LETTER TO A STRESS ADDICT
Regarding stress and anxiety that manifest in a physiological condition such as you are experiencing, there are many options you have in how you decide to deal with it. I did a GOOGLE SEARCH for STRESS THERAPY in your town and I texted you the link that came up. If you would like to visit someone with whom you can have an impersonal relationship, someone with whom you have had no prior contact, then a good therapist is your answer. Of course there is the cost factor to consider. Many therapists will take insurance.
When I discovered I was an alcoholic, I was told there were many “treatment centers” and “therapists” that could treat the addiction, with my willingness of course to follow their protocol. Of course, I did not go to a treatment center or a therapist for my addiction, but rather went to A.A voluntarily.
Alcoholics Anonymous, which is a 12 Step Program of recovery, is a support group for individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction. It was the right thing for me. It did not cost me anything except my willingness to work the program of recovery. I attended meetings daily for seven years. I also engaged the services of a psycho-therapist in my second year in A.A.
Out of A.A. sprouted other recovery groups; Alanon, CoDependents Anonymous, Alateen, Narcotics Anonymous, Nicotine Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Workaholics Anonymous, just to name a few.
The point is that these groups grew out of a need of individuals who suffered from specific addictions. Whether you know it or not, stress and anxiety ARE addictions.
You may find it surprising if I told you that if you suffer from stress, and this has been confirmed for you, then it means you are addicted to stress and anxiety.
You are a stress addict.
If you are addicted to worry, you are a worry addict. But you are not alone.
In fact, when you read this your stress and anxiety will kick in, which proves my point.
Maybe you will conclude, “Well, stress is not an addiction. I am not addicted to stress,” and I would call that denial. If you think you are not addicted to stress, then drop it, end it right now. If you see that it is not that easy, then you may be ready to work on ending your addiction to stress. And it does require work.
I am not sure, however, that there is a 12 Step Group for stress addicts.
What I am saying is that the 12 Step recovery program that is the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous, that is used for other groups and other addictions, can be applied to the addiction to stress. It then only logically follows that the SAME RECOVERY PRINCIPLES that work for alcoholics, that worked for me, can also work for stress addicts and therefore can work for you also.
What I practiced in A.A. to end my addiction to drinking can work for you.
In A.A. there are five basic things the individual must do when he or she first decides to do something about their addiction that will free the individual from his or her addiction if practiced on a daily basis.
1. Do not drink.
2. Go to A.A. meetings daily.
3. Find a sponsor who has some time in the program.
4.Work the 12 Steps of recovery with a sponsor.
5. Share your experiences with the addiction and recovery from it with another who still suffers.
Of course, for a stress addict, this is difficult because stress is psychological and not physiological. You cannot put down stress like an alcoholic can put down a drink. You can not just NOT stress as easy as an alcoholic can temporarily suspend his temptation to take a beer. But the stress addict CAN SEE he is stressing or entering a stressful situation and head it off.
He CAN go to meetings, even a meeting that is not a formal setting. Meeting someone in an email chat can be a meeting.
He CAN find a sponsor who has worked on his or her recovery.
He CAN work the 12 Step recovery program and apply it to his stress.
He CAN share his stress experiences and recovery from them with others who are still stressing and have no solution to it.
So I am volunteering my services to you, if you wish, to provide to you support and encouragement if you are ready and willing to apply the 12 Step program of recovery to your stress.
We can communicate by email. I will keep our correspondence between us confidential, just as a therapist would keep confidential anything you share with them.
I charge nothing for my services because it is what keeps me sane. It is what A.A. calls “service to others”.
I have developed some journaling exercises over the years, based on the 12 Steps of A.A. that can be applied to your stress and anxiety. I can send them to you as a hard copy or in an email. They are daily journaling exercises you would do on a daily basis.
Alcoholism is a disease of mind, body and soul, but the root is in the subconscious mind. NOT drinking does not cure alcoholism. Alcoholism is not caused BY outside circumstances or people. It is TRIGGERED BY them. A person is not content with a person or situation, and he finds alcohol can take that discontent away. He goes to drink. The person or situation did not make this person drink or become an alcoholic. The internal discontent did, and the discontent is exacerbated BY drinking, because drinking causes physiological damage, as well as psychological damage. The alcoholism is internal. Therefore the alcoholic must go back to the SOURCE OF the alcoholism, within himself, or herself, in order to heal him or herself from it.
Stress and anxiety are in the subconscious mind. They are not caused BY outside circumstances or people. Removing yourself from your perceived stressful situations, or taking a vacation, or taking medication and supplements will not end the stress. They are mere temporary expedients, like a bandage on a wound. Stress and anxiety are TRIGGERED BY outside circumstances. The stress is internal. Therefore you must go back to the SOURCE OF the stress, within you, within your subconscious mind where it lives and thrives, in order to heal yourself from it.
The 12 Steps of A.A. are designed to do this.
Consider what I have offered and reply as you feel you wish.
For your perusal, I have included the 12 STEPS OF RECOVERY as they apply to alcoholics and A.A.
In STEP 1, you can substituted the word ALCOHOL for STRESS.
THE TWELVE STEPS
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol (STRESS) - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics (other stress addicts), and to practice these principles in all our affairs.