This information is from a blog I found whatmesober.com
It’s important to remember these things.
It puts it in easy to understand terms,
and sets out a simple course of action.
“Recovery causes a great deal of stress. Many addicts and alcoholics never learn to manage stress without alcohol or drug use, or do so only after many attempts at sobriety. Our ability to deal with it depends on our willingness to take care of ourselves and maintain a healthy physical, emotional and spiritual lifestyle. Repairing the damage to our nervous systems usually requires from six months to two years with a healthy program of recovery. PAWS is the cause of most relapse in early recovery.”
Emotional overreaction or numbness
People with emotional problems in early sobriety tend to over-react. When this overreaction puts more stress on our nervous systems than we can handle, we react by “shutting down” our emotions. We become emotionally numb, unable to feel anything. We may swing from one mood to another. These mood swings may baffle us, seeming to come without any reason, and may even be misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder.
Difficulty managing stress is the most difficult part of post acute withdrawal, and of early recovery in general. Early on, we may not be able to distinguish between low and high stress situations, because for so many years we managed stress by using mood-altering substances.
Worst of all, the other PAWS symptoms become worse when we are under stress, and this causes the stress to increase! There is a direct relationship between elevated stress and the severity of PAWS. Each amplifies the other.
At times of low stress, the symptoms of post acute withdrawal may lessen or even go away completely. When we are well-rested, relaxed, eating properly and getting along well with others, we seem to be fine. It is easy to see how we can get careless at these times, and many a relapse has occurred when things seemed to be going just fine.
Get a reality check!
We need to ask someone if we are making sense — not just in what we’re saying, but also our behavior. We must be sure our perception of what is happening matches up with reality.
We are responsible for protecting ourselves from anything that threatens our sobriety, including anything that triggers post acute withdrawal symptoms. No one else can do it, because no one else can feel the warning signals. Learning about addictive disease, working a program of recovery, finding out more about PAWS—all of these things reduce the guilt, confusion and stress that intensify the symptoms and lead us to relapse. If we learn to do these things, we will begin to accept our own needs, and learn to be firm about letting other people, places and situations push us into reactions that threaten our sobriety.
We must identify our own stress triggers. Then we must learn to change them, avoid them, change our reactions, or interrupt the process before our lives get out of control again.
Balanced Living–the aim of recovery
Balanced living means that we are healthy physically and psychologically, and that we have healthy relationships with others and, more importantly, with ourselves. It means that we are spiritually whole. It means that we are no longer focused on just one aspect of our lives. That is no longer necessary. It means we are living responsibly, giving ourselves time for our jobs, our families, our friends, and time for our own growth and recovery. It means allowing a higher power to work in our lives, even if that is only the influence of people around us. With balanced living, we addicts and alcoholics give up immediate gratification as a lifestyle, in order to attain fulfilling and meaningful lives.
It means a balance between work and play, between fulfilling our responsibilities to other people and our own need for self-fulfillment. It means functioning at our optimum stress level: maintaining enough stress to keep us functioning in a healthy way, but not overloading ourselves so that it becomes a problem.
Stress, in and of itself, is not necessarily bad. It can be the tension that keeps life interesting. But stress is unsafe for us until our new found ways of dealing with it are second nature. Until then, when it arises we run the risk of returning to our old ways of stress management.
Balanced living requires loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves. Nutrition, rest and exercise all receive the proper focus in our lives to provide energy, manage stress, allow freedom from illness and pain, fight fatigue, and rebuild our damaged bodies.
Freedom from physical distress allows psychological growth. When we feel good, it is easier to do the work we need to do, eliminate denial, guilt and anger, and move on to self-confidence, self-esteem and learning to feel good about ourselves.
Balanced living requires a strong social network that nurtures us and encourages a healthy, recovery-oriented lifestyle. This network provides a sense of belonging. It includes relationships in which we are a valuable part of a whole: immediate family members, friends, relatives, co-workers, counselors, therapists, employers, 12-step group members, and sponsors.
Recovery is not about quitting alcohol and drugs. It is about learning to live a life that does not require mood-altering chemicals to be worth living.
I have forgotten the importance of having fun, making time to have fun in my life. I also added one too many things to my plate. I know where my focus needs to be now. I pushed myself beyond some limits. It’s ok if there are some things I am not ready for yet. If my reactions and how I handle situations, like school on top of everything else cause a complete meltdown for me, it’s time to re-evaluate things. Environment is important, balancing life is important, we must include the good things, the simple things. Sometimes we need to call a time out with others, and with ourselves and just get back to doing the basics to maintain a healthy sober life. The rest will come in time, perhaps when we are more equipped to handle it.
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