Plan B

Third in the series 
Notes on Recovery

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So bottom’s hit you.  You realize you’re a control addict and need to recover.
What now?
Now Plan B.
Make no mistake — you do need a plan.
Good intentions aren’t enough.  Neither is willpower.
Because if hitting bottom is less a choice than a realization, recovery is definitely a choice.
Not just the hardest choice you’ll ever make, either.  One you have to remake every day. Every hour, sometimes.
Recovery from any addiction means facing your deepest anxieties and fighting your strongest impulses.  And escaping control addiction means walking through a world that seems absolutely determined to push you into relapse.
Not a walk in the park.
So you really do need a plan, and it better be good.
It should teach you three things:
Refocus, practice, and support.
Refocus means learning to shift your attention from Out There to In Here – from the environment that triggers you to your own reactions to that environment.
Practice means (a) learning alternatives to compulsive controlling, and then (b) repeating them over and over until they come as naturally as controlling used to.
Support is the hardest part, because it involves other people.  Addicts don’t trust other people.  Hell, that’s why they’re addicts.  It’s because they distrust people that they turned to substances or compulsive behaviors to manage their feelings.  But recovery means building people back into your emotional life, learning to trust them again.
Because no one recovers alone.
And anyone who tries it alone isn’t really recovering.
Next: Refocusing

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Previous posts in this series:
(A sort of preface:) Tricky
1. Bottom 
2. Power

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NEW in The Practice Corner (under Surrender): 
Miracle

8 responses to “Plan B

  • leb105

    refocusing inside – this sounds good!

  • svmcelligott

    I ‘get it’ about focusing internally as opposed to externally – some days I’m doing great but then I get caught off guard, it’s a constant watch. I compare it to a computer virus scanner, scanning for a virus 24/7. Except some day there’s hope that it becomes automatic and who we become…..as in more internally focused. I don’t drink alcohol apart from an occasional glass of wine with dinner, but I find if I do drink, I don’t care about other people’s dramas. It would be so much easier to just use alcohol as a crutch but I know that’s not the answer either. I’d rather learn the ‘hard’ way or hopefully with the help of Steve’s info, the ‘easy’ way.

    • Steve Hauptman

      Yes, the urge to control feelings (a.k.a. self-medication) is the mother of all addictions. And yes, it’s a terribly slippery slope. Because the damned feelings always come back, which means you have to do whatever you do to make them go away again. And again. And again. And you end up controlled by the need to control.

      You’re right, too, about the harder way really being easier in the long run.

      Stay tuned for more notes on that way.

  • Simona

    I think in my case, trying to control the actions of my son who had been in the throes of active addiction, prevented him from hitting his bottom. Paying off court fines for him, driving around town looking for him, trying to find out who his dealers were, making excuses for his absences at family functions.. All served as my attempt to control the outcome. And once I let go of trying to control, it was an hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute effort. It was a gift I gave myself and my son. Letting him sit with the consequences of the choices he made pushed him into seeking help.

  • d00fus

    Steve, thanks for this series. I was away, and although I’ve reviewed these once, I need to read these a few times to internalize the content. Thank you! Your great work is appreciated.

    • Steve Hauptman

      Aw. Thanks for telling me.

      I have a book in the works, and am hoping to post some chapters in the fall. Look forward to your feedback on that too.

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