A Beautiful Mess

A Sexual Abuse and Addiction Recovery Blog

Asking For Help ((Coping Skill))

“And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” -Erica Jong

It’s incredibly difficult to attempt recovery and life changes without a great support network and using them.  It’s okay to ask for help.  No one can do it alone.  Asking for help can make us stronger and more independent in the long run.  We should also prepare for people to tell us no.  Not everyone can help us all the time, but the point is, some people can and will.  If you find yourself struggling, keep a list of numbers of people who are there to listen and extend a helping hand.

Ask for help.  Ask for help.  Ask for help.  Even though it may be difficult, it’s necessary to find people who are supportive of you!

Prepare ahead of time for these moments.  Answer the first three questions prior to approaching the person for help and then answer the last question afterward.

  • Who will you talk to?
  • What will you say?
  • What do you predict will happen?
  • What happened in reality?

Me, personally, I am not big on asking for help.  It makes me feel so vulnerable.  But I know that I can not do this alone.  I know that it’s imperative that I create a new social world for myself with time.  They say that I must change the people, places and things.  All in due time and I am still diligent in changing my life.  One day at a time.

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Grounding ((Coping Skill))

The week’s quote was “No feeling is final.” Rainer Maria Rilke is a 20th-century German poet who was credited with this quote.  I love it.  Basically, to me, it means that with time all wounds can heal and the old adage of, “this, too, shall pass”.

What is Grounding?

Grounding is a simple set of strategies to detach from emotional pain (self harm impulses, anger, sadness, drug/alcohol cravings).  It works by focusing outward on the external world, rather than on what’s going on inside.  Other words or phrases used to describe this coping skill are: distraction, centering, a safe place, looking outward, or healthy detachment.

Why Do Grounding?

It helps when the emotions are too overwhelming to be dealt with at that particular moment.  It helps give control over feels and helps a person stay safe.

Guidelines regarding grounding:

  • Grounding can be done any time, any place, anywhere, and no one has to know.
  • Use grounding when you are faced with a trigger, enraged, dissociating, having a substance craving or whenever your emotional pain goes above 6 (on a 0-10 scale).  Grounding puts healthy distance between you and these negative feelings.
  • Keep your eyes OPEN, scan the room, and turn the light on to stay in touch with the present.
  • Rate your mood before and after grounding, to test whether it worked.  Before grounding, rate your level of emotional pain (0-10, where 10 means “extreme pain”).  The rerate it afterward.  Has it gone down?
  • No talking about negative feelings or journal writing – you want to distract away from negative feelings, not get in touch with them.
  • Stay neutral – avoid the judgment of good vs. bad.  Simply state the facts, like, “the walls are white”, “the floor is hard and cold”, “the lamp is silver”.
  • Focus on the present, not the past or future.
  • Note that grounding is different than a relaxation training.  Grounding is much more involved and focuses on distractions and is supposed to be used when extremely negative feelings arise.

Grounding is believed to be very effective for those with PTSD.

Ways of Grounding

  • Mental: focusing on mind
  • Physical: focusing on your senses
  • Soothing: talk to self in a very kind way

Examples of Mental

Describe environment in detail, describe an everyday activity in great detail, read something backwards (helps focus on the word(s) themselves and not the writing), count to ten or say the alphabet

Examples of Physical

Run cool or warm water over hands, grab tightly to a chair or railing, dig heels into the floor, jump up and down, stretch, eat something and describe it in detail, focus on breathing

Examples of Soothing

Tell yourself kind statements (You are a good person going through hard times.  You’ll get through this.), think of favorite colors, shows, etc., picture people you care about, remember an inspiring song/poem

Grounding works.  For my experience, I enjoy a mixture of all three depending on my mood and how intense it is.  For me, the soothing and physical work best when I’m really wound up, but the mental is good when it’s something that upsets me, but more on a scale of a 6 or 7.

Take from this what you will.  I am very thankful to have the resources available to me and I hope that someone somewhere may find these of good use to them.

Eyes on God.  Humbled.


