STEP 3 YOU UNDERSTAND

Now that you know you are using substances or behaviors to cope or avoid and you also have a good idea what the trigger is (what you are coping with or avoiding) it’s time to move on to step 3.  Step 3 is coming up with as many healthy, productive and helpful ways of coping or avoiding that you can.  Begin using these other strategies and continue learning more.  Research ways of coping with various things and implement the strategies you think might work for you.  See a doctor, counselor or therapist if you need to.  Join a group in your community or an online community to help.  Get as much support and as many good ideas as you can.  Pick which ones you want to use and don’t worry about the ones you don’t want to use.  This is a personal decision and it’s important to use strategies you are comfortable with rather than what others may be trying to tell you to do. Others know what’s best for them and you know what’s best for you.  There are thousands of ways to effectively cope with life and there are countless strategies to redirect your thoughts and feelings away from things you don’t want to deal with right now.  The important thing is to choose the strategies deliberately and continue to recognize the trigger (the thing it is you are coping with or trying to avoid).  While substances or maladaptive behaviors have been your go-to strategies or your default strategies, now you can learn other ways that are even more helpful and effective  You can discover and use strategies more in line with your personal values and goals.  If physical addiction is a factor then you can think about addressing the physical addiction with a doctor.  Build up your arsenal of tools and resources so you have many ways of coping and avoiding now instead of just the one or two that kept causing you problems.  I won’t go into specific strategies here because I don’t know what you are dealing with and I’d be foolish to try to tell you what to do specifically. The point is that you know what you are dealing with and you know how to research and reach out to professionals, friends, family, online and community resources to help you build up your skills for alternative methods of coping.  As you build up and practice your ability to use other coping and avoidance strategies, you will find the use of substances and maladaptive behaviors decreasing more and more.  It’s not that you will be working directly on eliminating these things from your life, it’s just that as you use other ways then you will no longer be automatically turning to the negative or problematic ways as often, as long or as much.  Since you have pin-pointed what the trigger is, you can tailor your response and strategies based on what works for that particular issue.  If it’s grief then there are grief resources.  If it’s memories then there are resources for that.  If it’s specific physical symptoms then there is medical treatment for that symptom.  Notice I still haven’t said to stop the addictive use of substances or behaviors directly.  That’s because by addressing the trigger and building up your ability to effectively cope or avoid by using more helpful methods, you will naturally, on your own, begin reducing your reliance on the thing that you decided was a problem.  If this step is too difficult go back to step one or two.  Another option is to enter a program or professional relationship specific to your particular problem or issue.  If you are not ready to do any of these things then look for ways to build yourself up in other ways.  By building yourself up I mean taking good care of yourself in as many ways as you can.  Work on building supportive relationships, work on improving your nutrition, work on building up your self-respect and confidence, work on improving yourself spiritually.  Start anywhere.  As you chip away at wellbeing in one area it will automatically help you in other areas.  As you begin taking care of yourself you will begin to feel better about yourself.  Surround yourself with positive support and improve your physical environment.  Anything that helps improve your life overall is worth pursuing.  Take care of yourself, nurture yourself and be kind to yourself.  Note: this is how I did it and it may or may not be what works for you, again–I encourage you to see a professional if your specific problem is beyond what you can face alone or beyond what helped me as I’ve described my own steps here in this blog. You will also like:  4 things…about Marijuana

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