August 29, 2019
Summer is coming to an end, which means that a transition is approaching- small for some and more difficult for others. Kids and young adults are getting ready to go back to school, parents, are changing gears to a more regular schedule with their children in school and the season is shifting towards Fall.
Change. It is a constant in our lives, yet one of the hardest to deal with. We are creatures of habit, even if they are not healthy or maladaptive. Habits and routines give a false sense of order to a world and life that is beyond our control. Transitions and change can happen on a large or small scale, but either may be challenging to deal with. Some individuals may thrive with constant change, but struggle when life feels stagnant. Large transitions can include the loss of a loved one, becoming an empty nester, going to college, changing jobs, getting sober. Smaller transitions can include seasonal changes, schedule changes, getting a new roommate and more. Everyone differs with which type of transitions are the hardest, but it is important to find ways to cope with change.
One of the advantages of the In Home Addiction Treatment (IHAT) model, is that it offers the gift of time with a client. This year-long model allows the treatment team to support individuals through the inevitable transitions that occur in a year of early sobriety. When treatment is too time limited, it prevents treaters from observing and helping a client to figure out the best coping skills to deal with change in real time.
It is important to have a large repertoire of coping skills to help to embrace life’s transitions such as:
- Allow yourself time to adjust (carve time in for just being)
- Reach out for support from others experiencing the same experience
- Adjust your schedule to accommodate a new routine
- Practice mindfulness, observing thoughts without judgement
- Break the change down into small goals
- Be sure to practice healthy self-care: sleep, nutrition, etc.
- Increase therapy appointments or other forms of clinical support
- Increase mutual help group attendance and forms of social support
- Engage in spiritual practice
- Create a “new normal”
By Sarah Allen Benton, LMHC, LPC