Welcome Recovery Friends, Warriors, and Visitors,
I will start by announcing my mentor and amazing friend and author Marilyn Fowler I found out has passed. Marilyn was a beautiful soul and caring. She had worked for many years as a licensed therapist in one of the Jacksonville, FL prisons and always enjoyed blogging all her advice and wisdom here on WordPress. So I will lead with a helpful blog post she had written all about how to eliminate stress even in uncertain times like these.
I am sorry that I have not been recovery blogging as often as I should these days. So strange that right during the month March as I celebrated and blogging to Raise Awareness of Problem Gambling all that month and then, BAM!! We began seeing the Coronavirus spreading all over the country, and before you know it, people are getting laid off from their jobs and then? The government places an order for EVERYONE to STAY HOME and SAVE LIVES!
Now, this seems odd to me as we also have a drug epidemic happening in this country as well, and many, many DEATHS it and from all addictions. BUT? I guess it is not as urgent or important enough since people can’t get it or catch a DRUG ADDICTION or GIVE IT TO OTHERS…
Kind of makes you scratch your and wonder where are our government and the society we live in today and where their priorities are set?
Well, that is a question and topic for another post for another day. I wanted to share some recovery inspiration since we are all sailing in the same BOAT of “STAY AT HOME” and you might be looking for something different to read. Since the landscape of recovery and how we maintain it has become so different and some have become more stressful since recovery now has gone online and virtual for just about all of us as with treatment, therapy, AA, GA, NA group meetings, and just about everyone is doing recovery virtually!
Even Rick Warren’s “Celebrate Recovery” has been doing theirs on Facebook through many FB LIVE Videos By now we are all sick of feeling stressed out solving problems, one after another due to this pandemic and being sheltered in place for weeks and I know what to do with stress, how to manage it, or even eliminate it. Here is how by Ms. Marilyn Fowler may she rest in peace…
Staying Sane In Stressful Situations.
I’ve heard that problems come in threes, and I recently had my three. First I was ready to copy an important paper, but my printer was out of ink. Okay. Get more ink. But I forgot how to insert a new ink cartridge. So I got out the manual, studied, and did it right. That wasn’t so hard after all.
Then feeling smug about my first ordeal, the second one appeared. My land phone had been giving me less and less time to talk before it beeped and then cut me off. Finally, it just died. I know about people, but I’m a dummy with mechanical stuff, so I got out the manual. Manuals are so smart. They know everything. Well, I learned that phones need new batteries. Duh. So I got a new battery and solved that problem.
Then my third challenge came when my A/C wasn’t putting out cold air. Now that was really out of my league, and I couldn’t remember if I ever had a manual to solve that one. I figured a repair person wouldn’t need a manual, but they can be expensive. However, sweat running down my back convinced me there was no other way. So I called a brilliant repair person, then sat under the cool air reassuring myself that it was worth every penny.
By now I was sick of feeling stressed out solving problems, one after another. I know what to do with stress, how to manage it, or even eliminate it, but that’s hard to do when you’re in the midst of a crisis. I realize those weren’t big crises, but don’t they seem like giants when you’re confronted with them, especially when you’re one manual short? I envy people who can keep their sanity even when vultures are descending to eat their young. We could take a lesson from them. The people, not the vultures.
So now I’m retrieving my little Mental Stress Manual to remind me to pay attention the next time stress attacks me. I’ve been through some biggies in my life. Handled some well, some not so well. And if you ignore stress or don’t know it’s there, it can really do a number on you. You just gotta be prepared.
So here’s how my little Mental Stress Manual says to handle stress in any situation. You have to catch the stress before it gets full-blown because full-blown is too late. Right before you feel the stress, you’ll feel a very subtle knot in your stomach. Sometimes a knot in your belly is from something you ate, but with stress, it can come from something you’re thinking about. On the outside, it can come from another person and/or situation. And it depends upon how you’re responding.
Do you feel capable to handle whatever’s happening? Or are you caught up in pangs of concern over the happening? If it’s the latter, and you feel that knot, you better get busy with your stress obliteration technique. It’s a monster if you let it get out of hand. And it’s a lot more difficult to solve a problem when you’re stressed out. You can begin with a few deep breaths to get you on the right track.
“One of the best lessons you can learn in life is to master how to remain calm.” ~Catherine Pulsifer
1. Identify the beginning of stress (the knot) and talk to it.
“Hello. I know you well, and I want you to know that I’m not at all afraid of you. I decree that no matter what you do, you have no power over me. You’re no more than a fly on a horse’s rump. And I’m the horse. I have the power to handle any situation in a calm, peaceful way, which I intend to do. So you might as well leave now.”
2. Whether the situation is internal or external, picture an image of something that represents peace to you. ie A dove, a white aura, angels, balloons floating in the air, a beautiful sunrise, whatever has meaning for you. And associate with that peaceful feeling as the stress loses its power, or better yet, doesn’t even materialize.
3. Express gratitude. No matter what the result, express gratitude.
The more you do this, the more effective it becomes. And if you forget, like I did, you can even create your own Mental Stress Manual and start over. Stress can be a stubborn critter, but you can be stubborn-er, and turn it off. And you become stronger with each experience. “I wish you peaceful encounters in your life.”
Now here are some things that can help you maintain recovery since most have gone online and virtual!
Some have been able to adapt quickly by moving online for support and treatment. But for those who lack internet access or have trouble using technology, isolation poses additional challenges.
As the spread of coronavirus pulls people physically apart, making connections becomes harder. Meanwhile, with anxiety over the pandemic growing. For people like me in the mental health and addiction communities are wrestling with ways to stay connected without spreading the virus. The isolating for me has had me triggered a bit, and even after maintaining recovery for over 13+yrs.
So, I am doing Gamblers Anonymous meetings at least twice a week online. There are several places to attend groups or meetings for AA, GA, and NA meetings. Even the popular faith-based “Celebrate Recovery” I enjoyed is now doing more group sessions online by Facebook Live, Zoom, and other online services. Just visit AA, GA, NA websites as all have some form of online meetings and connecting with others available. Visit each site for details and schedule.
‘Celebrate Recovery’- https://www.celebraterecovery.com/crcr/zoom
You may also visit many Recovery Blogs and websites to read articles and posts like my Bet Free Recovery Now. Check out my resources page. https://betfreerecoverynow.wordpress.com/
Another way to help yourself while being isolated and “stay At Home” is to begin journaling. Especially now with how we had our recovery lives turned upside down in an instant and looking for new ways to stay connected. Making phone support calls to check on friends also maintaining recovery is another way to stay in contact and of course, with staying in contact with your sponsor or sponsees. Check out the many recovery groups as well on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Regardless of how this pandemic plays out, we need to keep our recovery path moving forward. And yes, life is short when we look around and see where we are today compared to just a month or so ago. My personal feeling is our ‘Higher Power’ has given a RESET into what is most important in your life. Addiction is not one of them. It also tells me that there is a real ‘Higher Power’ or in my case, a real God. I will close by saying be safe, help save lives by staying home, and rework your recovery to shift with these changing times and challenges because?
“You Are Worth It!!” ~Advocate, Catherine Lyon