No matter how good an abstinence plan you set for yourself, no matter how strongly motivated and determined you are, a crisis occurs. It has surprised me at first. I felt helpless and listless, but I didn’t realize I was in a crisis.
Over time, I learned to observe and recognize myself and my feelings. It was then that I realized that the signs of crisis have been appearing for a long time. When they occur, it shows in different ways, for example I get tired, as if my energy is just pouring out. Before exhaustion I am often restless and irritable. Everything feels hard to do. I am tired, but not because of physical exertion. Something is consuming me from the inside out. I would rather sleep to avoid these feeling, I want it to disappear. In such period I instinctively isolate myself. Suddenly I see everything pessimistically and hopelessly.
It is important that each addict prepares a plan for himself. What will you do when a crisis strikes. You should make a list of things you can do to avoid being stunned. You need alternative ways to regulate your emotions, through which you redirect your energy somewhere else where it doesn’t hurt you. Good examples are running, exercising, talking to a friend, walking in nature, talking to a mentor or therapist, talking in a therapy group, you can also write a diary or a blog. Because everyone is different, each individual must find out what suits them.
My first “safety valve” is running. I’ve been running since ever. When I was in a good or a bad mood, even during hospital treatment I ran a lot. Energy expenditure needs are different: sometimes I run for more than an hour, other times 20 minutes is enough. It has also happened to me that I already calmed down when I put on my running shoes. So far, I have tested myself in a marathon on 10km and 21km. Now that I am in the process of rehabilitation and I am more disciplined, I also have a new goal – I want to run 42km.
Calm running, which we perform regularly, is an extremely important part of rehabilitation. As Sanja Rozman says in the book Hell’s Swing:
˝Running is a rhythmical movement that is man’s most natural movement pattern. When we run slowly and don’t think about accomplishments, efforts, or self-overcoming, but lightly sway into the awaking morning, self-forgetfulness occurs. In such moments, the defense mechanisms can weaken and we experience contact with our soul or direct contact with nature.”
This is the highest goal of running in the process of spiritual transformation!
During treatment, we had daily morning and evening exercise at the hospital. Always at the same time. This has a positive effect on patients for at least two reasons. The first is a discipline that all addicts lack and without which spiritual growth is impossible. The other is health promotion through aerobic exercise.
Dr. Rugelj says:
“A treated alcoholic who will exercise in the morning will not violate abstinence that day. Before he starts drinking again, doubts and a drop in motivation will show up in him by not exercising regularly. Motivation is the main indicator of successful treatment.”
I concluded that the situation with treated gamblers is the same.
Regular daily exercise helps me a lot. I have put together an exercise schedule that I regularly monitor and correct. Being able to keep track of progress is very important, at least at the beginning of abstinence. The feeling of progress is crucial in raising self-confidence.
If we consider ourselves important enough, we will work towards well-being and health. A well-kept exercise record can serve as an aid in monitoring our emotional state. The deviations we see there may indicate an impending crisis, so we can take them as a warning.