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The Breakup Survival Plan

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The Breakup Survival Plan

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The Breakup Survival Plan

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There are many kinds of recovery and addiction. If you have an addiction to a person and the relationship ends not by your choice, you need a breakup survival plan. We happen to have one. Your first goal is to get through it with your power still yours, your integrity still solid, and with love and forgiveness rather than hate and anger in your heart. Love works better than duct tape to put the broken pieces of your heart back together. Furthermore, this is not the time to develop an addiction to any substance to feel better.

Breakup Survival Plan

If you are on the receiving end of a cheating partner, lover, husband, you need useable tactics and techniques to get you through this horrible loss of trust (and relationship if you choose to go, or your partner chooses to leave you). The longer the relationship lasted, the more in depth and detailed the recovery may be.

Warning. If you suffer from an addiction, the breakup of a relationship puts you in danger of losing control of any improvement towards addiction-free life you had acquired. People often use their current addiction substance to help them through this tough emotional process to put salve on a violent wound. And it would be the first go-to for an addict, and a dangerous one!  Spurned lovers want, desire, need something to help them. “Beam me up Scotty” won’t work.

So, let’s look at what I have found to be helpful to get you through to the other side of the fresh new Hell. Understand the breakup survival plan has no specific order, and many tips both overlap and share qualities with each other.

The First 24-48 Hours

This is the hardest time, maybe. Call in any and all friends and coping mechanisms. And for those suffering with addiction, struggling to “use” is hardest right now. Call upon your sponsors if you have one, go to meetings, ask for help, resist the urge to numb your brain and heart with drugs. Do whatever you can that is socially and legally acceptable, but that does not send out bad energy. Some people like to get out the bad energy by throwing and breaking things. Not only do you have one heck of a mess to clean up afterwards, but it is counterproductive in so many ways. Buy a dart board. You might just get good enough to enter and win a contest. I like to scrub things when I have that much intense and possibly destructive and negative energy.

Screaming, crying, ranting and raving seems to be universal. Let it out, and then if necessary repeat until it is all spent. Some people can’t eat at times like these, while others sit down with a container of ice cream and a spoon. Invite your best friend and get two spoons so that he/she can impart some calming and loving words of advice. Keep busy and try to get some rest. I am not advocating more prescription medication here, especially if you have addiction problems, but sometimes in periods of severe grief, a few pills (no more than 5) of something like Ativan, Xanax, or something like Ambien can help you get some rest. And rest is vitally important so you don’t get run down and then, potentially, ill. There are many herbal and homeopathic remedies that might be helpful. A supplement called Theanine 100 mg taken two to three times a day can also help with the stress levels. But short of playing Rip Van Winkle and sleeping until your hair grows to your toes, nothing is going to take the pain away but tincture of time. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been good at waiting.

The Five Stages of Grief

The stages, developed by Kubler Ross in her book On Death and Dying, relate to the death of a loved one.They include: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance

You will likely go through these several times, and often in no certain order. While these are normally thought of as pertaining to death, I feel the loss of a relationship is a death of sorts; you have to go on in the world without that person; however, you might have to reconcile the fact that you may still see that person from time to time as you go through life. That also can be very difficult until you are truly beyond the situation.

Consider journaling. Writing down your feelings, the events, the facts, etc. is a great way to get the energy you are feeling out and down in a way that you can use and learn from.

Don’t get stuck in any one stage, and don’t worry if you are not going trough them in order. The key is to get through them, understand the feelings associated with each step, see if you can learn from them, and—most importantly—move on!

Tools

Whether physical or emotional, tools can help here. Just don’t include the pharmaceuticals of your addiction here. Meditation, prayer, yoga, other exercise and other such tools can help you think clearly, get you moving, organize you and keep good energy at play.  If you belong to a religion, go to your “church” and speak to your religious leader. They can help you think about this from a position of forgiveness and love. I firmly believe that forgiveness and love must be the outcome of this kind of living Hell. Send out good energy and when it comes back to you, you will feel blessed. Negative thought and energy do not have a positive outcome for anybody. There are a lot of “self-help” type vehicles that can be useful towards giving you help to analyze the events and feelings you are having. If you can talk to the other person and they are willing to engage in a discussion (a debriefing kind of interaction) of what happened then that is a good thing; this is rare to happen though I have found.