Spectacular Weekend

I had an amazing weekend.  I spent time with “S” and it was really great to see her.  She just got out of jail and really seems to have her head screwed on a bit tighter.  I’m so proud of her.  She’s come a long way.  I felt a small victory in life, because at group last Thursday, I went to the survivor speak out and lit a candle to illuminate someone else’s journey.  Well, let’s just say “S” went to church with me on Sunday and it was great to renew baptismal promises.  “S” even spoke on God later that evening which was so amazing and touched my soul, because before that I’ve never really heard her embrace him.  So yay, plus one for the God team 😉

Not much of a manic Monday, more of a relaxing Monday 🙂  Going to blog on the topics from group the past two weeks.  I want to make sure that at least cookie crumbs of what I’m getting are reaching someone, somewhere, somehow.  If it does, then not only does blogging help me, but perhaps someone else!

I love this quote: “And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” -Erica Jong

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Illuminating the Journey

I went to a survivor speak out and celebration of healing.  It was much needed as I really felt kind of out of body this past week.  I am constantly humbled, even when I think I’m being humble.  I continue to be humbled.  I feel like I’m being broke down, to be built back up and I’m cool with that.  Lord only knows how many times I’ve been built up to be broke down.  So knowing that it’s all for the good, I’m willing to suffer through it and do everything in my power to stay focused.

Back to to survivor speak out, it was so moving.  I’m in the beginning stages of my treatment and it’s all about safety and learning to control myself.  I’m getting comfortable with the fact that a perfect state will not exist.  It is not possible, but I can take the tools I am learning and do my best with them.  They are making an impact in just a short period of time and I’m doing pretty well if I do say so myself 🙂

We lit a candle at the survivor speak out.  It was symbolic of helping bring someone else to light out of darkness.  We spent a moment in time giving thought, prayers and positive energy to those that have yet to seek help.

I’m thankful for the day.  I’m thankful for those that are no longer choosing to associate with me.  I’m thankful for those that are re-emerging.  I’m thankful that I have had one of life’s “aha moments”.

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Blah. Quit Sounding Like a Victim!

I’m in group therapy that is giving me skills to empower myself to make better decisions.  I am so thankful that I have this opportunity.  I really didn’t just like rereading my last blog.  I kind of felt like it was a cross between boo hoo, poor me… and someone I’m justifying my right to drink if emotions become too much.

I don’t have the privilege of thinking that way unless I just want to throw my self respect out the window.  Although, I do have to start counting again.  Day 25, no cocaine.  Day 3, no drinking.  Do I really need to count?!  I suppose, it gives me reference points and hopefully I won’t see a trend other than the days getting bigger and bigger.

Eyes on God.  Humility.  Pride before a fall.  Stay focused.  In the Moment.

I’m still feeling rather guilty about not attending a wedding where old drug using buddies will be because I feel like I’m being a horrible friend.  😦  This, too, shall pass.

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Weekend Drama ((I’ll Never Be Perfect))

I’ve mentioned this before about me having a really rough time coping with the weekends.  I do not need to keep a log of when some of my coping skills get a real workout.  It’s Friday and Saturday nights.  I guess years and years of scheduled partying doesn’t just go away after a weekend or two.  Some habits are seriously hard to break.

Friday night, unsafe coping ending up in a 1/2 pint of UV Vodka being consumed by me.  Not that I’m an alcoholic and I have to abstain from alcohol completely, but I do have a habit of drinking or using drugs to numb my emotions.  Friday, not quite sure what the trigger was, became completely unbearable for me.  I drank and it felt good and bad.  My therapy discourages any use of alcohol or drugs pretty much altogether, but without any prescribed pills or what have you, I decided that I’d rather have a drink than cry all damn evening.  Uncontrollably and balled up in a corner on the floor with all of my trauma flashing before my eyes.  Every time I attempted to put one incident out of my mind, another would enter.  It was like some sad, B-rated, psychedelic, freaky movie or something.  I attempted coping with “changing the channel”, and “grounding”, but it appeared that the emotions overrode both attempts.  The alcohol, at least for me, took some of the edge off.  I could not deal with life on life’s terms.

I’m surely hoping that there is a normalness to this, but I’m not sure.  I am very scared that this is some sign that I may never be completely normal.  I really don’t know.  I suppose that I will have to discuss this in group to get a grip on things.

