When confronted with disappointments, it’s easy for me to get discouraged and want to stop trying. The addict inside tells me to give up and go back to my old ways. Self-centered fears come in like a tidal wave of despair. It’s the old, “I’ll show you by hurting me.” When an addict is in this “triggered” state, three things hold true:
- My thoughts are irrational.
- My feelings are unmanageable.
- My behavior is self-defeating.
Notice how each item begins with “my.” I think this is just one of many examples of how selfish a disease addiction is. It only thinks of itself. It cares for no one or nothing other than itself.
I’ve heard many addicts at NA meetings say that their disease wants them either dead or in handcuffs. This isn’t much of a choice. There are only two options, and neither of them appeals to me.
Recovery on the other hand, offers endless options—all of them good. Recovery, as opposed to addiction, wants freedom for you. It wants you to experience all the good things in the wide world. It leaves no room for the chains of active addiction. It offers fulfillment.
So how do we get out of a slump when faced with disappointment? How do we quiet the selfish addict inside? Many of us have developed healthy coping skills that keep us from staying in a triggered state. But what about the person new to recovery? Six items that can help are as follows:
- Acknowledge to yourself that you’re triggered.
- Breathe! Deep slow breathing is an easy way to enter a meditative state.
- Start positive self-talk. Tell yourself that it’s your internal addict making you feel this way.
- Call someone and talk it through. Acknowledge your emotions and explore them.
- Use natural mood elevators such as watching a favorite comedy or exercising.
Disappointments are always going to come our way. This is inevitable. They don’t have to defeat us though. Even in these troubled times, there’s still a lot of joy to be had out there. Each of us deserves a piece of it.