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How to Stop Yourself from Spiraling

December 14, 2022
How to Stop Yourself from Spiraling

The question I’m going to answer today is one I get a lot.

First, let me say before I tell you the question, when families arrive at Tipping Point™ Recovery, they have had it. 

Families that show up here are at the end of their ropes. 

They’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.  

The chaos has gone on for way too long, meaning their loved one is struggling with addiction and they’ve all been on that roller coaster of chaos that is addiction in a family. 

So families, when they show up here, have begun to identify that they themselves are also stuck in an unhealthy cycle of chaos. 

The question I get often is → 

How do I get out of this chaos? 

How do I stop spiraling? 

How can I help my loved one but keep myself out of chaos?

Like literally and specifically, what do I do to stop spiraling in this moment?

So before I get to the answer, it’s great news that you catch yourself in this state because in order to create change, you first have to identify where you are. So knowing that you are stuck and in chaos is a good thing. I believe it needs to be celebrated because it’s awareness that is valuable. 

Awareness is the first step. 

Allow me to explain.

Prior to this awareness, most of us are just been putting up with and tolerating something that isn’t working. We have become accustomed to accommodating, tolerating and absorbing, and you don’t need to do that!

Make sense why it’s cause for a small celebration?

This is the moment that you can create change. 

You know, the Serenity Prayer says “…courage to change the things I can…” Well, this is what you can do! 

What is most amazing to me about families beginning to create change for themselves is not only will this improve your own daily life, but it will also give your loved one a much greater chance of finding recovery, because when you change the circumstances around them, when you stop accommodating and tolerating, they will change.

So let’s get into it. Here are the concrete things I suggest people do to stop spiraling: 

The first thing you need to do is observe that you’re spiraling.

Name it.

It’s as simple as just saying out loud, “I’m spiraling.” You can think it. Call someone and tell them, “I’m spiraling and I’m going to break this cycle.”

When you’re in our programs, we say go right to the private Facebook group and out yourself. The number one thing is to acknowledge it, see it. 

The next thing I like to do is vocalize. 

For me, I need to say something to change the spiral of thinking. This might be, by the way, in the middle of a conversation with someone. I take a deep breath and say, “Okay,” or I say, “I need a minute.” Something to stop myself in my tracks for a moment. If you’re alone, you could shout and scream, like in your car or in a pillow. 

Observing and noticing that you are spiraling in your thoughts and actions and then calling it out verbally will begin to allow you to step back from that energy you were caught up in so you can adjust and recalibrate. Vocalizing, for me, allows for a necessary transition of what I like to think of as a bridge from the chaos to a new calm place

The next thing I do is move my body. 

This is a must. 

Now, you can certainly do these three things in a different order; if you really feel pulled to move your body first, that works. 

Our bodies are wired to fight or flight when in danger. However, when our mind senses trouble, our bodies will react to the trouble and the mind won’t know the difference between being chased by a lion (a real threat) or being yelled at by someone who is drunk or high (annoying and frustrating but not typically the danger that a lion chasing you is). So the thing that’s happening is your mind goes into overdrive and your DNA fixates on worrying about someone or being angry or hurt. Those are all things that you were designed to do as human beings. 

So in order to break the circuit, we have to interrupt the pattern by moving our body. Whether by putting your bare feet on the ground outside, dancing hard to rock and roll, using a punching bag or stretching into downward dog. 

These steps have become habits of mine to break the circuitry and interrupt the negative pattern. Dancing, moving my body, stretching with deep breathing. 

Observe it. 

Name it.

Move it. 

Then, and only then, can you begin to create new habits and new patterns. 

So this is literally just a quick teaching on how to stop spiraling in the moment. That’s what I do. And you can do this 20-30 times a day if you need to. As many times as it takes.

You’re worth it!  You can get out of the spiral of negative thinking, of worry, of obsessively trying to control someone around you. 

Remember, this is a practice. Many of us have become hardwired to operate in this unhealthy pattern. 

So be patient with yourself. 

This is a practice just like recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is a practice.  

One day at a time. 

It does get better, I promise. Start here. You’ll feel the immediate effect. You don’t need to be spiraling; it isn’t helping you or anyone else. So let us help you stop spiraling. 

I’ll be curious wherever you’re seeing this video, put a comment let me know how it works for you. Send us a direct message. How’s it going with you stopping the spiraling? 

You can do this. 

I’ve got you.

Kate

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2 Comments

  1. Charity

    I want to practice this. But I was taught optics matter. My mom covered up my father’s addiction so well that I didn’t even realize he had an addiction til after he had passed for 10 yrs. She still won’t admit it. Then I believe that gave me the disadvantage of falling into the same type of relationship. Which I did. My husband of 10 yrs is an alcoholic. A functional one, and she tells me I just need to be nicer to him and he will stop drinking. That statement alone, makes me spiral. So when my husband is on a binge. Which is at least 4 out of 7 nights. I’m trying to not engage and be my best self for my kids. To protect them from him. Which is almost impossible. I try not to spiral, but I don’t always catch myself until it’s too late. I don’t have the space to move my body as we have a small 3 bedroom house. He passes out in our living room every night. I feel like every thing he does related to drinking right now makes me spiral, seeing his hands shake, because he says he won’t be affected physically by all the abuse he has done to his body( my dad died of liver and pancreatic cancer from drinking)won’t happen to him. And watching him waste our already tight budget on cigarettes and alcohol everyday when he’s complaining about me spending money on the kids or groceries. That also seems to trigger me. I feel like the spiraling goes through almost phases where I am better at times and then worse at others. I hope someone understands my ranting.

    Reply
  2. Phyllis Shumard

    Oh man am I glad I opened this email today! Although I’ve been dealing with this for years, I am so much better than I used to be. However, some recent events have brought some of this anxiety and panic back to me. I haven’t tried the body movement (I have the others down!) and I’m going to incorporate this starting today. Thank you so much! I’ll take all the help I can get!

    Reply

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