These days a person cannot open social media or turn on the news without being bombarded by the rhetoric of the upcoming election. For many who live somewhere in the middle it can be a frustrating and confusing time. Despite one’s view point, when emotions are high and political polarization intense, keeping the course in recovery can be challenging. Even the smallest disagreement can turn into an emotionally charged argument and disrupt one’s place of peace while navigating sobriety. 

It has been mentioned many times that during the early stages of recovery, being mindful of and minimizing exposure to triggers is encouraged. Below are a list of steps one can take to ensure the political climate of our times does not disrupt one’s recovery. 

  1. Turn off the TV. Take ample time everyday to focus on yourself, your family, and your community. Connect to the outside world instead of the screen in your living room. 
  2. Avoid ongoing conversations that are political in nature. Having passion about one’s beliefs is important, and making it a mission to change others can lead to immense frustration and discord. 
  3. Limit time on social media. Just reading opposing views can bring up strong feelings of righteousness which lead to anger and resentment. Two dangerous states which can propel one into relapse quickly. 
  4. Dedicate yourself to your recovery. Instead of spending time discussing, arguing, or dissecting the current climate of our country, take the time to attend a meeting, engage with your recovery plan, or spend a moment with someone still struggling in their addiction. Connection is the ultimate antithesis to relapse. And healing others takes us out of our own heads. 
  5. Mindfulness is key when dealing with difficult emotions. It takes five minutes to walk outside, place your feet on the ground, take a deep breath, and notice something of beauty in your environment. These five minutes will easily pull you from negative emotions and decrease the need to argue or act out in any manner. 
  6. During times of mindfulness it is also encouraged to focus on your gratitudes. Speak out loud at least three things you are grateful for and write them down as a reminder. Carry this with you throughout the day as a way to bring you back into grace. 
  7. If you have a friend or loved one with differing beliefs, challenge yourself to listen and not respond when they are speaking. This is a great practice in acceptance and compassion. We can still care for others who do not mirror our views. 

The most important thing to remember is no matter what is happening in the world, the environment, and the community, not a person, thing, or circumstance is important enough to take away your recovery. The more grounded and aware you are of the visceral reactions from outside forces, the more confident you become in being able to manage your emotional reactions when they arise.