Staying grounded in recovery
What exactly is being “grounded”? It could have a variety of different meanings depending on the person. Here is what I believe to be the general definition of being “grounded” in my recovery:
The ability to keep focused in the present moment instead of worrying about the future or the past. For me, it is also being able to keep calm even in the middle of chaos.
Staying grounded is not an easy thing for me. See, I am a highly sensitive, extremely empathetic person. This causes me to react almost impulsively to even the slightest change in emotions. By staying grounded, I am able to control my thoughts and lasso them back into the present moment, therein removing the anxiety and stress that comes around living in the past or the future.
When I am not grounded I find myself doing the following things
- Worrying about what other people think of me
- Spending a lot of my time feeling guilty about past actions or decisions
- Projecting thoughts into future scenarios taking me away from the present
- Having more bad moments than good ones
- Letting one moment ruin my whole day
Are you finding yourself doing any of the above? Or maybe you are just feeling *off* in your addiction recovery lately. Here are things I have found are helpful in getting out of that “funk”.
1. Find some alone time
When I first stepped foot into recovery I could not be alone. I was a full fledged insomniac who could go 3-4 days without sleeping more than a 20 minute cat nap with one eye partially open. Reason being that I hated being alone with my own thoughts. If I kept myself constantly busy and not alone I could run away from the things I wanted to continue to run away from; even in recovery.
Today, alone time is a gift that I LOVE.
Take time away from others to gain perspective. Coffee dates with yourself or a walk in nature can help. So can keeping a journal. The point is: self-reflection is a part of recovery. Get away from people and look inside. You’ll grow as a result.
2. Be honest
I have found that if I am honest with everyone I encounter, my life is a hell of a lot easier. How hard was it when we were actively using to keep our stories straight 100% of the time? It was exhausting being that many people at once.
Further, you do not need everyone to like you. If you keep your side of the street clean and continue to do the next right thing, you do not have to filter what comes out of your mouth and to whom because your story is always the same.
3. Stay connected to like minded people
Have you ever tried to explain the pain of a headache to someone who has never had a headache in their life? It’s like trying to explain the pain of labor to any man ever.
Staying connected to people who have felt even a tiny ounce of your pain will bring the empathy and compassion you need to overcome hard times.
4. Play the tapes back
Sometimes, we get into really dark places in recovery where indulging in our urges to use drugs is almost an option. If you have the ability to realize you have done that before and the outcome was never as sweet as the initial euphoria, you are well on your way to having a healthy relationship with drugs and alcohol where you do not have to fear it any longer… rather, respect the power that it has.
I. Hate. Exercising. My whole childhood I was an athlete. I hated exercising even then. The only reason I did it was because I liked the results I got (e.g. winning competitions) and I knew it was a healthy way to relieve stress.
Today, I still run. However, my running shoes are 1000 lbs every single time I put them on. But keep this in mind:
It takes 21 days to create a habit. If you can force yourself to put those running shoes on for 21 days in a row (minus off days) or if you can force yourself to NOT smoke for 21 days in a row… you have a good shot at making this a long-term habit.
*Note: this is true for both healthy and unhealthy habits. If you choose to make an unhealthy choice for 21 days in a row, you are susceptible for that choice to morph into a habit. So be careful what you indulge and over indulge in.
Staying grounded in addiction recovery is essential
Staying grounded in recovery is not a luxury for me… it is a necessity. I have to work hard every day to remain in the current moment and not stress myself out over things that don’t matter TODAY.
Remember, these are not easy steps to take… and you should be kind on yourself even if you find yourself spending time in your own head worrying about the past or the future. The key to these steps is being aware of them and doing your best to implement them in your daily routine.
Have any questions or any tips you would add to this list? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Maybe you have something to add to the list when you are not feeling grounded? The more information we can get into the conversation the more people we can help – together we can.