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6 Things You Need to Know If You Love a Recovering Alcoholic

6 Things You Need to Know If You Love a Recovering Alcoholic

Fighting addiction is a long and arduous process. Not only does it take courage to admit to being an addict, but taking the first step toward recovery is just as difficult. First of all, the addict himself needs to have both the need and will to go through it. Then, the loved ones need to do the same. Having each other’s support is highly important during a recovery.

Unfortunately, alcoholism is nothing new to the world, and each year we have statistics showing which country has the heaviest drinkers. More than 3 million annual deaths are related to alcohol consummation. This translates to 5.9% of all deaths, according to WHO (World Health Organisation). Moreover, people don’t just die from drinking too much alcohol, e.g. as a result of liver failure, but also from accidents cause by their impaired mental capacities, e.g. large number of car accidents, fires, or falls. Evidently, these statistics paint a very dark picture.

Nevertheless, even though alcoholics face many serious issues, they can still get out of the gutter. With a little bit of help from support groups, and friends and family, they could become healthy again. So, long as they are willing, a second chance could be around the corner. And if you are close to a recovering alcoholic, whether it’s a friendship or a love relationship, you need to understand how to deal with the situation. Here are some of the major things to know.

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1. Some problems can linger on even after the drinking stops.

As mentioned in the introduction, fighting any addiction is a process. Even though they have decided to give up alcohol, new problems could arise during the recovery process. These may or may not be related to wanting to drink again. For example, social communication could be a problem for the recovering alcoholic, and things like being unable to concentrate or be attentive. Additionally, sleep problems could occur, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, which in turn may lead to more serious issues.

All of these are possible and totally normal. It is important to know that nothing can be, nor should be, done by force. You should have patience and help them gradually crawl back into a normal routine. Moreover, you can always seek help from a professional such as a therapist.

2. Relapse can happen in moments of weakness.

This is one of the things you need to be on the alert for. The worst thing that could happen is for the recovering alcoholic to go back to his old habits. However, there are a few signs to pay attention to in order to prevent a relapse. A sudden change in behavior, such as aggressiveness or seclusion, could be first signs of giving up.

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Also, if your partner starts hanging out with the wrong crowd, once again, you should take extreme action and put a stop to it. But try and approach them in a calm manner. Any judgment or rash movement could scare them and push them away even further. You could also suggest going to an AA meeting or spending more time with their sponsor. If you are really scared or have major doubts, you can always make them take a drug test, to be sure they haven’t relapsed.

3. They will sometimes use their condition as leverage.

They will be fragile and prone to moments of sadness or depression, from time to time. They will likely use their condition to manipulate you. The important thing here is not to fall for their tricks.

They might say they are unable to do something because they are having a hard time. Or perhaps, blackmail you into giving them something because of the hardship their recovery carries. Either way, do not accept this and be strong. You will probably feel sorry for them, but you should actually push back and defy them.

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4. Love and support aren’t enough—you need to seek out professional help.

When times get rough, and when you cannot handle the situation by yourself, reach out to someone. Maybe talking to a friend or consulting with a therapist could help you relieve the excess stress. Perhaps, going to AA meetings regularly could get you through the rough patch. And you could attend those meetings together.

This would give you a different perspective on how your loved one really feels, and what are the issues at hand. In the end, you could have a couple’s therapy, if the problem is in your romantic relationship. All in all, do anything you can to help both of you.

5. Pulling them away from a bad environment may seem like you are suffocating them.

As said, you need to go above and beyond while supporting your partner. They could become weak and succumb to a temptation, such as hang around people with bad influence or bars—actually, any place that could trigger them. You shouldn’t be too hard on them in your quest of helping.

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Maybe you should keep them away from these conditions in the beginning, but as they progress, you could start involving them in social events like going out to clubs or having a drink in front of them. Be careful to do this step by step; it will be hard for them, for sure, but it is a necessity that cannot be avoided.

