I know as well as anyone how easy it is to act out. Even at my strongest, I accept that I am only a matter of feet away from that ditch. Sometimes I am shocked at what causes me to want to act out. With almost 7 months of sobriety under my belt, I was triggered by seeing a friend of mine in glasses for the first time. WHAT?!?! That is such a random thing! Where does that come from??? Apparently the addict inside of me is not all that picky about what gets her juices going.
Avoiding explicit visuals or places of past acting out isn't enough to ensure successful sobriety for me. The tools I learn in recovery are great, but those can even fall short sometimes. There is a lot more behind this addictive behavior than I realized or expected. We all know it has very little to do with actual sex, but I had no idea just how vulnerable I am out there. Since I can't control which of my friends might need optical corrective accessories, I am gearing up with some practical tips for keeping the beast at bay.
A few sure fire ways I avoid acting out:
Pray to my Higher Power
Play with my dogs, Charlie and Indiana
Hit the gym
Text/call a recovery friend
Dedramatize the trigger
Reach out to help someone else in recovery or just a friend. Helping others helps me a ton!
Make sure I'm accountable by telling someone about it (my friend thought the glasses thing was pretty funny...and then took them off immediately haha)
Leave the place I'm being triggered
Have a conversation in my head about what is going on and how I'm feeling (not gonna lie, it gets pretty sassy in there)
If the trigger is a person, I quickly do something to humanize them so that I don't view/treat them like an object
Think about having to tell my mom that I broke my sobriety
As soon as my addict's thoughts start penetrating mine I immediately say out loud, "That's a terrible idea!" (Hell, talking to myself in public is the least of my worries at this point haha)
Getting into nature seems to help a ton for some reason.
Sometimes I have to lock myself in my room to physically keep myself from acting out. I alert someone to what's going on so that I am accountable for what goes on inside that room as well.
I review my Self Care Guide that I made while I was feeling strong and healthy so that I could help myself even when I wasn't feeling like "myself".
Oh yeah, and I breathe! It's amazing how quickly things slow down when I just take a few breaths. It really helps me see things from a more realistic perspective
Now let's hear what the experts have to say! Here are some resources that provide a broad range of ways to tame that temptation:
Avoiding Sexual Temptation: New Research and Some Practical Tips
How to Press Pause on Your Addictive Behaviors
This one is geared toward substance users, but it is easy to switch things around to apply to us: 5 Whack-A-Mole Addiction Behaviors to Avoid
How do you press pause?