V is for Victory & W is for Withdrawal

from Google

from Google

Another A-Z post? Yep. I’m cheating a bit and combining some letters. Can you believe I’ll be working on 2019’s soon? Yeah, I plan on crushing it! Then again, I thought I’d crush 2018’s and here we are. I won’t be finishing by the end of the year. So close…yet so far.

V is for victory. In the recovery world, I think that too many times, we focus on the setbacks or struggles we’re facing. Then when there is a slip, BAM, it feels like we’re back at zero again.

I say, “Hell no!” Let’s focus on the fact that there’s a recovery in place. To me, that’s already a victory. That’s courage. It’s FEAR: Face Everything And Rise. Being able to have the strength to say, “I need help,” deserves to be recognized and followed by a pat on the back.

from Google

from Google

For those that are in recovery and struggling to get a “long” stretch of days before another setback happens, to that, I say, “Don’t stress.” Whether it’s one week, one month, or three months of sobriety, you’ve learned something. Those lessons cannot be taken away from us because a slip happened. Knowledge remains. We can also take advantage of hindsight after a setback. We can look at the slip and ask ourselves the hows and whys. Was I BLASTed (bored, lonely, angry, stressed, tired)? Was I active in a healthy recovery? What tweaks can I do so I’m not at risk again?

I also feel it’s important to celebrate your victories. You earned it so why not treat yourself to a sundae or a milkshake? (I recently tried Cook Out’s milkshakes. Ohmygosh! It was so good! So that’s probably why I’m recommending very unhealthy snacks).

If it seems like a minor victory and you’re wondering why you should mark the occasion of fourteen days…go for it! You deserve it and your victory is worth celebrating. The more you’re your own cheerleader, the more confidence you’ll have in yourself. That confidence will show up in your recovery.

For those of us healing from the trauma of disclosure, we can celebrate victories too. Maybe it’s been a week since you last checked phone records or their computer history. Perhaps you’ve just finished a step in your twelve-step program or an assignment from your counselor or worked on your online program. Celebrate yourself and your victory. This stuff can be tough to navigate so treating yourself to a pedicure or the latest mystery book you’ve been wanting is a great way to highlight your success.

Keep up with those victories too. Just because you’ve been in recovery or healing for six months, a year, or three years, you still deserve to reward yourself for your hard work. You’re worth it!

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My next letter is W and I’ve chosen withdrawal as the topic. While I could easily make it about me and how terrible it was to go through withdrawals when I quit using cocaine, I’m focusing on my hubby’s withdrawal instead because it caught me so off guard.

from Google

from Google

My husband was having erratic emotional outbursts. It was very unlike him to behave the way that he was. It didn’t occur to me that perhaps people could go through withdrawals from not looking at pornography. Yet, here he was doing just that. Displaying the symptoms I did: anger, depression, resentment, from one minute to the next, his mood was subject to change. Was it possible that the lack of dopamine was making him go through detox and causing his emotions to be out of control? The short answer: yes.

Now, I’m not a scientist or chemist, not even close, but as I understand it, anytime an addict engages in their unhealthy behavior, the brain releases dopamine, the “feel good” naturally occurring drug in our body. When we feel that rush of excitement after something good happens, like a baby being born or getting that job you wanted, dopamine is released.

Unfortunately, the chemical can get to such high levels during addiction, it takes riskier behavior to release them into the brain to sustain that high. During withdrawal, the wiring in our brain needs to repair itself and bring those chemicals back to where they belong. This is where Fortify comes in so handy by helping to retrain the brain. They do a fantastic job in helping people redirect their thoughts. I can share from my own experience, that their videos and webinars rock.

The good news about the withdrawal effects is that they do go away. The further away from our drug of choice, the better we feel. It’s kind of like having a super bad flu. If you can ride it out, fill your day with vitamins – aka healthy behaviors – the flu will pass.

Do you like milkshakes? What’s your favorite sweet treat? Do you know anyone who has gone through withdrawals?

I’ll be taking off to be with my family next week. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!