Addiction is very stressful. Whether you are the one in active addiction, or watching a loved one go through it. Addiction is a disease. A family disease. I have been on both sides of the fence when it comes to coping with stress from addiction. I grew up in an alcoholic home and I also was in active addiction for 14 years.
Now at age 48 and almost 24 years clean and sober. I would like to share with you the stress I went through and how I coped with it. If you’re reading this, chances are you have been effected one way or the other. It is possible to cope with stress from addiction and here’s how.
Product of Your Enviroment
We either grow up resenting how we were raised and make a conscious choice not to follow in the same footsteps as our parents. Or we subconsciously choose a path that mirrors the one we grew up watching. In my case for 14 years I was in active addiction with drugs and alcohol. I was definitely out of control and my life was unmanageable.
When, we realize what path we are on, I think it’s important to look for change, a better way of life, instead of being a victim of our own circumstance. A product of our environment is not a product of who we are destined to become.
Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired
Sometimes we all get to a point in our lives were we had enough. Were something is just not working anymore. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. For me I had to walk through the fire to finally realize that addiction wasn’t dealing with my problems, only my symptoms.
This can also be true if you are not even the one using or drinking. My mother who was my biggest enabler became tired of the repetitive, insane behavior and said and I quote “The gig is up”
I want to share with you not only how I was able to create a better life for myself, but also become a stronger person both spiritually and emotionally. Here’s how I did it.
Awareness Is The First Step
Not everybody has to walk through the fire, but sometimes we figure out the solution by living in the problem. When we are aware of the problem, we can start living in the solution.
Awareness is the key. We can’t change if we don’t know what’s wrong. We have to be honest and open-minded in order to become aware. If you are not honest with yourself then you’ll continue to justify your stress and rationalize your behavior.
If you are stressing over a loved one it’s important to realize that addiction is a disease and there not a bad person just a sick person. Make sure you know that this is not your fault. Addiction is not prejudice. Addiction is a choice, a learned behavior. I was a product of my environment but I still made a conscious choice to pick up
Time To Take Action
Ok so we realize that our life has become unmanageable, so now its time to try something new. Nothing has worked in the past, so it’s time to change everything around us. The people we hang out with, the places we go. Time to try knew things. There’s a policy I lived by in the very beginning. Try a knew way of life for six months and at the end of it, if you’re still not happy we’ll gladly refund your misery.
As a loved one remember to be supportive but never enable the person you’re trying to help. This can be stressful at times. I know its hard to watch someone you love suffer, but sometimes they need this in order to get better. It’s tough love. So love them the right way. Don’t love them to death.
One Day At A Time
Just like addiction, we have to take stress one day at a time, one moment at a time. Stress is a direct result of what’s happening around us. Things we can’t change. The only thing we can change is the way we react to it. This happens to be the pivotal factor in coping with stress. When we can’t change it then we have to accept it. We don’t have to agree with it, we don’t have to like it, but we have to accept it.
Happiness is an inside job. So as long as were not getting caught up in what we can’t change, Then we can start to gain confidence and have the courage to change the things we can.
Having a support system, or someone to talk to on a regular basis is very important. I never expressed my feeling and as a result I buried them until the pain was so great I had to self medicate. Talking about your feelings is one of the most effective ways of coping with stress. Discussing your problems with someone who has been through what you have can be very liberating and validating.
No Stress From Addiction
Once you are clean from what ever your drug of choice was. Alcohol, drugs, food e.t.c. The stress goes away because you no longer have active addiction and all the stress that comes with it. Sure we are always faced with a new set of problems but that what makes us stronger. Have you ever been through something so bad and came out the other side with more courage and wisdom?
My mother was a big part in my recovery. It was Nov 14,1996 at 7:45 pm when I knew my gig was up. I was done, I was suffering to long in active addiction. I knew I had a long road ahead but it was exciting. My mother who had stopped enabling me six months prior to this spiritual awaking was a direct result of me facing some hard times. This is tough love. It was what helped me get clean and sober.
Stress is a choice, or reaction we have to something. If we can learn to be conscious or aware of our state of mind, then we have a much better chance to respond instead of react. That my friends is going to bring our stress way down!!