The importance of having a daily routine

May 4, 2012

As promised, this post is about the first tip to enhance recovery: having a regular daily routine. While it is important that we do not become rigid, it is important to become balanced in keeping to a daily schedule. Have you ever noticed when there is a break in your schedule, such as when you have to travel for business, have houseguests for a week or longer, or are ill and have to stay in bed, that something within doesn’t feel quite right? I’ve heard many people say and have said so myself, “I’m ready to get back to my regular routine.” This is because we feel safer having boundaries.

In sex addiction, the brain has been hijacked–i.e. brain chemistry has been altered by the addiction. And the addiction will take any opportunity to step in and offer to fill any unplanned time with acting out behavior. Therefore, it is important to have a plan–for when one is going to be alone, for any unplanned time, for travel, and the opposite extreme-when one has to work on any tedious task for an extended period of time. The reasons for this are as follows:

1) Alone: gives the addiction a chance to think it can be sneaky and do whatever it wants (to your detriment.)

2) Time on one’s hands: The addiction can always offer some acting out behavior for you to do.

3) Travel: The opportunities are varied for the addict to find ways in which to violate your recovery plan.

4) Too much work without a break: The addict tells you you need a break to act out-giving you a sense of entitlement.

The remedy: 1) Plan some healthy recovery activity when you know you are going to be alone such as calling friends, exercise, journalling, getting outside in nature, something you enjoy to keep you busy–even getting extra rest.

2) Make sure you plan for some healthy recovery activity during times when you don’t HAVE to work. See #1.

3) Have a complete travel plan/itinerary and an accountability partner to call and with whom to check in. Find meetings in the other city.

4) Be gentle in caring for yourself when doing any tedious task–breaking up the work with frequent breaks to get a drink of water, or snack, or resting. This is especially important if your work involves the computer.

*Please note that the term “the addict” is not referring to YOU as a whole person who is precious and has integrity. The addict is the disease of addiction and the reason you are in recovery is to heal from the addiction that is preventing you from living your life fully.*

 

Tips for Enhancing Recovery

April 27, 2012

In the addictive culture in which we live, it is difficult to get and keep the balance we need to stay focused on our recovery. I want to offer some tips in the next few blogs to assist in doing this. When we first find out we have a compulsive behavior that we can’t stop or that we are partnered with someone who has a sex addiction, life seems absolutely overwhelming, to say the least. It is as if you are looking out from within yourself at the whole world going by and no one understands the hell you are experiencing. It helps to have a checklist of activities to do and those to avoid. Later, I will cover details of each one. But, for now, here goes:

  • Have a regular routine every day–from the time you get up and go to bed, to the times you eat. Sometimes this is hard to do, with work and family schedules, but try to do the best you can.
  • Go to 12 step meetings and/or attend support groups.
  • Make phone calls. (Yes, I know all the excuses, but do it anyway)
  • WRITE a doable to-do list.
  • Include in your list a time for yourself to pray/read inspirational literature/meditate/journal/BE, even if for only 15 minutes.
  • Make a gratitude list daily. Studies have shown this strengthens the body’s immune system!
  • If you feel overwhelmed or simply unable to function, call a qualified therapist who specializes in sex addiction or complex PTSD. Never be afraid to ask for help. You are worth it.
  • Know that this feeling will not last forever–yes, the nightmare WILL be over.
  • Avoid reading or watching the news, especially just before bed, as this is the time for your body to repair itself.
  • Make yourself practice self-care: eating nutritiously, regular exercise, doctor appointments.
  • Avoid negative people and confrontations–learn to have a loving relationship with Self.
  • Walk through the fear.
  • If you slip or are tempted, use your recovery tools and forgive yourself.

In weeks to come, I will comment on each of these points in more detail. Please feel free to email or call me with questions or comments.

Enod