6. They are not the only ones who need support and understanding.

The same way your loved one needs help during this period, you will need it, too. Helping someone overcome an addiction is a demanding task, both physically and mentally. The first thing you will need to do is educate yourself on alcoholism and its consequences, as well as how to help an addict. What is more, you need to stay active all the way through the process.

Nevertheless, if you start feeling exhausted or lonely, misunderstood—ask for help. There are various support groups for friends and families of recovering alcoholics. Being in touch with people who are in the same position as you could be of great benefit. Not only will you get encouragement, but you will also be able to express yourself and your concerns along the way.

Although things can get quite difficult, it’s important to remember why you love that person and understand that he or she is going through the most difficult time of their lives. However, you should also set boundaries and find some support for yourself as well. Be strong, and take things one tiny step at a time.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on October 14, 2020

Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

Had a Bad Day? 7 Ways to Rebound From It and Feel Good Again

Today didn’t turn out as you planned, but it doesn’t mean you’re weak. It simply means that you’re human, and you’re not bad just because you had a bad day.

“Not everyday is a good day but there is something good in every day.” -Alice Morse Earle

It’s not the end of the world when you find yourself thinking “I had a bad day,” but it can feel like it. You may have had plans that fell apart, experiences that set you back, and interactions that only did harm.

You may have started the day thinking you could take on it all, only to find you could hardly get out of bed. When you have a bad day, you can forget to look at the good.

Sometimes, self-care helps us to remember why we are worth it. It helps us to recharge and reset our mindset. It helps us to know that there are still options and that the day isn’t over yet.

Love yourself today, no matter how hard it’s been. That’s the way to find yourself amidst the hardships you have. That’s how you center yourself and regain focus and live a more meaningful life. Give yourself some credit and compassion.

Here are 7 ways to rebound from a bad day using self-compassion as a tool. If you had a bad day, these are for you!

1. Make a Gratitude List

In a study on gratitude, psychologists Dr. Robert A Emmons and Dr. Michael E. McCullough conducted an experiment where one group of people wrote out gratitude lists for ten weeks while another group wrote about irritations. The study found that the group that wrote about gratitude reported more optimistic mindsets in their lives[1].

Overall, having a gratitude list improved well-being and made one truly grateful by counting the blessings in their lives.

Write a list of what you are grateful for if you had a bad day. Make it as long as you like, but also remember to note why you’re grateful for each thing you write.

What has given you the most joy? What has set you up for better days? Keep a tally of triumphs in mind, especially when you do have the bad days.

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The day doesn’t define you, and you still have things of value that surround you. These could be material things, spiritual connections and experiences, relationships, basic needs, emotional and mental well-being, physical health, progress towards hopes and dreams, or simply being alive.

Here are some other simple ways to practice gratitude.

2. Write in a Journal

Journaling affects your overall mental health, which also affects physical health and aids in the management of stress, depression, anxiety, and more[2].

All you need is a pen and paper, or you could do an online, password-protected journal such as Penzu. The key is to get started and not pressure yourself on how polished or perfect it is. You don’t need to have prior experience to start journal writing. Just start.

Write out everything that is bothering you for 15 minutes. This helps with rumination, processing problems, and can even aid with brainstorming solutions.

However you approach it, you can find patterns of thinking that no longer serve you and start to transform your overall mental state. This will impact all areas of your life and is a great coping skill.

3. Meditate

Meditation can help you overcome negative thought patterns, worrying about the future, dwelling on the past, or struggling to overcome a bad day[3]. It shifts your mentality and helps you focus on the present or any one thing you truly want to focus on.

Here is an example of a meditation you can do:

Get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Rest your body, release tension, and unclench your jaw. Tighten and release each muscle group in a body scan for progressive muscle relaxation.

Focus on your breath, taking a few deep breaths. Let your belly expand when you breathe in for diaphragmatic breathing. Empty yourself completely of air, then return to normal breathing.

Next, focus on the idea of self-love and let it erase negative thoughts. Think about the ways you’ve been judging yourself, with the narratives coming up that your mind may create.

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Give yourself unconditional love and release judgment. Take your time meditating on this because you matter. This is particularly important if you had a bad day.

