Regulating your emotions in recovery with SOP.

Image result for keller kirn parkI guess it's always been a struggle. These emotions are what I crave to control. For a decade I used drugs. It's kind of funny though. I remember tripping on mushrooms one day at Keller - Kirn Nature Park in Lancaster, Ohio telling some friends there how amazing life is. I wasn't running from anything. I was only trying to enjoy life to its fullest. It wasn't so much that I didn't like my life. I wanted to like it even more. I think that is the classic tell told tale from the likes of us. MORE. 

When something feels good, I want it as often as I can. When I first started using pills, I remember thinking they made me feel like a better version of me. I had more energy. I worked harder. I was more social with people. I felt, cool. Feelings. These feelings and emotions we have ruled my life.  

It took ten years for the "good" feelings to reap nothing but destruction. Over time, I began using the drugs in part to numb the mistakes made through my addiction. It flipped. 

The drugs became my emotions. My anger. My frustration. My love. My confidence. They were, everything. 

In rehab I began learning the  basics of how to live again. How to introduce someone. How to think through a problem. How to start a conversation. How to respond to failure. I also learned about feelings and emotions.

When I got out of rehab many emotions had to be re-felt.  I had forgotten what it felt like to make people proud, or to experience pride for myself. I had forgotten how to trust and how to love. I had to learn again how to be confident, without chemical stimulation. I also had to learn again how to manage emotions without drugs.  

Managing my emotions has become a Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) for me. I do certain things in a certain order to achieve the consistent results I want.

There are many ways I use SOP daily. Number one are my mornings. I want to leave my house, awake, positive, with clarity and energy for my day. This is a normal morning for me. 

Here is where I keep my vision, mission, and plan.
1) Get cleaned up (shower, teeth, dressed) (while I do this sometimes i listen to motivational videos)
2) Grab coffee and sit at my desk. (smoothie or bagel too sometimes)
3) 30 minutes of time with God in prayer, study, or meditation
4) Write 3 things I appreciate.
5) Remind myself what my vision and or mission is.
6) Plan my day including up to 3 tactics to use to get me closer to my vision or mission.

When I do these things I feel more awake and energized and I feel like I have a sense of direction. 

Having SOP for times of self doubt, criticism, sadness and specific situations is one of the most influential practices I've made in helping to regulate my feelings and emotions.

One more example is more mental. When someone criticizes us it hurts. Many times we want to respond defensive. Try slowing down and asking a series of questions like:
Does this person care for me?
Is this a true statement?
If I do what they say will it benefit me or others?

If the person cares for me than often the sting isn't as bad. Especially if it is true because I know they want to help. Next is to imagine you are doing the recommendation. Is it helping you be more kind, aware, or more efficient? Often these criticisms are opportunities for us to develop ourselves when we look into them honestly.

Now anyone can create SOP for themselves. It starts with a result and some effort in trial and error to achieve that result. I recommend starting out with your A.M. SOP. This alone will transform each day! 

The BA2L is real,
Be Addicted 2 Life,

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