Thursday, September 17, 2009

The "Work-In" - Emotional Recovery

by Ed Negron, a former drug user, turned gangbanger, turned drug dealer, turned own best customer, turned addict, turned recovering addict (still there), turned activist, turned business manager, turned student, turned Substance Abuse Counselor, turned better and happier person, turned someone who can love and be loved (Love you Patrick), turned blogger. Check out Ed's own blog here.

Featured Every Thursday on LifeLube (though he has been on va-k for awhile) --- check out all of Ed's "Work-In's" here.

When life gives us lemons it is not always easy to make lemonade. No matter how big and powerful you feel, at some point you will be down in the dumps. Emotional traumas happen to us all -- whether you’re going through a breakup, lost your job, or somebody close to you has died. When life experiences create unavoidable traumas we underestimate the impact they have on our health and behavior. We experience emotional and physical burnout, which is a feeling of hopelessness and fatigue affecting our motivation. Emotional burnout can increase your chances of illness. Stress, anxiety, loneliness, and frustration are some of the emotions and feelings that can have a negative impact on your overall health.

Some of us turn to self-medication through substances or processes such as food, drugs, sex, gambling, over-working, or becoming busy with chaotic unmanageability. Others withdraw and resort to sleeping too much or isolating. Some suffer untreated depression or other mental health illnesses leading to suicidal thoughts.

All of these problems can be resolved. Mainly, we need to allow ourselves to rest and recover without feeling guilty. You should give yourself a set period of time in which you can really feel bad about what happened to you. After that time, you can tell yourself to get off the pity pot; you’re no longer allowed self-pity, and you must move on.

Emotional recovery can be a slow road, but there are some things that can help speed it along so that you can move on with your life. Finding ways to relax, connecting with others, and finding enjoyment and balance in life are critical to emotional recovery and a healthy lifestyle.

Some tips for taking care of your emotional health:

•Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Adequate rest helps you feel better and think more clearly.

•Find 15 minutes in your day to quietly relax or meditate. Clear your mind and ease the tension in your body.

•Settle in with a good book or magazine for half an hour. Take your mind off family, work, or worry.

•Roll the dice, cut the cards, or break out a board game. Trade in some TV time for a game with family or friends.

•Write a friendly note, love letter, or chatty e-mail to someone you care about. Connecting with others improves your mood and lightens your worries.

•Keep a journal as a safe place to note your thoughts and count your blessings.

•Play a little. Take time for a hobby or explore a new interest.

•Sit quietly on the porch and watch a beautiful sunset.

It’s also a good idea to get medically checked, maybe attend counseling, improve your nutrition and even take supplements (vitamins) – ask you doctor first before taking any supplements.

Since we all know that life will have its ups and downs, we can avoid emotional burnouts by building resilience. People who are emotionally and mentally healthy have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good.

One of the key factors in resilience is the ability to balance your emotions. The capacity to recognize your emotions and express them appropriately helps you avoid getting stuck in depression, anxiety, or other negative mood states. Another key factor is having a strong support network. Having people you can turn to for encouragement and support will boost your resilience in tough times.

Building your resilience
Source: American Psychological Association

Resilience involves maintaining flexibility and balance in your life as you deal with stressful circumstances and traumatic events. This happens in several ways, including:

•Letting yourself experience strong emotions, as well as realizing when you may need to avoid experiencing them at times in order to continue functioning.

•Stepping forward and taking action to deal with your problems and meet the demands of daily living, as well as stepping back to rest and re-energize yourself.

•Spending time with loved ones to gain support and encouragement, as well as nurturing yourself.

•Relying on others, as well as relying on you.

It is important to remember through the worst of times that things will get better in time and that we will find the motivation to succeed again. One of my favorite sayings in 12 Step meetings is, “This to shall pass.”

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t forget that September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. The 2009 theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Learn, Together We Heal.” See what's happening near you

To read daily motivations visit my blog at or to receive daily motivations via email join our Google group Back To The Basics Please .

If you are not sure how to begin your work-in or need some guidance please feel free to post a comment or email me directly at, I will response as soon as I can.

(Usual disclaimer applies: The suggestions on this blog are just that “SUGGESTIONS.” My words cannot heal your pain and or addictions. Nor can I change your life. Only you can.)

“Every time you don't follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness." -- Shakti Gawain

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