Staying sober through pain
Updated: Jun 27
What’s the first thing we all want to do when faced with negative emotions.... fix, fix, fix, but guess what? this is only putting that stuff on hold, it’s still there when the booze, drugs, shopping, eating, gambling, etc etc have worn off! Humans hate pain and will do anything to avoid it physical or emotional but no one can, it’s impossible. Over the last few weeks I’ve experienced a handful of things which combined together have knocked me off my feet and have caused me massive emotional pain which has left life tough going..... and the worst thing about it, most of it is of my own making, somethings are out of our control and that sort of thing I can handle, its dealing with my own failings that I find so difficult to cope with. I've lost something close to me, I knew it was coming and knew I had no control over it but it doesn't stop the pain....but it has made me review my behaviour and how I can damage myself and others. During this time I have been scared to death of relapsing, so what people might say? its just a drink, but amongst feelings of absolute failure I already feel this would be the last thing to help anyone.
I have a close friend who experienced a horrendous loss years ago, I remember sitting with her when she thought she might die from the pain and grief, this is not what has happened to me and I am grateful everyday for this.....but we are all humans and if we are in pain its just as important to deal with it as best we can, work through it, process it and let it go.....
Here's my top tips on how to navigate pain without relapsing, fixing ourselves on bad shit, hiding away or giving up on life;
This too shall pass, you may want to punch me right now for saying this but its true time heals everything. Sometimes quickly sometimes slowly but pain will lessen
Try and see the truth in the situation, sometimes when we feel scared and alone we are not, there are always people who've been where you are.
Don't beat yourself up, we are human, humans are flawed we make mistakes, big ones small ones, mostly without even meaning to. Loving yourself and being kind to yourself is so important right now, put yourself first, unless you have kids, then put them first and that will boost your self esteem.
Meditate and sit with the pain, its tempting to be busy and keep running around insanely...this is fixing, this will come back to bite you on the ass, I've learnt this the hard way.
Exercise, move, this releases endorphins but don't set yourself some insane challenge to prove something to people, I too have learnt this the hard way, take it easy, yoga, jogging, walking the dog....nature is a great healer.
Talk, talk, talk instead of think, think, think, to friends, family, don't stew your head will tell you lies...your friends, family, professionals, doctors will tell you the truth.
Eat healthy so you can heal, but also eat ice cream...in front of netflix or a good book...something to engage in.
Write in a journal, be brutally honest on how your days been, then you can look back and you will see the improvement, of course there will be good days and bad days but the bad days will be get less.
Self care, don't be unkind to yourself, right now I feel useless, unable to achieve anything, a failure, unsure of any decision I make, am I good at this? can I do that? why did I even think I can do this you've cocked up again Clare! again this isn't the truth, in the journal write 5 things you've achieved that day? There will always be more.
Say no....if you need to say no to invites, extra work then do, its not a competition and the more you put the work in now the quicker you will see results.
Help others, find a friend who needs you, reach out to someone worse of than you, be a friend a good one, and try doing kind acts that people won't find out about.
Get up, shower, put your lippy on, these things feel hard when you're struggling but 'acting positively' is a powerful tool, hiding in bed is not the answer.
Book something exciting, a holiday? a spa? girls night? spend time with people who love and care about you.
All these things seem hard in times of struggles, but one day you will look back and realise you did it! and you will be stronger, painful times are when we are growing, its how we become more empathetic, better parents, better understanding human beings.
If anyone is out there struggling please reach out to me or a friend and remember the answer does not lie at the bottom of a bottle....