National Suicide Prevention:
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Who’s Handling Who?

Asking me to write about how I am handling stress in my life today begs the question, am I handling stress or is stress handling me? To best explain my ability to handle stress today, I must first recall how stress affected my every fiber whilst in the throes of addiction. A life in addiction is not serene, it is not calm, it is a hurricane of mental, emotional and physical reactions that are destructive and demeaning. In active addiction, stress definitely had the upper hand.

Before recovery life, stress handled me, rough and raw.  I just couldn’t seem to get ahead of the next punch.  I was still rolling around, metaphorically, from the last hit when another life stress hit.  A downhill spiral of emotion & reactions.  I was in such a low place.  My self-esteem was broken. I was using a substance to try to cope that wasn’t working but in fact was making matters worse.  My mind was so turbulent and mixed up that I couldn’t think straight.  I was reviewing every interaction with others repeatedly in my head. My mind was in a continuous loop like a broken record.  I was filled with feelings of doubt and fear.  I over analyzed every situation and believed doing the same thing would lead to a different result. 

Today my life is calm and serene.  Because of my positive self-esteem, I react to life positively.  Today I trust that I cannot control others, so I don’t even try. I accept that I am not the One in control.  I maintain boundaries with others that allow me to live in peace and harmony.  I speak kindly because I am filled with gratitude.  I am genuine because I do not hide nor lie.  Today I understand that life is a journey with highs and lows, surprises and predictions, and that my experience is directly proportionate to my well-being.  In other words, because I am emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically well, my life experiences are the same.  Life still throws out stressful punches, but I am fit to handle them without self-destructive reactions. 

Today I practice routines that strengthen me in every aspect to be able to handle the stresses of life.  I have learned to talk openly about situations that concern me.  I have learned to ask for help when I do not know what to say or do in a given situation.  I have learned the benefit of digging up the past and the value of acceptance, that yep, some bad things have happened in my life.   I meditate and pray daily.  This keeps me humble and right sized. Humility. Such a gift of recovery.  To be ok with who you are, your strengths and weaknesses, your accomplishments and mistakes.  This realization and staying ever present in it allows me to see others differently, without judgement.  Life in recovery has changed me and because I am changed, my relationships have changed.  Knowing with certainty that I am not running the show has simply changed everything.  Reliance on a power greater than me has given me a freedom I celebrate and cherish.  Today I prioritize self-care over everything.  I need rest, exercise, nutrition, others, and quiet in a balance to be my best version of me. This ensures that I am able to handle the stress punches that life most certainly will throw my way.    

This switch happened because I put the drink down and allowed others to help me.

Today my mind is healthier. My mind doesn’t race and my thoughts are clear.  This slower pace allows me to process situations rationally. Rational thoughts about self and of others gives me the ability to handle life stress. I have learned to forgive myself and I have accepted that addiction is a disease and was not my choice.

So today, in recovery life, I am handling life stress because I have support and a realistic perspective.

NCCDP program and its players have demonstrated the true essence of humanity.

By design, the program has guided and supported me along the way as I transitioned from the chaos and insanity of addiction into the peaceful life of recovery and freedom from addiction.

The NCCDP has resources readily available to those struggling.   They unselfishly share their experiences when they were in the depths of addiction and their wisdom of how they came through to a far better life in recovery.  They give hope that a serene respectable life is obtainable. 

Today, in a recovery life, I am handling life stress.  Life stress isn’t handling me.