Music and movies/TV are great tools here. Go ahead and play those “somebody done somebody wrong” songs, cry in your beverage of choice, let it out. Then dry those tears and play some good dance tunes. Dance your way around the house until you run out of energy. Don’t watch the Hallmark channel where everybody gets the love they want and they all live happily ever after!! Feel and acknowledge the bad feelings and bad energy and then find a way to dispel it; and of course, in a legally and socially acceptable format! The news and TV are full of bad examples of what people do to each other when they are in the throes of anger and hurt. But then they “wake up” in the early light of day to feel sorrowful, hungover, and maybe in jail!

Emotions

You are going to feel them all. Feel them, look at them, write about them, cry and scream about them. And then send them off with a proverbial kiss and a prayer. You have to be able to love yourself, and for those suffering from an addiction problem, this is the hardest to accomplish. There are so many reasons and psychological issues that cause an addiction, and that is beyond the scope of this article. I’ll repeat it again and again; if you are an addict and you have lost a relationship that you valued and maybe needed, then you are going to need your sponsor and any other agents of help right now. Call on them and use them. Try really hard to stay positive, because negativity is destructive. You’ve already just gone through the negativity of a lost relationship; don’t add to it by sending more negative thoughts out to the universe. It is really hard right now to find a positive, but it’s important that you do. Find a mantra to say to yourself. Here’s one I use: May I be happy; May I feel loved. May all my suffering be healed; May I be at peace.

Friends And Support Systems

I think I covered much of this already, but I cannot stress how important your friends are at a time like this. Use them. They love you. Some day you can repay the favor. They know you best and can provide good counsel.

Therapy

Whether it is with your support groups, or individualized, it can be very helpful. Gaining insight to you and the situation from a third party is unbiased and honest. I’ve mentioned other types above as well, like music, dancing, talking, and journaling.

Trust Issues and Dealing With Your Ex

I’ve combined two here as they are related. If you are able to work out the problem with the ex, that’s good. However, you will have to resolve the trust issues before you can move on. If you caught your ex cheating on you, and you are able to work through it and come back together, the trust issue can make or break the success of a reunion. This requires talking it out at the very least, and possible therapy. If you two go your separate ways, you may have to see each other occasionally unless you move away. Try to be kind and offer a loving friendship, or at least a kind work. Remember, positive energy gives back same as does negative energy.

Goals

I think I have alluded to these in all above, but obviously the main goal is to get through this in one piece, with sanity intact, no broken dishes, and love in your heart for someone you loved very much. You’ll learn something about yourself too, and you can take that forward with you. You may also at some point find yourself in the position of helping someone else through this walk of misery.

Taking Care Of You

This included physical and mental health needs. Staying busy (the last one on the list) is vital to mental health here, I believe. If you can stay busy and focus on a task, then you will be less likely to dwell on the horror you are feeling. You need to eat even when you have no appetite or are so upset that you cannot swallow. Fluids and sugar will keep you going when you can’t eat. Sleep is important, as is exercise; and no, crying yourself to sleep is not considered exercise! Someone I love tells me “one hour, one day at a time”. Sometimes, it’s minute by minute. Get through one day and hope the next day is a bit less painful. I firmly believe that if you come at adversity with love rather than hate and anger, the outcome will be better. Good luck!

So here are the first four steps to get you going forward:

  1. Call on your friends and other support systems for comfort and guidance
  2. Take time to grieve, but not for an open-ended time frame. Set a limit for yourself
  3. Form your analysis of what happened, and then let it go with a kiss to the wind
  4. Allow your normal life’s routine carry you forward, one step in front of the other

And remember, this too shall pass.


Comments

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For more than twenty years Gail Dudley had a busy family practice with a hospital and nursing home component. Gail also obtained a MHA (Masters of Healthcare Administration) and completed a one-year health policy fellowship. Dr. Gail has worked in quality assurance and utilization review, hospice practice, and now works full time for a company that has contracts with Medicare and Medicaid to evaluate fraud, waste and abuse in the medical world. Gail describes herself as “a child from an abused childhood who ultimately decided to get ahead in life rather than remain a victim.” She became “a classic over achiever to make up for the losses and pain that accompany an abusive childhood as the daughter of an alcoholic.” The ex wife of an alcoholic and the mother of a son who has been struggling substance use since the age of 12, Gail is deeply familiar with the family disease of addiction. She is also the mother of a high achieving daughter. Gail is delighted to add her voice to Reach Out Recovery both as a medical professional and a mother who has experienced addiction from every aspect. "As someone surrounded on all sides (personal and professional) by addiction issues, I always try to help whenever and wherever I can."

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