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Doing it "The Right Way"

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by riv44, Jul 18, 2015.

  1. riv44

    riv44 Well known member

    I am a psychotherapist and I often work with folks battling addictions. I am struck by how confining some people feel about the standard addiction narrative' "I will always be an addict; I have to recover in exactly the way the experts tell me or I will relapse."

    I believe that the narrative becomes self-fulfilling prophecy.

    So the analogy to addiction is clear because I accepted a narrative that said that pain is the new normal, and will always be part of who I am. My brain is addicted to pain.

    I also think I am addicted to insomnia, and using ambien to help me zone out the pain and sleep well.

    The last thing I want to give up is my Icy Hot. I know it increases blood flow to the tense areas, and is a useful placebo.

    When I sit in private practice listening to clients, my own inner state of tension can be unbearable. It goes together with pain. When the last client leaves my office, I find myself needing to lie down on the floor. My breating becomes shallow. This year I have been cutting back my hours, and planning a teaching project that will be fun for me.

    I am starting to feel a great release in the process of beginning this structured plan.

    My exacting self wonders that if I skip around a bit, or don't do it exactly as laid out, that I will fail. I don't treat my clients this way; I don't say there is only one way to go about recovering.

    Is it OK if I adapt the structured program? I need to work on moving. After 3 years, I can no longer touch my toes!

    Thank you for listening.
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, riv44. Those negative mantras are self-destructing. They need to be changed to very positive... "I am not an addict and never will be."
    Do not tell the brain that being addictive is the new normal. That also is not true.

    I definitely urge you to begin the Structured Educational Program. It will help you to discover the emotions that cause you pain.

    Also practice deep breathing. It is a wonder technique for relaxation. Breathe in through the nose to the count of 4, hold for 7, and exhale through the mouth to the count of 8. Repeat for as often as you can and you will feel calm.

    Psychotherapy is a very stressful occupation. It's bound to leave you exhausted or just "down" after treating someone. I get the same feelings after replying to posts to people with TMS. I get away from it then with distractions that make me feel happy or relaxed.

    Deep breathing helps me to sleep better. And focusing my mind on pleasant things instead of worries.
    Lizzy likes this.
  3. riv44

    riv44 Well known member

    Thank you.
  4. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    I believe that it is fine to adapt the structured program, but with a few caveats.....

    One of the most helpful aspects of the SEP is the structured nature of it, in my opinion. Working on TMS everyday, but not spending too much time on it is important. I also think the SEP is good about balancing time spent in "knowledge therapy" with self exploration. You will probably also find it helpful to look closely at why you may want to skip certain parts of it--perhaps those are the topics that you need to address the most. I found that to be true for me, anyway, but I have had a heavy reliance on the defense mechanism of avoidance in the past. Moving toward topics, emotions, and experiences that I am first inclined to avoid, has been am important part of recovery for me.

    Welcome to the Forum. Wishing you the best on your healing journey.......
    Lizzy likes this.
  5. riv44

    riv44 Well known member

    Thank you, Ellen. I need time to integrate this all. "Radical acceptance," a term a colleague uses, is hard for a chronic worrier.

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