Many people ask how are they going to recover from an addiction?
The real question should be what is driving that addiction?
And then what are you NOT doing to recover from it?
While we like to classify addiction into it’s own box the reality is that this extends to most mental wellness conditions and is thus far more complex than the physical process. So wherever you see the word addiction feel free to replace it with depression, anxiety, stress etc compounded by complex life circumstances that are unique to each individuals history and perceptions of their world.
Nobody is normal
On some level, there is a reason or a cause that sparked the cycle and in many cases, we know what that reason or cause is, but in just as many cases we don’t and this is where the process of “recovery” or personal recovery begins.
If we grew up our whole lives accepting our version of “normal” to be normal, we would not believe that it was abnormal if someone else told us that it was abnormal. Human beings are inherently resistant to change particularly when it comes to challenging their belief systems. To us, “normal” would be our “normal” and would form what we believe about ourselves.
But what if “our normal” was actually a toxic belief system that had been embedded over a lifetime, or through a toxic relationship, but to no fault of our own?
It is in this space where our mental health takes a tumble and many coping behaviours and cycles begin to can and do emerge in the format of addictions, depression, anxiety or better known as “coping mechanisms”. These coping mechanisms change and escalate and maladapt over time, but essentially they serve a purpose to the psyche.
Now we know full well that there must be stuff to work on because we are experiencing these symptoms and they won’t go away of their own accord. The only way to resolve the issue, in reality, is to start the work.
This work entails looking at the many aspects of your life that are causing disharmony and beginning to work on them in a meaningful, caring and non-destructive way.
To do this we have to acknowledge a few start points.
Rome was not built in a day
In personal growth, you cannot expect that you are going to swallow a magic pill and life will be great again? It takes practice, it takes failure, it takes self-care, it takes learning and it takes a fuckload of getting back up and trying again (that’s why we call it “practice” not “perfection”). And that is hard, messy and is always an uncomfortable space to be in, but if you are forging the most resilient version of yourself, so you will need to get used to it until such time as you can take it in your stride and it no longer phases you.
Everyone is doing the best they can
It sounds trite and it is, but it’s a realisation in relationships (which tend to be the root of all evil) that in spite of all the pain and torment we acknowledge that everyone is doing the best they can, especially you.
It’s hard to empathise with individuals and circumstances that have caused so much distortion, pain and destruction but empathy is an important tool for separating that anguish in your mind. This is not to say forgive and forget. This is purely an exercise for you to acknowledge that a multi-dimensional picture exists and you may no know all the answers, and that is perfectly fine.
Whatever happened, happened but how you responded to yourself is the stuff you carry after the event. Are you being kind enough to yourself now is the question?
Your body and mind is your temple
There is a Bruce Lee level of respect that we need to engender towards our own minds and bodies. We simply cannot keep abusing them and thinking stuff will eventually sort itself out on it’s own accord, it won’t. At every human beings core is a will and want to survive. Sometimes the noise of life get’s in the way and we feel hopeless but it’s in these dark moments where we learn our greatest lessons.
When all else fails and you don’t know up from down – go back to the basics.
- Get good sleep
- Eat healthy food
- Exercise in whichever way works for you
- Practice presence and mindfulness
Rinse repeat and speak to someone, a therapist a friend, a 12 step meeting anyone that is not connected to the drama that will listen and provide valid feedback.