Recovery from Addictive & Harmful Behaviour - Nourishment and Self Care . Finding peace for self or helping others to find ways to recover...................................
Breaking addictive and harmful behaviour is most successful when clients acknowledge that underneath their behaviour are underlying feelings towards themselves that they may feel need resolving, these may need some time in therapy before they fully emerge but quite often they are masked with denial or justifications of the presented addictions i.e “ I just love to party for days – it’s the way I am” or “ I don’t know why I self – harm but it gives me some relief.” Or “ I don’t know why I use several dating sites while I am in a committed relationship.” The coping behaviours which are addictive, tend to change our brain chemistry and state of mind but give us short lived results which have a detrimental consequence on our health on many levels. In truth, the artificial gold is a quick relief as opposed to the inner richness and gold within, it is at a cost on physical, emotional , psychological and spiritual levels. Addictive, harmful behaviours also impact our loved ones, children and families, our friends and colleagues and can impact our finances, spouse , career and general enjoyment of day to day life.
Good news! Deep down there is a part of people that knows what is good for us ……
Breaking the chains ……
Once an addictive, harmful or unhelpful coping behaviour is stopped and this can take some will power, planning and resourcing, also prior preparation in therapy to stop initially – that is when the windows of exploration can open – once the addictive behaviour is refrained from i.e excessive habits, self - harm, excessive drinking, drugs, gambling, sexual compulsive behaviours or whatever mind altering addictive behaviour is being used ( smoking etc) then the underlying emotions can surface – what the addictive behaviour tends to do is defend against ‘feeling ‘ or experiencing something on some level . Underneath the addiction could be an emotional pain or angst , self- loathing, feeling inadequate, feeling not good enough, stress, fear, anxiety , panic, loneliness and many other factors to consider . Sometimes clients can be guarding against memories, flashbacks, lack of ability to sleep, depression and many other difficulties, maybe physical pains.
Listen to your wise self………..
Listen to the niggle or sense or what you should or shouldn’t do – there is a wise part of you that in quiet moments will drive you on a right path to recovery . Things will catch you that remind you not to keep on down this road – your child’s innocence, the love shown by someone, the sunrise or sunset. Don’t be alone on this journey, reach out to others for help and support. Learn to trust your intuition on finding the right therapist for you or support group. There is light at the end of the tunnel on this journey of recovery – I have seen many clients move from a place of concern and worry about the impact their behaviour is having on their health and their relationships to a place of self-worth, confidence, vitality and feeling happy with their new projects and goals.
Facing the truth ………..
As painful as it is , its better to look things in the eye and know what you want to change. It’s not comfortable facing vulnerability but it is the start of positive change. Ask what your beliefs are about yourself and your sense of worth? Ask if what I am doing is loving and nourishing to myself or the opposite? We need nourishment and love as humans in order to grow and be happy – ask how well do I nurture myself? What is my attitude to myself?
The Recovery and Healing Journey …………..
What qualities do I need to offer myself?
Do I need to allow myself to forgive myself or others, do I need self compassion? Do I need to allow my grief to process? Do I need space? Do I need comfort and love? Ask yourself what do I really need to make this recovery a success? Do I need support from friends or family?
What positive micro habits can I begin to slot into my daily life?
Small changes can make a massive difference…….
Relaxation, Mindfulness and using the breath to bring balance while processing emotions
Find something life enhancing you love to do i.e golf, drawing, music, cooking, gardening, reading, yoga – whatever you love that lifts you up and makes you feel good that is healthy for you .
Ask yourself – why and who am I recovering for ? Keep your Life Priorities at the fore front of your mind
Remember moving forward and personal growth is always positive and worthwhile, a slight dip or relapse is not a failure it s a learning journey up the spiral ! Be kind to yourself always .
Remember you can do this !
Reach out - Speak out - Get the support you need ! Don't feel alone........
Client Experience of recovery :
"I sought help after coming to terms with addiction. It was affecting my relationship, my motivation to do day-to-day chores and causing me stress. After being honest with myself and several chats with Lisa, week by week I came out of the rut I was in, found a focus (which was training) and kept myself busy. I found different things to do other than go to the pub in my spare time. I feel so positive and motivated now. The temptations slowly faded away the more I kept busy and stayed away from what became the 'norm' which was drinking alcohol and taking cocaine with it. I am now in a far better place mentally, my relationship and family are back together and I feel a family man again. I am still training in my spare time which I feel has been a substitute for the drinking and drug use. Lisa was so supportive throughout and I owe a big thank you to her for great advice and support. "
Lisa-Jayne Maltby is an Integrative & Humanistic Therapeutic Counsellor (MBACP & UKCP) who works in private practice and agency settings in Hampshire. She works with Young people, Parents and Individual Adults and has a background in School Counselling ( both private and secondary state schools ) in the UK and Internationally. Specialises in working with individuals experiencing Bereavement, transition and change, Post trauma work and a variety of emotional and psychological challenges, helping people for over 16 years.