I am trying to avoid the use of alcohol through the process of therapy so that I can really get a grip.  Drugs need to be a 100% void in my life.  And as much as I am justifying my alcohol use this weekend, I still know it was wrong.  I felt very guilty about it and mad at myself for not allowing myself to just feel the feelings and deal.  But it was just so overwhelming.  I do realize that I am not perfect.  I won’t be.  And a day of using, is just one day of using and doesn’t define my whole life.  I’m trying.  I felt a bit defeated this weekend, but I’m well on my way to better days.  I’m still keeping my eye on the prize and trying to be the best me possible.

And if this is the worst of my issues right now in my life.  I can deal with it.  I just really want everything to be what I deem as ideal to happen for me right now, but I have to have patience and realize that it’s not my will, but His.

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Friend or Safety ((What Did I Choose))

Well, in my last blog, I wrote about the internal battle I was having inside of myself.  Turns out that more than likely this friend wasn’t a friend at all.  They didn’t choose to be supportive of a decision that will keep me safe and sober.  They personally attacked me and told me all about myself.  I didn’t give their opinion any real value.  What would make them an expert on my life anyways?  It was a true test of our friendship.  What I came out of it with is a lighter heart, a sense of self worth for truly putting myself first, and getting a chance to see them for whom they really were.  I didn’t lose a friend.  I lost a drinking / partying buddy.  Woopty doo.

So during recovery, I don’t mind losing people along the way.  Those that don’t stick around and support me were never my friends to begin with.  C’est la vie!

Putting myself first is not a natural occurring event for me and it was awkward and didn’t feel right.  But they did explain that a lot of what we will be doing will not feel natural.  And of course it won’t.  I am choosing to deal with life on life’s terms and not self medicate with cocaine or alcohol.

Day 20 🙂  And just for today, I did what I needed to do to keep me safe, happy and healthy.  I am very blessed and incredibly thankful 🙂

I will be covering this week’s discussion tomorrow or over the weekend.  Topics to come are “Assertiveness Part II” and “Grounding”.

Things that I used to cope this past week: mindfulness, meditation, yoga, blogging, calling my support network of friends

Added plus to the day 🙂  I exchanged numbers with a gal in group and I’m really excited to have the possibility of someone to hang out with, without the drama of the clubs, alcohol and need to party.  Rock on!  Life is good.


Safety First vs. Friend First ((I feel like I know the answer, but I’m in denial))

I have group tonight.  That is really good right about now.  Deathly scared of going home this weekend for a friend’s bachelorette party.  I’m just doing the dinner.  But still, I am leery of the situation.  And while it’s all about me during my recovery, I just can’t seem to selfishly miss these important events for my friend.  I am going to go early to group tonight so that I can talk to one of the counselors.  I just have to know if I am doing the right thing or not.  I’m so indecisive about it.  I want to go to be there for her, but I don’t want to in an attempt to keep myself safe from possible scenarios arising.  Is this isolation though?  Arrrgh!

So it’s safety first vs. friend first.  I’m in denial.  I know the answer.  I just don’t know how to cope or deal.  Feel horrible and stuck between a rock and a hard spot.

I don’t know if it’s too much coffee this morning or what, but I’m not feeling spectacular.  And the longer I go without drinking, the scarier it gets… waiting for the inevitable, like the other foot to drop.  Regardless, a bunch of emotions.  Nauseous.

Positive note: Day 18 completed, working on Day 19.  Just for today…

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Personal Bill of Rights Added

I added a page to my blog:  personal bill of rights.  They saved the best for last.  WE have a right to happiness. And I know that I am doing all that I can to follow that path.  I don’t know where I am going, but I am trusting in the process that all of this is not in vain.  I feel like I’m just really growing spiritually.  I’ve never really felt so much emotion and it wells up in me in many different situations, but I’m looking at the world through a new set of eyes.  The world around me isn’t as bad as I made it.  I knowingly accept responsibility in the part that I have played in my life’s tumultuous ups and downs.  I am blessed to finally be getting the skills and guidance to become the person that I always longed to be.

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This weekend was spent sleeping and eating.  I completely isolated.  I rarely left bed unless it was to gorge myself in food.  I really need to stop and find something to take the place of my old routine on the weekends.  I can’t keep using food and sleep to escape from life.  I must find another way.

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else. — Benjamin Franklin

I need to quit making excuses for the overeating and the oversleeping.  It’s not conducive to my “rehabilitation”.

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