Check out this article for more on how to get started with a meditation practice.

4. Do Child’s Pose

Yoga Outlet says:

“Child’s Pose is a simple way to calm your mind, slow your breath, and restore a feeling of peace and safety. Practicing the pose before bedtime can help to release the worries of the day. Practicing in the morning can you help transition from sleeping to waking.”[4]

When you do Child’s Pose, it can be between difficult positions in yoga, or it can be anytime you feel you need a rest. It helps you recover from difficulties and relax the mind.

It also has the physical health benefits of elongating your back, opening your hips, and helping with digestion[5].

To do Child’s Pose, rest your buttocks back on your feet, knees on the floor. Elongate your body over your knees with both arms extended or tucked back, with head and neck resting on the floor[6].

Had a bad day? Try Child's Pose.

     

    Do this pose as a gift to yourself. You are allowing yourself to heal, rest, get time for yourself, recover, and recharge. When you’ve had a bad day, it’s there waiting for you.

    5. Try Positive Self-Talk

    Engage in positive self-talk. This is essentially choosing your thoughts.

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    When you have a negative thought, such as “I can’t do this,” replace it consciously with the thought “I can do this.” Give yourself positive affirmations to help with this.

    Negative self-talk fits into four general categories: personalizing or blaming yourself, magnifying or only focusing on the negative, catastrophizing or expecting the worst to happen, and polarizing or only seeing back and white[7].

    When you stop blaming yourself for everything and start focusing on the positive, expecting things to work out, and seeing the areas of grey in life, you reverse these negative mindsets and engage in positive self-talk.

    When you speak words of kindness to yourself, your brain responds with a more positive attitude. That attitude will affect everything you do. It’s how you take care of yourself if you had a bad day.

    Check in with yourself to know when you are having negative self-talk. Are you seeing patterns? When did they start to become a problem? Are you able to turn these thoughts around?

    6. Use Coping Skills and Take a Break

    Use your coping skills. This means not letting your thoughts take control of yourself.

    You can distract yourself and escape a bit. Do things you love. You can exercise, listen to music, dance, volunteer or help someone, be in nature, or read a book.

    It isn’t about repression. It’s about redirection. You can’t stay in thoughts that are no longer working for you.

    Sometimes, it’s okay to get out of your own way. Give yourself a break from the things going on in your head. You can always come back to a problem later. This may even help you figure out the best course of action as sometimes stepping away is the only way to see the solution.

    If you had a bad day, you may not feel like addressing what went wrong. You may need a break, so take one.

    7. If a Bad Day Turns Into Bad Days

    “I believe depression is legitimate. But I also believe that if you don’t exercise, eat nutritious food, get sunlight, get enough sleep, consume positive material, surround yourself with support, then you aren’t giving yourself a fighting chance.” –Jim Carrey

    If you’ve been feeling out of control, depressed, or unstable for more than a few weeks, it’s time to call a mental health professional. This is not because you have failed in any way. It’s because you are human, and you simply need help.

    You may not be able to quickly rebound from a bad day, and that’s fine. Feel what you feel, but don’t let it consume you.

    When you talk to a professional, share the techniques that you have already tried here and whether they were helpful. They may tell you additional ideas or gain insights from your struggles of not being able to rebound from a series of bad days.

    If you’re having more than just a bad day, they will want to know. If you don’t have the answers, that’s okay, too. You just need to try these tools and figure out how you’re feeling. That’s all that’s required of you.

    Keep taking care of yourself. Any progress is progress, no matter how small. Give yourself a chance to get better by reaching out.

    Final Thoughts

    If you had a bad day, don’t let it stop you.

    Know this: It’s okay not to be okay. You have a right to feel what you feel. But there is something you can do about it.

    You can invest in yourself via self-care.

    You are not alone in this. Everyone has bad days from time to time. You just need to know that you are the positive things you tell yourself.

    More Things You Can Do If You Had a Bad Day

    Featured photo credit: Anthony Tran via unsplash.com

    Reference

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