Protecting Yourself Better–Relapse Prevention Strategy 101

iStock_000022766206_SmallProtecting yourself better is an essential in recovery from addiction and codependency. In fact, it really is the essence of what a good relapse prevention plan is all about. However, taking better care of yourself in recovery can feel not only like a full-time job but like you’re working extra shifts, too! Still, it’s critical and has to be done to maintain the gains you make as you step away from a life of active addiction or active codependency. The good news, however, is the more you do it, the better you get at it. Like the habits that you developed over time in the problematic areas of your life, the recovery process is a matter of developing other healthier habits. As ‘easily’ as you grew into active addiction or active codependency, you can grow into a happier, healthier and more successful life. Plus, the longer you stay at it, the more into recovery you get, the less self-protection and self-care seem hard or difficult to employ.

On the Issue of Politeness and Toxicity

It’s surprising how many people give away their self-protection for the sake of politeness. If it sounds odd to you, you’re not alone, however, many of us sabotage our own well-being because we don’t want to offend someone. Of course, courtesy is always important, but many of us have erroneously learned that we should never assert ourselves, or even stand up for ourselves when things are going terribly wrong in our direction. It seems to be a very common issue among those of us who grew up in toxic families and who have made toxic relationships with toxic people later in life, too.

Safety First, Especially in Toxicity

It’s always important to put your physical and psychological safety first and in relationships with toxic people, this may be far easier said than done. If you find yourself overwhelmed, bullied, taunted, or in some other compromising position because of another’s behavior, you are definitely in a toxic situation. No matter what the issue, if it’s a one-time thing or a horrible pattern, you need to step back and assess what is happening. Stepping back is your first line of defense–just a natural as backing away from actual toxic waste. Just take a few moments to catch your breath, perhaps excuse yourself to the bathroom and do some deep breathing. You might even phone a trusted support for a reality check. Once you’ve removed yourself from the fray, you can think better and de-escalate any emotions that were rising. Keep in mind that you do not have to remain anywhere things aren’t comfortable or safe. You also do not have to explain your needs in depth to anyone. Your first concern is to get to safety. From there, you can do other work.