As you might expect, in the wake of COVID-19 sober livings have diligently adapted their services to support their community, which can range from in-house clients, after-care clients, and alumni to staff. If you’re completely new to sober livings, feel free to peruse past articles that explore what to expect at a sober living, as well as other options for transitional living if sober livings don’t feel like the right fit for you. While everyone is urged to take precautions in maintaining physical distance amongst themselves at a sober living, I also encourage residents to think about the ways in which this pandemic is offering the opportunity to engage with other kinds of space, namely one’s internal space or bandwidth. Much has been said about how […]
The recent Netflix series Feel Good explores the protagonist Mae’s journey of recovery from substance use disorder as she navigates a new romantic relationship. In one scene at a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, one of the supporting characters tells Mae that substances and behaviors are often used for pain relief but why is it that the pain is there in the first place? This moment stuck with me as I thought about shame as a primary reason for why I am prone to addictiveness.
As discussed in last month’s article, much is at stake when shame is not addressed in recovery. Once internalized, it functions the way an addictive chemical might. It can fester to the point where it derails one’s progress no matter how much time they […]
Reading John Bradshaw’s Healing the Shame That Binds You (originally published in 1988), feels at once like a hug and a punch. Shame is at the core of addiction and “addictiveness.” It can be deeply entrenched in the psyche in ways that may not be obvious to you and explains why one chooses to turn to addictive substances and compulsive behaviors in the first place. Though I’m grateful to have found it now, it’s a book I could have used in early recovery to demystify the indescribable discomfort I felt when I put alcohol and drugs down. The discomfort makes so much sense in hindsight.
Bradshaw outlines the effect of shame, one of which is its destructive co-occurrence with addiction (they both fuel each other in a vicious cycle). An oft-misunderstood […]
I’ve fallen into many nutrition rabbit holes over the last decade, seduced by promises regarding certain foods and manners of (not) eating. When I think about the precious bandwidth spent on these trends, I’m exasperated. A disordered relationship with food began before I ever picked up a drink or drug, but I didn’t get sober to transfer that addictive and compulsive energy back towards food. When I think of all the other things I could have focused on, it’s upsetting but every compulsion, addiction, and obsession serves a purpose and, for me, is rooted in early childhood trauma. Being in recovery from multiple substances and behaviors reminds me this journey is not linear and that it’s never too late to reclaim my energy around food so I can be truly present in my life.
Far from a nihilistic cry, my suggestion to embrace nothingness–specifically of being and of activity level–is borne out of frustration from trying too hard for too long, both before and in recovery. I needed to be someone and to prove some things. Sitting with my own insignificance is both terrifying and freeing, joyous and upsetting. The global pandemic in conjunction with increased attention to systemic racial violence towards Black Americans has further propelled me to take a seat. The former is an unprecedented experience for those alive today and the latter is what we have, unfortunately, come to know too often. This climate vaguely reminds me of moving through the sludgy trenches of active addiction and moving into the scary new terrain of sobriety, which brings its own drawers of highs, lows, […]
In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic requires those of us in recovery from substance use disorder to stay especially vigilant about our boundaries around our sobriety as well as our changing relationships to ourselves, others, and our physical surroundings. A call to strengthen recovery boundaries may sound like a paradox in a time where restrictions are aplenty, but restrictions denote a sense of deprivation whereas holding and maintaining boundaries — another important addition for your sober toolbox in a pandemic — can usher in a sense of space, abundance, and spiritual growth towards your recovery.
Definition of a Boundary
Boundaries aren’t walls. They are non-negotiable feelings, thoughts, needs and preferences that are unique to you explaining what you will or will not do, accept, or tolerate. Boundaries demonstrate where we end and someone else […]
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