Things I need to look out for include: (examples could be, cravings, changes in attitude towards recovery, or behaviors)

Create a contact list of names and numbers of people I can call who support my recovery AND USE THEM if you need too.

Pretty much everyone has access to technology (if you don’t please get in touch, our providers have been working hard to try and resolve this), people are staying connected via WhatsApp groups, telephone calls, text messages, FB group chat, and the NEW Zoom meetings, that can be found on Sheffield Recovery Community Facebook page.

Our Sheffield local providers have been reaching out to clients by telephone offering welfare checks making sure that those who are on prescribed medication to ensure that they can still get scripts, or if self-isolating making sure scripts are being delivered to the door.

And many of the local face to face support groups have now gone online, offering a chance to connect with peers and familiar faces from their usual support groups Find out more

Listen, this COVID isn’t going to be around forever and our addictions don’t need to either.  Please rest assured our communities WILL go back to some sort of normality soon.

This too will pass

But you DO have a choice you can either go back to using/drinking and wait for the COVID shit storm to pass then resume your recovery OR you can continue to utilise the alternative sources of support that are still available – But remember the most important source of support you have is yourself.

Recovery IS still there and like before our recovery only works if WE/ YOU are willing to reach out.

If you want you can subscribe to  any of my new blogs by emailing me at

Tracey@shithappens.me.uk

 

In the meantime, stay safe

 

Love Fordy x

 

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Our emotions are not threats but informants.

 

In a world that does not teach us how to adequately process our feelings is it any wonder we learn to create our own coping mechanisms. We rely upon and take our learning from others, who have learned from others before them. Some people live a lifetime without ever knowing what they really feel, acting out by way of expressing themselves or using words by way of trying to describe how they are feeling.

Our emotions are an essential part of who we are, but they can be messy, complicated, and downright confusing, is it any wonder people run away from them, block them out, lash out at the ones they love, or the people that are trying to help them?

My belief is if you are not in touch with your feelings, or don’t know what and how you are feeling how the fuck are you supposed to deal with them? It’s like driving a car without a steering wheel – You are not in control.

In my early years, actually up until early adulthood, because I didn’t know what I was feeling I would seek validation about how I felt from “others” If I didn’t get it only served to reinforce the thoughts and doubts that I wasn’t important and thought nobody cared. I walked around with a chip on my shoulder and angry at the world, I often felt I hadn’t been seen, heard and misunderstood!

A Quest for validation

I was on a never-ending quest to try and get others to make me feel better about myself and allow them to be responsible for my feelings.  But it never worked. I never really got what I needed. I just looked like I was being dramatic, always negative, focusing disproportionately on what was really going on. The validation for my feelings that I sought from others just looked like attention-seeking, always fishing for compliments (I think this is why now, I struggle with accepting compliments, it takes me back to a time when I thrived on them, depended on them to sustain my self-esteem)

The truth is that the more I sought validation about my feelings from others, the more disconnected I became from myself, I had jack shit self-esteem. I used to think my feelings didn’t matter, feelings were a dirty word, talking about feelings was an act of weakness an inconvenience. I became an expert, was able to push them to one side, until years later I found that using drugs was more effective, they stopped me from feeling altogether. They helped me not to give a flying fuck about myself and anyone around me, they worked for a while. But it was all fake!

A large part of my recovery and about the person who I am today has been about learning to reconnect with myself and learning to validate my feelings as opposed to seeking validation from others. Personal inquiry, or like I prefer to call it #Havingawordwithysen is not just essential for someone in recovery, it is essential for everyone.

Our feelings are a core part of who we are, but if we ignore them, don’t take notice, acknowledged or validated them we can start to question ourselves, doubt ourselves. And here is the dangerous part we can start seeking validation from others again.

“Christ some of the people I sought validation from were as fucked up as me for crying out loud!”

There are occasions when I don’t make time for me sen and slip back into old behaviours. The past few weeks have been no exception, I noticed the same familiar negative validation pattern return, what with all the uncertainly in the current climate has unsettled me. I have found myself getting frustrated and haven’t felt able to find a healthy, balance, resolution or outlet for my anger, I have let it fester resulting in me self-imploding on more than one occasion.

I can see it in my behaviour and how I have been reacting of late, being needy, overworking, seeking perfection, I have lost the desire to write, the creativity, the spark I had only a few weeks ago seems to have slowly died. I know that deep down that seeking external validation never fixes the problem; I am still left never feeling good enough. And I know that deep down, I will only feel better when I start validating myself again.

Amid fucking COVID 19 I had let go of the steering wheel and felt out of control so for the past few mornings before work demands start, I have forced myself to have some time out, #Haveawordwimesen I have ignored many calls, private messages (sorry I will get back to you) but I have been busy trying to turn my attention back onto myself.  Now I have found it and have a better idea of what direction I am going in, whilst I do not yet know the final destination, I am in a better place to know where ever it is, it will be ok because I’m ok I will be ok.

Time 

I hear a lot of people complaining that they have far too much time on their hands, can’t go outside, cant see friends or loved ones when they could be using this valuable time to go visit themselves, #Haveaword just saying…

So use this time wisely and make some time for some self-inquiry and remember the only person who can validate how you are feeling is yourself, so if you have been feeling shit of late, stressed just take a little time out of your day for YOU

Self-inquiry isn’t always easy, it takes practice, but it is possible 

  • Remind yourself that it is human to feel things that we don’t always understand, but it is important, and we can help ourselves by taking the time to explore what it is you are feeling, “Validating your feelings” sounds like a big term, but it really means one thing: Letting yourself feel.
  • Remind yourself its ok to feel aggrieved and pissed off and irrationally mad – it is our emotions at play, acknowledge them, ride them out, they will pass.
  • This can look like taking a few minutes to journal each day, spending time by yourself where you can simply experience how you feel—without judgment and without trying to change anything.
  • Often once we acknowledge an emotion, it will often go away on its own. If there is no course of action, there will be other times where our feelings can linger for longer.
  • Our emotions are not threats but informants. They show us and remind us what we care about and what we want to protect. Only by validating ourselves can we become stronger.

So the next time the shit hits the pan! Try taking a deep breath, take some time out and #Haveawordwithyse

Try not to be afraid of who you truly are and remember, if you would like to subscribe to more posts, please go to https://www.shithappens.me.uk/contact/ and sign up, If you liked the post please share, if you don’t then do nothing and that’s ok too – Keep Safe AND more importantly Stay Sane 

 

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