I believe that a very important part of getting over a relationship is in what you do AFTER it’s over. Many, myself included, have gone through (or are going through) severe withdrawal. But whether you’re the one who did the breaking up or it was imposed upon you, it’s essential that you replace all that energy and time you spent with your partner and redirect it to something healthy, and fast! Otherwise, you risk hurting yourself and sabotaging your dignity if you run back. So, it’s time, instead, to cleanse your system of the toxicity and prepare for a new life. But how?
Many of us institute what’s called “NC” or “No Contact,” and it’s exactly what it says: NO CONTACT with your person of addiction. In harsher terms NC simply means quitting your drug of choice and going through the unpleasant consequences of withdrawal.
This is extremely hard to do. The pain of going through withdrawal is often so severe that we sometimes run back to the PoA just to avoid this new pain. The pain of the relationship almost seems bearable compared to that of withdrawal.
But trust me, it’s only temporary!
And to take the edge off, you need to set goals and plan before you leap out of the relationship, or right after the relationship has ended. Your success depends upon it!
And, think about good ‘ol Chris Columbus. Do you think he just hopped on the Santa Maria to set sail for the new world with just his hat and compass? Heck no. He never would have made it. He knew his voyage was to last many months so he PREPARED, had a crew and loads of food to back him up.
Heading into NC is much the same. You need to plan. The better you are at taking care of yourself during this time, the more you have to fall back on, the less chance your attempt at NC will fail. Here are a few tips:
1. Exercise! I know, I know. You’re in pain and can’t get out of bed. But exercise is a proven mood enhancer. You need to force yourself to stay busy, and cardio is by far, at the top of the list for survival tactics. Find a gym, or get into a weekly exercise routine. Not only will you feel better and be distracted, but after withdrawal…you’ll be much healthier and maybe even have a killer body. 🙂
2. Have a hobby available to keep you busy, or two or three. A lot of addictive people claim that “working with your hands” is the best as it forces you to keep your mind on the task at hand.
3. Get ready to eat your favorite stuff. Addiction is Oral. Even love addiction. Stock up on “feel good” foods at least until you get through the initial withdrawal phase (if you are concerned about weight, make healthier choices, chew gum, sugarless lollipops etc.!) But right now is not the time to worry about putting on a *few* (and I mean few!) extra pounds. Your NC takes priority. You can lose the weight when you are feeling better.
4. Have friends and family ready to talk and listen. Make sure they know what you’re attempting so that you have extra support. If family members aren’t supportive, seek out friends or support groups; people who will understand what you might be going through.
5. Make plans, goals and activities that would NOT have included a partner (go to the movies by yourself, attend a concert, visit the bookstore, sit at a cafe and people-watch etc.)
6. If you can, go out and shop. Buy yourself something NICE. Remember to pamper yourself through withdrawal. The nicer you are to yourself and the more resources you have to get through withdrawal, the more SUCCESSFUL YOU WILL BE!
7. Go get a massage, a manicure, a pedicure…WHATEVER. My all time favorite: changing the color of my hair. Nothing too drastic. But enough to make me feel revived. A box of hair color at the grocery store is not expensive if you’re on a budget.
8. Get involved in a Netflix or HBO series, preferably a sitcom. Comedy is your best choice. It serves to distract AND lighten your mood.
9. MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT TURN YOUR NC INTO A BAD THING. You have a choice: you can think positively about what you are doing for yourself, or negatively. THINK POSITIVE. It’s a happy time. Not a sad time. You are NOT…I REPEAT NOT losing anything worthwhile. YOU ARE GAINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GAINING YOUR LIFE BACK.
10. Remember the Ten Minute Rule. It’s a SAFETY NET for those moments of intense craving. For example, whenever you feel the intense URGE to call or make contact, say to yourself, “first let me post this message on the LAA board” or “let me take a brisk walk for Ten Minutes.” Meditate, breathe, whatever you can do…do it for ten minutes. Cravings tend to pass within minutes and you will be OK again. I used to take a shower. Can’t check text messages in there!
11. Post here or on the recovery boards often. The LAA Recovery Boards are a support group created by Susan Peabody, author and foremost authority on love addiction. Someone WILL respond to you. Give it time. Perhaps you could make that your safety net when you have a craving. Post first and say, I will wait until someone responds to my post before entertaining the idea of contact. By then, the craving will most likely have passed and your logical brain will be better able to refocus on the importance of NC.
12. Practice the art of positive Self Talk. You MUST reaffirm, daily, your reasons and motivations for wanting to keep NC. The more you “brainwash” yourself into believing and understanding that NC is the ONLY WAY to go, you will be convinced. Tell yourself things like, “hang in there,” “I can do this,” “Keeping NC and staying away is an ACT OF SELF LOVE,” and “I am Worth it…”
13. Keep a journal. It’s one of the healthiest ways to cleanse your soul. To get to know who you are. To see, on paper, what you are feeling. Besides, it busts a crave! In your journal, keep a LIST of things you can do to keep busy. Fall back on this list if you find yourself fantasizing about your PoA, or bored or feeling “empty.” Make it a long list. You’re going to need the choices!
