I know it has been a reeeeally long time since I posted, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been hard at work on projects to feature in upcoming posts. So far I have completed the $250 craft room redo challenge and have begun working on other, smaller crafty projects. I am also in the process of developing capsule wardrobes, so stay tuned for more about that. It is taking me a bit longer on the capsule wardrobes because the project has taken me down the rabbit hole of figuring out my personal style, my best colors, and the different needs that my clothes have to fulfill.
In the meantine, I received this WONDERFUL guest post by Constance Ray through Recoverywell.org. I decided to add this guest post because her work embodies many topics that are near and dear to my heart. She talks about the healing power of mindfulness, the power of the human spirit to overcome addiction and other challenges, and the ability to find joy again in life even when circumstances are very difficult. I, myself, am a meditation practitioner. I used it off and on as a tool throughout graduate school and more recently I have been using it more regularly as a tool to continue healing from my cancer journey as well as the loss of my mother. I sincerely hope you enjoy the personal stories that Constance has shared in this post and feel as inspired by them about living a joyful life through self-love and finding balance. Life is full of ups and downs, but you and all of us are capable of managing these. Blessings, and have a PrettyJoyful day.
The Mind-Body Connection: How Two Addiction Survivors Healed Their Spirits
by Constance Ray
The connection between the body and mind is a powerful one. It’s hard to take care of your physical health when you’re feeling mentally weak, and it’s difficult to find the motivation to nurture your spirit when your physical self isn’t at its best. That’s why many people opt for a holistic approach to healing, one that addresses both body and mind.
Mindfulness and embracing the mind-body connection can also be extremely helpful in addiction recovery. Drug and alcohol addiction take extreme physical and mental tolls on those battling it — but there is hope for regaining strength throughout our entire beings.
And as Dean and Cori explain, the journey to recovery starts with mindfulness and embracing a sense of self.
Dean said that although he started experimenting with marijuana in his early teenhood, it wasn’t until he was 18 and his parents decided to divorce that his love affair with opiates began.
“My friends started taking Roxycontin [and] Oxycontin. I remember the very first time that I tried it,” he recalled. “I wish I could go back to that first day and tell myself what was going to happen to me if I took that pill. … I became addicted really quickly.”
Dean went through two different rehab programs, but again found himself a slave to drugs and alcohol — and he quickly realized that his continued substance use was due to feeling “hopeless” and overwhelmed.
He remembered, “Around 12 months into my sobriety, my parents were going through another divorce. … So, I started drinking and smoking weed again with the help of an unhealthy relationship I had with a girl. Within a few months, I was doing heroin again, too.”
At the end of his rope, Dean entered another treatment facility — and found the kind of healing he never knew he needed.
“At the Treehouse, I learned balance,” he said. “I learned that a balance of my mind, body and spirit was the key to unlock my brain. … I was working 12-, 16-, 18-hour shifts — often times 14 days in a row without a day off. My mind, body and spirit were unbalanced which pushed me into a depression, and that let me slip back into my addiction after almost having two years clean. The Treehouse opened my eyes to what life can be like in balance.”
Now confident in his sobriety, he has built a program that he turns to when he feels lost — and he says it helps him every time.
“I stick to my balanced program: Mind, body and spirit. I keep those three things in mind and I do what I need to do to fulfill those needs.”
Cori said she had a beautiful childhood that suddenly took a dark turn when she was a teenager.
“When I was 18, right before Mother’s Day, my dad confided in me that he was in love with someone else … and I had to keep the secret until he left my mom,” she said. “That’s when the emotional disconnect began. My dad and I stopped communicating. … My mom was so devastated she couldn’t get out of bed, and I ended up taking care of her.”
After graduating high school, Cori decided she needed a fresh start. She enrolled in college, where she began drinking and “dabbling in ecstasy.” By her second year, her hard-partying lifestyle caught up with her, and she dropped out of school. As hopeful as she was for another new beginning, she was soon wrapped up in another unhealthy — and ultimately, emotionally devastating — relationship.
“I started working at a restaurant and dating a bartender,” she said. “He was an alcoholic, and we drank heavily together. He ended up dying from alcoholism — and I participated in his drinking until the day he died.”
She explained that after living in an emotionally unbalanced state for a few years after her boyfriend’s death, she finally took the brave step of entering treatment — and found new ways to deal not only with the traumas of her past, but any new curveballs that life may throw her.
“I’ve learned to deal with life with new tools,” she smiled. “I do yoga, I journal, I go to therapy. I have the core tools that I need to stay sober, even when I am going through some very dark challenges in my life. … I’m present for [my son] now, not distracted thinking about getting drugs. I pray everyday, I do yoga everyday, and I journal. I’m focused on the outcome that I want for my life, and that keeps me going.”
Whatever challenges come our way, it’s important that we take care of our whole selves, and that starts with nurturing our emotional health. If you’re feeling lost or hopeless — whatever the reason may be — don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Once you’re feeling mentally healthy and strong, everything else will fall into place.