Self-regulation and Stress Coping at the Foundation of Resilient Recovery by Stephen Sideroff, Phd, Counselor: the Magazine for Addiction and Behavioral Health Professionals, October 2016.
I found this article very fascinating. It is presented in two parts really. The first is how childhood effects someone's vulnerability to addiction and relapse. "High levels of early childhood stress alter and impair neural mechanisms of self-regulation and functioning." He is mostly talking about attachment issues, and how impairment in attachment "impairs endorphin brain circuitry" which in turn makes it more difficult to self-soothe. It is also partially why stress can lead to relapse in adults. Substances become a substitute for self soothing.
The second part of the article deals with the model for self regulation as a way to teach individuals how to self-regulate rather than turning to drugs. This is a nine-step process. It focuses on three areas, relationships, balance and mastery and engagement with the world. This concepts are presented as things to learn:
1. Relationship with Self. Being able to have positive and loving self-talk is essential. Much of the author's work involves relearning this internal script.
2. Relationship with Others. Healthy relationships should have a ratio of at least twenty positives to one negative. He suggests relationship with less than a five to one ratio may need to be discarded.
3. Relationship with Something Greater. This of course is the core of 12-step programs.
4. Physical Balance and mastery. Relaxation techniques should be a part of any recovery program. Being able to be at peace with yourself is essential.
5. Mental or Cognitive Balance and Mastery. The perspective of an addict is frequently flawed. Maintaining a positive attitude is essential to recovery.
6. Emotional Balance and recovery. Emotional reactivity negatively impacts resilience. A brain is easily high jacked by reactivity. A four step guide: 1) Become aware of emotions and accept them. 2.)Sit with emotions and recognize what they are about and whom they involve. 3) Expressing emotions in the contest of acceptance. It is ok to be sad or angry about past events. however it is not always possible to change the past. Sometime accepting reality is needed. 4) Let go. Once a feeling has been expressed, it is important to let go, and not continue to expect the impossible.
7. Presence. This is about our ability to be in the moment. This also deals with how you project into the world, which is charisma. This can involve a change of posture.
8. Flexibility. Flexibility is the ability to adapt. Awareness of patterns is essential to being able to confront them, and adapt other ways of coping.
9. Power: The Ability to Get Things Done. This is having realistic expectations, and setting goals, but understanding new learning is a growth process. Having more power leads to more freedom, and less dependence, and then increased confidence in one's self.
Health Is Vital
Health is taken for granted, until you can't any more. In this blog I hope to put down on paper some of the articles I come across and want to remember, about health. I will be personalizing these articles to apply to me. I am diabetic, over weight, have high blood pressure and tinnitus, so these are the things you will find here. I will include nutrition, exercise, and holistic health, and many other ideas. I work in the health profession, particularly mental health, and have an interest in suicide prevention; so these topics will also be covered in this blog. Please, if you are suffering reach out. Our county health and crisis line is 1-855-278-4204.