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12 Powerful Suggestions for Dealing with a Relationship Breakup in Recovery


end relationshipThe ending of a romantic relationship can be an incredibly stressful event for anyone, but if you are in early recovery from addiction then it could easily knock you right off track. It is not just the loss of this other person from your life that makes this such a tough challenge to deal with; if the other person ended the relationship then it is also likely to feel like a blow to your ego and self-confidence – you may end up feeling rejected, which is a horrible way to feel.

If you are trying to recover from an addiction, it is vital that you are able to get over this relationship breakup quickly. It is also crucial that you do not do anything as a result of this event that would put your sobriety at risk. Below are 12 powerful strategies to help you make it through this traumatic time.

1. Be Willing to Feel Your Pain

If you try to run from the emotions generated by this breakup, or you otherwise try to resist them, it can make things much worse for you. It is this attempt to escape life that drives people into addiction, and you already know that it does not work. You need to be willing to accept that there will be some psychological discomfort as part to the normal grieving process associated with a breakup.

It is usually resistance to this type of pain and not the pain itself that leads to unbearable suffering. You should view this time as being similar to dealing with a period of sickness (similar to a flu) whereby you just have to deal with the symptoms as best you can in the knowledge that things will get better soon.

2. Understand that it is Okay to Feel Bad

If you had strong feelings for someone and they are no longer going to be part of your life, it is understandable that you will feel bad for a time. This is perfectly natural and it would be more worrying if you did not feel anything at all. These feelings are uncomfortable, but it can be helpful to just think of them as part of the natural healing process – things usually only get bad when you try to resist this process.

3. Don’t Wallow in Your Pain

Trying to make yourself feel worse is just as bad as trying not to feel anything at all. You only need to feel what you are feeling and you do not need to add anything to this. There is no right way to recover from a relationship breakup, so do not be fooled into thinking that you need to behave or feel a certain way. Just accept whatever is happening with your emotions and don’t do anything that is going to make you feel worse – for example, you don’t have to listen to sad music or spend hours gazing sadly at old photographs of you and your ex. This would be similar to having a flu and doing stuff to make your symptoms worse.

4. Use Mindfulness to Help You Cope with the Breakup

Mindfulness can be an incredibly powerful tool for dealing with unhelpful thoughts and negative emotions. It means that you learn how to focus your attention on the present moment and observe your thoughts, feelings, and emotions in a more objective way. By being mindful, you can develop the understanding that observing things objectively means you suffer a lot less; this is because you are not getting caught up in the story.

Mindfulness is a practice with roots in Buddhism, but you do not have to be a Buddhist to benefit from it. The Buddha used a metaphor about how people suffer because they are hit with two arrows when they only need to be hit by one. The first arrow is the actual event (in this case the relationship breakup), and the second one is the resistance to this event (the unnecessary pain). One of the goals of mindfulness is to allow you to avoid the second arrow, which can be done by looking at your thoughts more objectively.

5. Show Yourself Some Self-Compassion

You have experienced one of the worst things that can happen in life, and you should be licking your wounds. The problem is that if you allow negative talk to dominate your thinking then it can feel as if there is a merciless bully in your head instead of the friend you need. You need to learn how to self-soothe, which means being compassionate to yourself. Make your inner dialogue encouraging and love yourself unconditionally.

6. Go to More Fellowship Meetings

If you belong to a fellowship like Alcoholics Anonymous, now would be a good time to really throw yourself into the meetings. You might want to go to at least once a day until the clouds begin to pass, staying in contact with others from the meetings. It is also important that you share about how you are feeling – do not worry about other people judging you.

7. Make Sure Sobriety Remains Your Number One Priority

A breakup is a horrible thing to go through, but it does not change anything in regards to your sobriety. You need to make sure that staying sober remains your priority in life. The other advantage of putting your focus here is that it will keep you busy, so there will be less time for feeling bad. Remember that this breakup is going to lead to some temporary pain, but a relapse could lead to something much worse and more lasting.

8. Spend Your Time around Positive People

The benefit of being around positive people is that these individuals can give you hope, boost your motivation, and offer you practical advice. Some of these individuals are likely to have once been where you are now, and they can be a great example of how it will be possible for you to bounce back. It is also important to avoid negative people at the moment because they can just feed into your current black mood and make you feel even worse.

9. Don’t Isolate

The worst thing you can do now is to isolate. This means that you hide away at home and avoid people. The problem with this approach is that it leaves you at the mercy of any negative thoughts, and you will not be getting the support you need. You need to try to be around others as much as possible now as this will help you heal much faster.

10. Try Not to Feel Embarrassed by the Breakup

It can feel embarrassing to no longer be in a relationship, especially when friends start asking questions. The thing is that breakups happen all the time and are perfectly natural. This type of rejection is something that almost every human will have experienced at least once, so there is no need to feel so bad about it.

11. Look at the Big Picture

This probably feels like the worst thing that has ever happened to you up until this stage of your life, but in the big picture of your life, it will just be one episode. You are going to have plenty of good times in the future, and there will likely be more dark days to come. Life is made up of ebb and flow, but the good news is that the tide always comes back.

12. Learn from the Experience

If you can learn from this breakup, it may actually lead to improvements in your life. Do not beat yourself up, but try to see if there are any lessons to be learned – there almost certainly are. It is tempting to just blame the other person, but you do also need to consider the part you played in the relationship ending and learn from this.

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