Working in the homeless sector for most of my life, many of my clients also faced addictions. These addictions were of various nature, but including, drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs, even addiction to crime and anti social behaviour, also co-dependency in an abusive relationship.
I first read the book by Allen Carr ‘The Easyway to quit smoking’ about 30 years ago and over many years. I thought that his model was perfect, and what he said about quitting smoking in this tiny book, made perfect sense to me. I applied the same method when working with people with addictions. Also, when trying to quit smoking, on my office wall, I stuck a photo of a guy injecting himself with a needle, with nicotine. My clients often laughed, those who were on a methadone script and quitting hard drugs, would often say
Ooh No way could I quit smoking Nik, it’s my only vice
I often found it amusing, how they could be successful on their programme to quit heroin or crack cocaine, but thought the idea of quitting tobacco, was just too hard to do. Of course, this is all about perception of the mind. We are what we think. The mind can be more powerful than we are. What we think, can really drive what we do, and how successful we are at ‘what we do’.
We all know that smoking isn’t good for you. But many people smoke, for no other reason than the addiction. They might tell themselves that they enjoy it, and it relaxes them, but really this isn’t true. They smoke for one reason, addiction.
Sticking to the No contact rule is the same thing, and the same principles apply.
Firstly you need to have a reason to quit. Sometimes, you don’t have a choice if your abuser leaves you. When this happens, you might feel stuck in limbo, waiting for your crazy ex to contact you, and offer closure. If this is you, please read the article, why you will never get closure from a sociopath, to understand why closure isn’t something that sociopaths give (this would require them thinking of someone other than themselves). Sociopaths always think ME FIRST, not just sometimes, but all of the time.
To quit in the easiest way possible, you need to do the following
- Have a reason to quit
- Set a date for quitting
- Understand that at first you are quitting an addiction, so try to get through the initial pain barrier
- Write a plan to get through the initial difficult stages
- Expect that you might feel strong, and then weak again. If you do period of weakness, or a strong pull to relapse, this is absolutely normal. What this isn’t, is a reason to return to your abuser! Try instead to put a reward system in place (have you ever seen sticker reward charts for children?) – of course, grown ups require rewards, that are more substantial than stickers, so reward yourself with something that makes you feel happier. Now is the time for treats, not further punishment.
The importance of rewards
It is important when focusing on no contact, to reward yourself. I want you to understand that the no contact rule is for a good reason. It isn’t to punish the sociopath, neither is it to punish you. The purpose of sticking to no contact is:
- To stop the abuse
- To regain control of your life
- To undo brainwashing and mind control
- To bring focus and attention back to you
- To rebuild your life, and start moving forward
- To let go so that you can grow
Working with clients with addiction, it was important to write a plan.
- What do you want to achieve?
- How are you going to achieve it?
- What measures are you going to put into place, to achieve your goal?
- What is your time frame?
- How will you know that you have succeeded? – how will you reward yourself along the way?
All through the process, it is never about holding your breath, and hoping that there will be a magical day that you will feel better. If you do this, it will take far longer, and one day you will grow tired of holding your breath, and could break no contact. Not having a plan, puts you at risk of breaking no contact. Not having a plan, makes no contact more difficult. Not having a plan, increases the likelihood of failure.
What do recovery plans look like?
A recovery plan, is about bringing the focus back to YOU!
- What do you want to achieve?
- Where do you want to be?
- What do you want your life to look like?
- Where do you want to be6 months- 1- 3-5 years from now?
- How are you going to get there?
- Do you have old skills that you can use to help you to rebuild?
- What of your old life do you want to bring from your past, and what would you like to let go of?
- What/who makes you feel happy? (and not the sociopath, or ANY socio related activity!!! I am sure that you had happy times before meeting the psycho loon that invaded your life)
Rewarding yourself is important, and an important part of the plan. It would dependent on the type of sociopath that you have dated, not all are financial parasites, some are high functioning ones who pay for themselves, and use money to pay for you and own you. If you dated a low functioning one who saw you as their financial bank, immediately you should feel financial gain, as they are no longer living off of you. Maybe you were isolated – so now is the time to rebuild social networks, to get back into work. Did you face huge losses? If so, now is the time to rebuild.
LET GO OF FEAR – THE PERSON WHO DESTROYED YOUR WORLD IS NOT THE PERSON TO HELP YOU REBUILD!
It took me a long time to get this part through my head. At one point, my thinking was so far off beam, I thought that perhaps this had happened to me, to write this website! – I know… I know….
I lived in constant fear. I believed lies that were told to me. The biggest lie of all, was that I told myself that I NEEDED the sociopath.
I didn’t. He needed me more than I needed him.
The work on this website, is true. The posts about healing and recovery, are also true. I sometimes wondered, and asked myself
Did I have any right offering this advice and support, when my own life wasn’t yet rebuilt?
Yes, I did. I did, as looking back now, what I did (eventually), was exactly what was written in posts on this site. This was what I knew worked when working with clients for decades. I had seen results, over and over.
What if I relapse?
RELAPSE IS NOT FAILURE. YOU WILL ALWAYS LEARN WITH EACH FAILED QUIT. When you quit again, it will be far easier. Each failed quit, is a pathway to success not failure. Of course if you quit first time, fantastic. But realistically you are not the sociopath. You are a person with real feelings and emotions. Sociopaths have no real emotions, you do. So it WILL hurt, and sometimes that pain can seem overwhelming. The bigger the heart, the more difficult it can be. Yes, it hurts. But you need to know that breaking with no contact, will only hurt more. The patterns WILL repeat. Only this time, it will repeat quicker. Then swiftly you regret your decision.
IF YOU RELAPSE DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP!!!
- See it as a bereavement
- Give yourself time
- Reward yourself
- Small steps – take it one day at a time
- REWARD YOURSELF
- Make plans for the future and work towards those plans
- YES it is all about you!
- If you relapse, forgive yourself, you will soon want to quit again
Finally, and most importantly…….
Remember that it is always 20 (maybe more) times easier to return than it is to leave them!
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