By Steps to Recovery on November 26, 2012

I spent many, many, many years of my life working really hard doing whatever I could to drown out my feelings of inadequacy and not being whole,  to feel like I was plugging the hole in my soul. Drugs, relationships, sometimes I used alcohol, social networking and the internet, even my relationship with my pets. Anything I could use to  to not feel so bad, lonely, unwanted, unliked, misunderstood. Anything to just not care, to detach from what was really going on with ME.

When I chose recovery, when anyone chooses recovery, the plug gets pulled. All the things I used to fill myself and my hole up went swishing down the drain when I realized that I had to heal myself, I had to find what was causing me to feel I needed to detach from myself and constantly distract myself with something, anything that made me feel a little bit better.

How scary, to feel so….Empty. How scary…TO FEEL.

So the question is, how does a person, in recovery, learn to plug their hole in healthy ways? The same feelings of inadequacy  are still there, and now they are compounded with the guilt, shame and remorse that come along with the reality of what using has done to your life. Recovery is all about plugging the hole in a healthy, natural way. By making new associations, people, places and things.

I started plugging my hole by completely immersing myself in my recovery program when I chose to get clean. I went there all the time. I wasn’t a residential client in my program, but I spent a lot of time there and attended the day program in addition to the counseling sessions, classes, workshops and groups  that happened at night. I started spending as much time as possible with the other women there, getting to know them and practicing healthy connection and relationship building skills with them.

I also started working more with food. Real food, all fresh and organic. I read about making food and what the best foods are for health. I spent a lot of time creating new dishes and reading about different techniques and recipes.

I began doing more movement. I attended yoga and dance classes through my program. I skateboarded more and walked in nature. I also started taking my dogs for long walks, working my way up to 5 miles a day.

I shifted away from my addict friends, and made new friends who were supportive of my recovery. I found people who were understanding of my situation, who were aware that I had codependency issues, who were capable of providing me the support I needed while still setting boundaries and allowing me to learn to set my own boundaries as well.

And I started doing art a lot, and writing more. Finding my creativity as a sober individual was a very difficult thing to do and it took the longest for me to really work on. I considered it low on my priority list, and have always been very critical of myself so it was very hard to get back into doing the things I loved and felt I was good at when my whole life now looked different and unfamiliar.

All of these things have been so helpful in my journey of recovery, in plugging my hole in healthy ways. What do you do to plug your hole?