Hi, Stephanie here – okay before I begin, I would just like to start by saying I don’t know you personally, and I really don’t know your situation – but if you have a drug or alcohol addiction, before deciding to quit, or deciding to cut down, it would definitely be wise to seek professional advice from your GP, or local drug and alcohol advice centre.
So, with that being said, does this feel like you? Are you feeling like a slave to your addictions right now?
Whatever the addiction is – whether you’re struggling with a gambling addiction, a food addiction such as comfort eating, or a drugs or alcohol addiction – are you just feeling sick and tired, of feeling sick and tired, and do you feel as though you’re stuck in a circle of chaos, and that no matter how much you try, you feel you just can never get out of it?
Well, here is what I want you to know – it is never the comfort eating, or the drugs and the alcohol that are the ‘real’ problem. The ‘real’ problem is what lies just underneath the surface– and that’s your reason to avoid reality, or the present moment. Whatever that reason is for you.
If this is you right now – I just want to ask you, where have you mainly been living – emotionally? What are your two main emotions? You see, I know when I ask a lot of my clients this question – it can vary, but predominantly I find people suffer mainly with these 2 feelings. The feelings of sadness and the feelings of anger.
The sadness and anger normally relate to traumatic events that may have happened in childhood – it could have been the loss of a loved one, sever emotional abuse from a parent, physical abuse, or historical childhood sexual abuse – or even being bullied consistently by a sibling, or being bullied at school – or it could be a traumatic event that happened to you as an Adult, such as being a victim of domestic violence, or a victim Narcissistic abuse.
I want you to imagine these two main emotions (whatever they are for you) but I am going to stick with sadness and anger right now. And I want you to imagine is a figure 8 laid on its side – I got this concept off Tony Robbins – and this is what he calls a Crazy 8.
If you get stuck in a Crazy 8 you will be going back and forth from sadness to anger within the Crazy 8. When you’re feeling sad, you may find your mind maybe going back to the past – but nobody can stay sad forever, even if you leave a baby to cry, eventually a baby will just stop – so once you have finished feeling sad, you will quickly swap over from feeling extreme sadness and emotionally crippling pain, to feeling very angry.
It may be that you’re angry with a specific person, you may be angry with yourself, or angry with a specific situation, or just plain angry at the world – or angry at all of these things. And you may find your anger not only scares others, but it also really scares you too. That can be such a frightening experience – to feel you have no control. I won’t go into too much depth here on the psychological side of things, but unconsciously there is a very specific reason that we get caught up in a Crazy 8 – and no matter how bizarre it may seem, every behaviour has an underlying positive intent – otherwise we just wouldn’t do it.
Having Counselling or Coaching might help you understand what that positive intent is for you as an individual. But back to the Crazy 8 – in order for us to escape our uncomfortable emotions most people come out of the Crazy 8 by coming ‘down’ out of it, and into our addiction of choice to escape the uncomfortable – and what seems like the uncontrollable feelings of sadness and anger.
But here is the thing, there is another way to come out of the Crazy 8, and that is by coming up and out. To come up and out, firstly we must realise when we are in the Crazy 8 – by catching ourselves in the sadness or the anger stage and immediately deciding to make a higher choice for ourselves (and we do this by looking to fill ourselves up emotionally with feel good emotions).
When we feel depressed what we most want is to shut ourselves off from the World, and everyone inside it. And yet, what we most need at this time is to actually connect with others. This may be something simple like talking to a friend that always lifts you up or talking to your support worker (if you have one) or even ringing a help line if need be.
If on the other hand, it’s the anger you find yourself in, instead of going down the path of your chosen addiction to get rid of this all-consuming and very scary emotion to come up and out of it you first have to notice you are back stuck in the Crazy 8.
You need to catch yourself there and put your foot firmly on the brake and decide to get off the emotional roller coaster that is keeping you a slave to your emotions. To do this acknowledge the thoughts you are having by writing your angry thoughts down on a piece of paper.
The important step is only take a couple of minutes to do this (just write a few bullet points, of all the things that are really getting at you – the key here is – you want to just write about the thoughts that make you angry – not park yourself permanently in your emotions) and then rip the paper you have wrote on, up into a hundred tiny shreds and throw it in the bin or flush the paper down the toilet.
You let the paper go physically, commit to also mentally letting go of the thoughts, start thinking what you can do right now to make a difference. That might be tidying your room so you can feel more at home and calmer and more relaxed. Brainstorm some ideas for yourself on what type of things you can do to make yourself feel really happy.
Some people like to get in touch with their wild side and play some really upbeat music and dance around their living room or think about what it is you can do to make a difference to others. Helping others, is not only good for others, but it also helps us to feel good about ourselves too.
Make your own emotional tool kit look at what it is you can do to distract yourself and keep yourself up and out of the Crazy 8. It could be something really simple like colouring, painting, reading, or writing – literally anything that distracts you and makes you feel good – this is how you urge surf.
YOU get to take control. You get to decide how you want to feel. You get to decide what it is you want to do. You get to decide who you want to be. And you get to be the captain of your ship and you get to control your thoughts and emotions, instead of them controlling you.
What’s super important is this – remember that the road to recovery isn’t a straight line for most people. If you happen to slip up and go back to your addiction that’s okay, just make sure you don’t beat yourself-up. Instead of beating yourself up, be kind to yourself, learn to forgive yourself.
Then brush yourself off and get back on your road you see the road looks more like a zig zag for most people with plenty of speed bumps along the way, before it becomes a straight line.
And here is the most important thing for you to know, if you are ready to quit your addiction, I just want to share with you what I think. I think you really are worthy of this, you really are loveable, and you really do deserve happiness, and you certainly are worth this, you are a good person, and I really believe in you.
And by the way, if you are wondering how counselling can help you with your addictions, it can potentially help you in quite a number of ways.
It can help you deal directly with the root cause of your addiction once and for all, if that’s what you want to do. You never have to talk about anything you are uncomfortable about.
It helps you to both find and overcome all the limiting beliefs you have had about yourself, that prevent you from living the fulfilling life that you truly deserve to live. That is your birth right.
It can provide you with tools and techniques to stop you from being highly critical of yourself, and help to stop you from overthinking, catastrophizing, or being paranoid.
It can also help you to control your anger. And lead you away from your depression.
And above all, it can help you to finally accept yourself, just as you are ‘the you’ you are right now, and also help you to identify, ‘the you’, you are becoming. And alongside that it can also help you to step into the footsteps of your ideal future self, right now, if that is what you choose to do. You get to decide – you always have full control over the sessions and what you chose to work on, as I believe strongly you are the one that knows what hurts and equally, you are the one that knows what heals. Because you my friend, are always the expert on you. 🙂