Whether you are ending a relationship with a romantic partner or dealing with a divorce, you are dealing with loss. For those of us in recovery, grief and loss are often triggers for relapse. As such, it’s important to know how to cope with the experience without turning to substances and/or the dysfunctional behaviors of our past.
Employ Healthy Coping Skills
The key to staying sober through a breakup of any kind is to establish healthy means of coping with grief and loss. Employing creative outlets—such as painting, writing, crafting of any kind—is a wonderful way to process the emotions through self-expression. Additionally, creating moves the energy and channels it in a positive direction.
Another healthy coping skill to employ is physical activity. Exercise also gets the energy moving and increases dopamine—your body’s natural happy drug—levels in your brain. This will decrease stress, bringing a sense of calm and relaxation, and release negative energy from your body. However, it is necessary to note that any extremes with regard to physical activity are not considered healthy. As such, be careful not to substitute substances with exercise.
Staying in touch with your recovery community is key at all times. But, when you are going through a difficult time, it is absolutely vital to stay connected, rather than isolating or withdrawing. And, certainly, you want to turn to those who are also sober and who value real recovery, rather than individuals who might offer you old, unhealthy ways of coping.
Remember, during the grief process, you can be vulnerable to the influence of others. As such, surround yourself with high-vibration individuals and positive, supportive energy—people who are supportive of your recovery, not simply your decision to end or accept the ending of a relationship.
Take a Spiritual Perspective
Remember, we are in relationships to grow and evolve. That is not to say that we don’t have any lasting relationships. Of course, we do. However, there are many individuals who come into our lives strictly for the purposes of teaching or mirroring us. In that way, we must see any past relationships or recent endings as teachers and lessons we have (hopefully) mastered or completed.
If you take the perspective that the relationship was an opportunity to heal, grow and evolve, and the individual was a teacher and/or a mirror, it will be much easier to accept the ending of the time with them. Moreover, it will give you a sense of gratitude for what they offered in your life and the ability to wish them well as you both move on, separately, in your individual journeys.
If the emotions associated with grief and loss are too overwhelming, do not hesitate to reach out to a professional. And, if the addiction specialists, sponsors or other treatment professionals are not enough, employ the services of a counselor or life coach. There is no such thing as too much help, especially if your pain feels too deep.
Though going through a breakup can certainly be a painful time in anyone’s life, we (in recovery) don’t have to be victims to the pain or let it set us back. In fact, we can choose to allow it to spur us further along on our journey of healing and personal growth.