What is in my control? This can be a difficult question during a time like this where there seems to be so many things that are out of our control. We can’t control when restaurants and businesses are going to open, we can’t control the closing or opening of schools, beaches, the government’s actions, or the state of the healthcare system. This can be very anxiety provoking for all us and especially for those in recovery.
Letting go of control in recovery doesn’t just mean letting go of the substances but letting go of old belief patterns related to yourself, negative thinking patterns, and feeling the need to be in control. Sometimes using substances is the only thing an individual feels they have control over when everything else around them is in chaos, which can further be heightened during an unprecedented global pandemic. It is important to recognize that this is only a false sense of control. So in these moments it can be important to remind ourselves what is in our control. Lets picture a circle and within the circle are things that can be controlled and outside of the circle are what is outside of my control.
Within My Control:
- building reliance
- following the latest information and advice
- taking care of self-eating well, exercising, regular sleep schedule
- attending online meetings
- finding purpose
- staying positive-focus on what is important to you
- helping others cope-staying connected with family, friends, support group
- keeping structure/having a routine
Outside of My Control:
- other people’s decisions/reactions
- the past
- the future
- how long social distancing will last
- when things go back to normal
- flights and holidays being cancelled
- the news
When we shift our focus to what we can control, it is more of an opportunity to grow and challenge oneself. Focusing on what is in our control can help reduce the feelings of anxiety over the response to what is not in our control. Some suggestions in helping with thinking patterns is thought stopping. In my next post I will share some thought stopping techniques for managing anxiety.