Finding peace within ourselves in spite of dealing with an addict.At any time in our lives but in particular when we are dealing with a crisis or long term stress, we need to find some peace within ourselves. I have found out (the hard way) that stressing over things does not make them go away but can make you sick. Finding a way to have peace within yourself is armor against the stress of daily living and obviously against the stress of a drug abuser in your family. I know from my own life, that the things I stressed about 10 years ago, for the most part, did not come to pass. Those that did, I dealt with and they made me stronger and the person that I hope I am becoming. I want to share with you a few things which I have found to be helpful in moving towards a place of peace within.
Small rewards. Each day I try and give myself small rewards for things I have to do. If I have a job that I particularly hate, I set a time limit and then take a break and have my 'small reward'. I know many people like to smoke or drink coffee as their reward. As I do not smoke, and would never encourage anyone to do anything that does not contribute to their overall health, I try to do things which are peaceful, healthy and lift my spirits. I might make some herb tea and sit in the sun for five minutes. I might put a CD on and listen to something I really enjoy. I rarely have music on all the time as I like to really hear it and listen to the beat and the melody when I do. I might find a favorite book and enjoy reading or learning something new. I might go outside a walk in my yard or stand on my porch. I may cuddle one of my cats or brush my dog. During these times I try to still my inner mind. No guilt about what I am NOT doing. No mental lists of things I need to do. Just a stillness and an appreciation of what I see around me.
Meditation. I know that many people get scared when I mention meditation. They say that they do not know how to meditate or that it does not do them any good. I do feel that even an attempt at a few moments silent meditation each day, like the small rewards, can give us a lift and more ability to cope. You do not need to learn any difficult technique for meditating. Find a comfortable place to sit. Turn off your phone/TV for a few minutes, relax and close you eyes. Try to quiet your 'mind chatter', you know, that little voice that keeps at you telling you things like, Did I forget Aunt Jane's birthday or I hope Bill remembers the dog food. Yes, it is harder than it appears. Thoughts pop into out minds - unwanted and often annoying thoughts. If you cannot manage to make your mind blank, then think up some peaceful place to visit. Either a place you know where you have been happy or an imaginary place such as the desert or ocean beach. Even ten minutes at a time can give you big benefits, although these may not be apparent immediately.
Take a noise break. We don't think of noise as pollution but we all live with much more noise than our ancestors probably did. We have TV's and radios, and CD's and phones ringing, children shouting, neighbors mowing the lawn or blowing leaves, the garbage truck, the airport....all these things contribute to a background noise which we try and block out. Sometimes it is good to have a noise break - turn off the radio and TV and close the windows if the neighbors are loud, or take a walk in a peaceful place such as a park. If you can walk by water and take advantage of the negative ions, so much the better. This brings me to the next thing, which is....
Exercise. No I don't necessarily mean getting on the treadmill or running, although these things can be extremely therapeutic for many people. I mean the kind of exercise we can get from a walk, doing some yard work, turning out a cupboard, playing miniature golf, going rock hunting or bird watching or swimming. Something which makes you feel good. If it is something you do not usually do, so much the better. When we get overwhelmed we often get depressed and want to just sit or hide our heads. These are normal feelings but it will not help us to feel better and more peaceful.
Spiritual Support. Going to Church is a great support for many, but what if you are not a Church-goer? You can have your own spiritual space by making one for yourself. It can be a simple place where you feel at peace and can be in touch with whatever form you spiritual life takes - The Great Spirit, The One-ness, The God and Goddess. You can also make your own place of worship in your home. Even a photograph of a loved one - a parent or grandparent - can be helpful. I have had many conversations with my Father, who has been gone for many years. When I feel the need for some extra support I contact Cherokee Billie for her wise advice.
If you feel in need of some extra and on-going support, try the network at Encouragement Services. They offer phone and free chat as well as other free services.
Reaching out. One of the most therapeutic things I have done is to reach out to others. It can give you a boost like no other. It can be a simple thing such as a special thank you for a waitress or a compliment to a passer by. Volunteering a few hours a week or even just a one time volunteer job can be extremely rewarding. You meet different people and can always find someone worse off than yourself.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Many people feel overwhelmed with all that life throws at us but if you are dealing with an addict, the word overwhelmed takes on a whole new meaning. Addicts can throw us a curved ball at any time and seem to delight in doing so. The result is less than peaceful and we often feel off-balance. Although I have never found any magic formula for dealing with this, I know that I try and take advantage of even small peaceful things to help my day. It is easy to forget stuff so making lists helped me no end. I put appointments into my cell phone or onto an online calendar. I use the same system to give me a reminder of everything from bills to birthdays.
Caretaking. Dealing with an addict usually involves some kind of caretaking, but who is caring for the caretaker? Seriously, take care of yourself first. I know that for many of us, caretaking is second nature, especially if we have been enablers and allowed the addict to retire from life while we shouldered most of the burdens. Along with shrugging off the burden of enabling, begin to put yourself first. Get adequate rest, eat well and in a healthy way, try and limit any bad habits such as alcohol, cigarettes or even too much coffee. To be able to deal with any kind of family in crisis, we have to be as healthy as possible.
The big picture. Stand back and try and see the big picture. So often we are struggling from day to day with the small stuff that we cannot see the overall picture. Think about what is bothering you right now. Is it life threatening? Will it still be important this time next week or next month? We are not superman/woman although many of us try to be. Better to try and let some things go, knowing that we will be healthier in the long run.
Learn the NO word! Learn when to say No. You do not always have to be available. Have you heard the saying "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part" Well, take that to heart. Just because someone has forgotten to plan..."Mom, come and get me I forgot to get gas!" it does not mean you automatically have to drop everything and run...run...run...
Cherokee Billie has a doctorate in Naturopathic medicine with many areas of expertise and high educational background in many fields. Cherokee Billie is a world renowned Clairvoyant Psychic Medium who works with serious individuals interested in their search and quest for information.
For more information visit Cherokee Billie's website.
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This page updated 2013