Getting Over A Breakup Without Relapsing
Let’s be frank: breakups suck. Even when you see them coming from a mile away- or you’re the one deciding to call it quits- breakups are rarely easy. After all, we form relationships with the hope that they will be everlasting; we’re all searching for someone to spend our lives with. Sometimes these attempts end in a blaze of drama, tears, and fury; other times it’s a gradual wasting away until neither of you can deny there’s just nothing there anymore. Either way, the end is usually bittersweet, and can leave you questioning if you’ll ever find someone to love you forever.
It’s enough to send anyone reaching for the bottle- but don’t do that!
When you are in recovery for substance abuse, you understand how easy it is to slip right back into old habits, especially when you are vulnerable and in need of comfort. These low points are when it’s more important than ever to stay committed to your sober journey and your personal vow to never go back. I understand that it’s hard, but staying sober is the best possible gift you can give yourself.
So if you can’t fall back on familiar comforts, what are you supposed to do? You can’t simply do nothing: emotions are swirling, your mind is racing with could-bes and would-haves. You might even be contemplating going back just to avoid the pain- even though you know it ended for a reason. Well, we’re here to help: here’s 4 steps to getting over a breakup without relapsing.
#1. Learn to Enjoy Your Own Company
It’s easy to get swept up in a relationship; sometimes we become so enamored and focused on making our partner happy, we lose bits and pieces of ourselves along the way. For others, a sense of unhappiness within can lead to seeking happiness and fulfillment through external means: we may even equate being in a relationship with being whole. While that notion is terribly romantic, in the end it’s not a healthy way to approach dating or relationships. That mode of thinking leave you open to manipulation and abuse, as well as cause massive damage to your self-esteem when things don’t work out.
Wherever you fall on that spectrum- if you’re on it at all- a solid sense of self and personal identity is paramount to not only romantic relationships, but everyday life. In youth it may take some time to determine who you are- that’s okay, you have your entire life to do it. But don’t let others define who that is for you.
Take this time to learn to enjoy your own company: rediscover your interests, go on that trip you’ve been planning for years, take a class in self-defense or pottery, volunteer for a cause you believe in- anything you want, really. Keeping busy is a key tactic in getting through shaky points in your recovery.
#2. Enjoy Your Hobbies
While you’re out and about re-learning who you are and loving your personal brand of fabulous, a good place to start is with the things you know you already enjoy. Do you play a musical instrument, or maybe you’ve always been passionate about animals? Now is the perfect time to grab some new sheet music (or compose your own!) or volunteer at your local animal shelter.
Re-read your favorite books, or find a new gem to delve into! Update your collection of beloved baubles and trinkets; research getting your poetry and short stories published; knit a hat! Do what makes you happy while keeping your feet planted firmly on the sober path.
You don’t have to do your hobbies alone either! Meetup.com is a great tool for reaching out to like-minded individuals with the same interests. You can join a weekly or monthly gathering focused on your hobby (a great way to get out of the house), meet new people, and gain new perspectives on life in general. The friendships you form here can last a lifetime.
#3. Catch Up with Friends
Sometimes when we’re in the throes of a romantic entanglement, we forget the other important relationships we have in our lives: friendships, family relationships, and the like. Neglecting these relationships can lead to tension and the potential dissolvement of longstanding bonds; however, if you catch it in time and are willing to work on it, it’s entirely possible to repair this damage.
Reach out to the friends you want to reconnect with; don’t wait for them to be the ones who reach out first. Odds are they have in the past and, in your love haze, brushed them off in favor of your lover. We’ve all done it once or twice, but repeated occurrences can leave your friends feeling unappreciated and neglected. In any case, reaching out to friends to let them know you still care and want them in your life. Plan a get together with just you and your best friend(s); go out to dinner or have a girls night at your house! Reaffirming your friendships not only help take your mind off of your ex (remember: ex for a reason!), but also serves to remind you of the other amazing people you have in your life.
#4: Get Back Out There- On Your Own Time!
We know that you may be tempted to start a new relationship once your last one has ended- while that’s okay, please be sure you’re actually ready for the new romance. No one deserves to be used simply because you are lonely or desperate to move on. Plus, if you aren’t ready to move on, how can you give your all to your new partner? You’re cheating yourself and them by not allowing yourself to heal before starting a new relationship.
However, sometimes moving on simply doesn’t take that long. Maybe your last relationship was over long before it officially ended, or you weren’t as invested as you thought in your former lover; that’s okay, too. If you are honestly in a position where you can begin a new chance at love without carrying too much baggage over from your last shot, and your potential new beau is as well, give it a shot!
What advice have you received in the past would you pass on to someone dealing with a difficult breakup? Comment below with your answers!
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About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.