Beliefnet
The Celebrity Therapist

brokenAs codependents, many of us grew up in households that were dysfunctional and traumatic. In order to cope, we developed survival skills that would carry us into adulthood. We continued to use those survival skills, even when it was plain for anyone to see they weren’t working. It’s not just something we can stop doing – it’s a compulsion that we created to cope with the trauma when we were children. We react to things rather than take our time to think and take a positive action. Oftentimes, overreacting was the only way to have our voices heard. We didn’t know how to articulate our needs as kids, so we learned early on to make noise when we needed something.

Before recovery, I overreacted about everything, big and small. I would find myself blowing up over the littlest thing. Can you think of a time that you overreacted? What was it about? What was the other person’s reaction?

One of my favorite tools to stop reacting is paying attention to my feelings and triggers. When we pay attention to these, we can find out which situations are more likely to trigger us, and we can work on it. When you react next, try to pay attention to how you are feeling. What set you off? Write it down. Find out why that particular situation triggers you if you can.

Another aimportant tool I have found useful is counting. Choose whichever number works for you and count to it in your head when you feel yourself overreacting. Stop, take a breath, and think about how you are acting and what you are saying. The goal is to act (take action) instead of react. It’s hard work, but the payoff of healthier relationships is so worth it.

 Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/

stressThe holidays are a very challenging time for many people. There are extremely high expectations that everything is going to be perfect, people are going to get along and there will be overwhelming good will towards others.

Some people hold the Martha Stewart or Pinterest impression of the season. Everything has to match, have a holiday theme and be just so. The result is hours of planning and second-guessing in an attempt to have the perfect dinner party or gathering.

The reality is that the holidays can be financially stressful, emotionally stressful and mentally stressful. Often the pressures to make the season perfect creates a minefield of problems for people. Adding alcohol to the equation to try to “relax and unwind” can result in even more drama and complications.

Many individuals with social anxiety, depression or low self-esteem use alcohol as a form of self-medication. It allows them to feel as if they have “loosened up” and are being fun, entertaining and socially engaging. This feeling of being the life of the party soon degenerates into being obnoxious, angry and hostile and ultimately creating even more drama.

Then, to make matters even more complicated, there is a constant feeling of being judged for many people. This may be internal or more external with abrasive and challenging family members overtly criticizing and comparing. For those already struggling with challenges this season it can lead to more stress, anxiety, depression and perhaps the use of alcohol as an escape.

Stress Relief

For anyone with concerns about stress levels over the holiday season, being proactive and planning events or activities at your comfort level will be critical. Additionally, blocking off your calendar for “you time” and then accepting events that work into your schedule allows you to remain in control.

This also means having a way to say “I’m sorry, I can’t make it; I have something already on my calendar” when you find yourself overbooked or overwhelmed. Booking time to do the things you want to do and what you enjoy over the holidays will decrease your stress levels and allow you to have control.

Day Events

Evening events and more formal and elaborate dinners and parties are a lot more stressful than day types of events and gatherings. Instead of planning an elaborate dinner party, consider a lunch or a brunch that allows you to serve non-traditional foods and beverages that are your favorites.

Having events in the day is also a good option to reduce family drama, particularly if the drama tends to be more problematic with alcohol. Lunches or brunches can be matched with hot apple cider or a wonderful Christmas punch that is non-alcoholic.

It is also much less likely that guests will bring alcohol to a daytime event as opposed to a dinner. This allows you to control the alcohol at the lunch, brunch or event without adding to your stress.

Start Your Own Traditions

To avoid stress over trying to create the perfect holiday, why not develop your own family holiday traditions? This can be something completely different such as doing holiday volunteer work in the community or perhaps planning a family game night with everyone invited to bring their favorite board game.

Make the holiday season your own. Avoid getting caught up in the quest to provide the perfect Christmas or holiday festival and do things that you enjoy with your family. Having fun, laughing and enjoying the company of people you love is the best stress relief possible over the holiday season and throughout the year.

 

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/

typoramaHi everyone! Today I want to tell you about a project that I’ve been working on that I hope you’ll join us for!

November 14-18, we will be holding the 4th Annual Recovery Today Online Conference!  All you have to do is visit www.recoverytodayseries.com – and the best part is it’s free! Anyone can join, and you can listen at anytime that’s convenient for you. The link you receive will be active for 24 hours, and you will receive a new link each day.  Lastly, 8 Continuing Education credits will be given for participation in the conference.

Each year, we find some of the best names in the addiction, codependency, and recovery fields to share their experience and knowledge with anyone that wants it.  Some of the topics include mindfulness, emotional sobriety, addiction compounded with celebrity, chronic pain and substance abuse, self-care, self-love, and our very own In the Rooms expert, Kyczy Hawk will be talking about Yoga and Recovery and there will be many others. Our website has the full list of presentation subjects, as well as who will be handling each one. This year, we’re proud to welcome the following contributors to the seminar:

In the Rooms Expert Kyczy Hawk

Noah St. John

Kim Serafini

ThomRutledge

Dawn Nickel

Julie Renee

Allen Berger, PhD

Peter Przekop D.O., PhD

Thérèse Jacobs-Stewart

Pat O’Brien

Brenda Schaeffer

Rosemary O’Connor

Susan Pierce Thompson, PhD

Holland Haiis

There is going to be a lot of recovery and a lot of issues will be addressed during this conference.  My goal for this conference is to help you authentically reach your full potential, raise your awareness and wake up to your aliveness. I am so proud to bring it back for the 4th year in a row, and I hope you all will join me.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/

good-luck               Hi everyone.  Today I want to talk about the idea of enjoying the good days.  I know it sounds like a simple, self-explanatory topic, but for a lot of us, it can be a daunting thing to have a good day!

For a long time, as love addicts and codependents, we lived in fear and misery.  Nothing was going right in our lives.  We tried to control, but the chaos just grew stronger.  We felt let down by others, and by our higher powers, and also by ourselves.  For some of us, it may have taken a long time to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Because there is one.

Recovery is not something you go into to find a cure to make yourself magically better.  It is a lot of hard, emotional work, and for that reason we each take it at our own pace.  A lot of days are struggles, and many of them do not fall under the category of good days.  But the beauty is that we start to actually have good days.  Before, we had no good days.  Now, we find that we are having one or more a week!  It’s thrilling.  But it also comes with anxiety.

For us, good feelings might not have lasted long at all.  Whenever we had a good feeling, or a good day, or had something really wonderful happen, it was following by the proverbial other shoe dropping.  We have been trained to expect dark after the light, rather than the light after the dark.  It’s a hard habit to break, and one that I still find myself doing here and there.  None of us are perfect!

But we should celebrate our good days!  For one, we can celebrate that we have them.  And two, it will help us see that a good day is a good day, and a bad day after it doesn’t have to spoil my good day today.  We can take it one day at a time, and enjoy our good day.  When we let anxiety cloud our good times, we lose out on enjoying the good.  It’s scary to have a bad day, but it is just that – a bad day.  There will be another day after it, and it may be great!  By savoring our good days, we can have something to look forward to.  We know that they are possible!  And we can see them happen more and more as we work through our recovery.  Good days don’t have to be daunting – they can be just that – a good day!

 

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/

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