You might of heard this time and time again or this might be your very first time hearing this statement. It took on a whole new meaning for me when dealing with Addiction. Put your own oxygen mask on first when dealing with a crisis or even just everyday life. On an air plane the flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on yourself first, in the event of an emergency, even before putting it on your children or helping anyone else. WOW WHAT A POWERFUL INSTRUCTION TO BE ASKED TO FOLLOW.
There really is no easy way to say this. I feel You have to do that when your Loved One is abusing substances and or dealing with a behavioral addiction. Even though that might not make sense right now. Even though it might sound wrong to you. Even though you might be saying as I did, “What are you crazy, things are out of control.” I encourage you to start this practice as soon as possible. Start with even the tiniest steps. Taking a bath instead of a shower. Sitting on the porch with your dog in the sun. Even the tiniest steps get you around the block.
The natural response is to put all your energy and resources toward helping your Loved One with their substance use disorder. A very normal response. Depending on the day that might be all you can do. Their substance use will take you down with it if you don’t get help for yourself. As a parent myself experiencing the effects of substance use disorder in my own life relating to my own Child, I would like to share that it is an intimidating, alarming, and quite overwhelming opponent than any parent is prepared for. GETTING HELP IS CRUCIAL.
The best way to help your Loved One is to help yourself too. Your pain tells you to isolate ( I have done that ) and keep your Loved Ones substance use a secret ( I have done that too ). Don’t do it. That could mean if your not ready to tell anyone that is okay, get yourself to some type of support group. Like for example going to a Smart Recovery Family and Friends meeting. Make your own mental health a priority. Educate yourself about substance use and addiction with the new science not the old ways of doing things.
Gaining understanding of what you are dealing with will give you the tools to support your Loved One who is struggling and for yourself too. You can help yourself by maybe joining some SMART Recovery 4 point meetings, finding a CRAFT Counselor, a Life or Family Coach (that’s me), and listen to stories of people in recovery. Listening to people in Recovery can be very powerful from a Podcast even. Read books on the subject. Keep trying until you find something that helps you and works for you. This is not a one size fit all type of situation. There is no single one way of doing things.
Unfortunately, substance use does not have a time limit. You don’t know how long it will last or when it will end. The only way to get through it and keep your life manageable is to do whatever it takes to put your own oxygen mask on first.
How I Put My Own Oxygen Mask on First?
It’s the things we do over and over that matter. I am so grateful that I put my own oxygen mask. This was hard and still is on some days honestly but I put it on first over and over, day after day because in times of crisis, I default to those habits. I found a meeting that worked for me. What worked for me you ask? A few different things. One of the biggest was going to SMART Recovery Family and Friends meetings and I still attend those meetings. I learned a different way of being and attended a whole lot of meetings and learned new coping skills. This way I did not have to rely on figuring out what to do to calm myself down. I just rely on what I learned and what I always do when there is no crisis that way I can default to the new behaviors and tools if there is one that arises. So please put your oxygen mask on first.
Tapping is something I do to help calm me down and it is a daily practice for me. It is one of my oxygen mask techniques. Want to learn more on how that can help you in your life? Give me a call or text me at 516-984-3756 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you well always.
Peace, Love & Tapping,