14. Some other distractions you can keep in your arsenal if craves/withdrawal gets bad:
- Take a shower ,
- take a nap,
- clean the house,
- leave your cell phone at home,
- go swimming,
- take a bath,
- call a FRIEND,
- make an appointment somewhere (salon, doc office, dentist, etc.),
- do crossword puzzles,
- play solitaire,
- go to the gym,
- ride your bike,
- bake a cake,
- paint something,
- write a novel,
- find a new job
- research your ancestors
- take photos
- learn an instrument
- take a class
- get your degree
- if you already have a degree, get a second one
- invent something
- learn how to budget your money
- watch all Suze Orman’s videos
- volunteer at a zoo or animal shelter
- join a political campaign
- research a foreign country…
Bottom line: STAY BUSY and KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE. You are doing a good thing for yourself. Getting through withdrawal is hard, but it’s a matter of determination and self conditioning. We’ve been through much worse pain than this. We can definitely handle a few months of withdrawal. IT DOES GET BETTER. YOU WILL FEEL BETTER. But you must see NC as a priority; something worth your time and effort.
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7 thoughts on “Plan out your “No Contact””
My POA dumped me after3 years. We have a 4 month old daughter together so NC isnt an option for me. I cant stop picturing him having sex with other women. it controls my existence. If he were to be with someone else i would def have homocidal thoughts. Its been 3 months since hes left me and im still mersable. I.cant accept that hes not the one, No one else will want me. He shoots me dwn everytime.but i cant stop begging him and threatening suicide. HELP!
It sounds like you are dealing with some pretty heavy thoughts and emotions and that you are in a lot of pain. But I want you to answer this one question: What’s more important to you? Suffering and remaining in turmoil, or getting healthier and feeling ALIVE and well again?
I ask this so I know how to help you.
Thats a good question and I want to answer as honestly as possible. With that being said I would have to admit that wile MOST of me wants to feel better and move past this, but sometimes I feel as if I suffer long and hard enough, he will have to live with his decision to leave. I know its absurd and ridiculous but a small portion of me feels like that “tragedy” you wrote about. Maybe if fall apart, lose my mind, or even my life, he will feel that guilt therefore keeping him from 100 percent moving on with his life because he “destroyed” me, he “used” me. There is no way for him to love his child and not be remotely concerned about my well being. I am ashamed of these thoughts…but I thought I should at least truthful to both you and myself-for once.
Thank you for your honesty. And many, many times in my past I have been on the fence like you are. One part of me wanting to be cured of all the pain, another, filled with rage and pain and hanging on to it for dear life because it was all I knew.
But you have a CHOICE. You can choose what “MOST” of you wants, which is to get healthier, or you can choose to let the toxic, angry, hurt child stomp her feet, have a fit, go into a rage and try to hurt herself or someone else. This may satisfy you on an impulsive level, giving you immediate gratification, but then what? Then you still have to deal with the consequences of your behavior and the reality of what is happening to you.
Am I right when I say that right now, you feel wronged. You feel abandoned. You feel “destroyed” and “used”? What if I told you that you are none of those things. Only that you are choosing to believe you are those things.
Please, please, please…keep reading. For now, ignore the small part of you that wants revenge. That wants to suffer. All the larger part of you to take over and focus on saving yourself. This is your job now. You are a firefighter. There is a burning building. It’s your job to save the scared little girl inside before the flames engulf her. That little girl is YOU. Don’t leave her alone right now. Protect her. Save her.
Honestly, while most of me desperately wants to move past this and heal, a small portion of me feels that if i suffer enough, he will feel guilty. I know it sounds absurd and ridiculous, but its sort of like that “tragedy” you wrote about. If I lose my sanity or even my life he will have to live with that….knowing that he “destroyed” me, that he “used” me. He shouldnt be able to be happy when Im in such pain
I want to get past this but sometimes I don’t feel I deserve to. I pushed him away. And then there are times when I feel as if I destroy myself he’ll feel guilty and come back to save me. Or if I finally commit suicide he’ll have to live his life with that weight.
Meaghan, I know how you feel. Or I can try to imagine. I used to think the same way. I used to want something bad to happen to me, so I could get the attention I craved. I was willing to hurt myself for love. But guess what I learned…that even when I did that, I NEVER, EVER got the response I wanted. No one ever loved me better or stayed with me because something horrible had happened to me. And, sadly, even if you died a horrible death, this person you love so deeply will move on and you will not be put on the pedestal you want to be put on. This kind of thinking is immediate gratification thinking. It TEMPORARILY makes us feel better. We want the other person to hurt as much as we do at this moment. But there is something far more powerful you could ever do to heal and to move on from this…and that is something I am guessing you’ve never tried before:
Recognize that if you get better–if you get healthier and build your self confidence and self-esteem and love yourself (JUST YOU FOR WHO YOU ARE IN ALL YOUR GLORY AND ALL YOUR HUMBLENESS) you win. In the end, you will win. And who knows what will happen to that guy. Right now, you are equal. You are both dysfunctional and toxic. But YOU…have the power to move beyond that.
Keep reading. Don’t give up. If you destroy yourself there is no winning. There is no peace. Challenge yourself. Love addicts are scrappy STRONG people. We’ve survived a lot. It makes us amazing people who can overcome hurdles unlike others.