Sober Living: Halt Startup Stress & Maintain A Healthy Recovery
The fast-paced world of startups, Wall Street, and brokerage firms can cause stress and anxiety detrimental to recovery. Once sober you have a new look at life. It’s refreshing. You’re ready to return to work and crush it. You no longer have alcohol pulling you down, stealing your energy, and plotting your demise.
You’ve done everything your clinician, recovery coach, and support network at the sober living home have suggested, and now it's time to dig in and work.
Even though spending time away from the busy business world helped you learn to live life sober, you’re eager to return to your work life.
You talk about going back to work with your outpatient clinician and recovery coach because you just can’t take another day away from the office. You got sober. You're ready to attack work with new life and vigor.
In the world of business, dangerous situations are lurking around every corner. The business world is full of unexpected roadblocks, especially in regards to startups.
Managing a startup or the fast-paced lifestyle of Wall Street can create unwanted stress and anxiety. Of course, this is dangerous to your recovery.
Psychiatrist Micahel Freeman’s research found that entrepreneurs were 12% more likely to suffer from substance abuse than those working a regular 9 to 5. If you fear you are part of this 12% it's never late to seek help and take control of your life back.
What can you do to keep your system on track?
Before stress and anxiety sneak up on you and tempt you to head over to the open bar in the office, do periodic recovery systems checks with this simple plan.
Many people living life in recovery have embraced the HALT system to assure their needs are being met throughout the day. Once returning to the office performing your old routine might seem foreign.
The office might seem like the same feeling as sleeping in a new apartment. The first few nights everything feels out of place. Your sense hasn’t acclimated to the new feel of your residence. Sleep isn’t great. Waking up and using the restroom seems a bit strange, and moving around without the lights on is out of the question.
Of course, the office won’t seem this foreign, but addiction is cunning powerful and baffling. It will play tricks on you to make it look like you are losing control of the situation. It’s pertinent to recognize this feeling and understand that you can manage to make it without selling yourself short.
Planning to return to work looks great on paper, just like the idea for the startup your creating, but we've all heard of Murphy’s Law. What can go wrong, will go wrong. Plan for it. Stay on top of your recovery by using HALT.
HALT is the quickest way to do a systems check in recovery.
Create the habit of running through a systems check periodically throughout your workday to stay stress-free and healthy. Entrepreneurs expect to be under duress and anxiety. At times it stress can be a motivator, but more often, when left to its own devices it is more harmful. In recovery, stress and anxiety can lead to depression, negative self-talk, and bad feelings, which in turn create the urge and obsession to use.
Many entrepreneurs wear their anxiety and stress like a badge. Founders feel that are both financially and personally invested in their startup. Some deny their feelings, anxiety, and stress, so they don’t appear to be weak. One of the advantages of recovery is you've given yourself permission to not only feel and experience life on life’s terms. You have learned how to find the cause of a feeling and how to work through the emotion, so it is no longer dangerous to your sobriety.
Give yourself a break. Self-compassion assists you in creating positive habits. These habits will help alleviate the stress throughout the day. Anxiety is a common result of overworked and overwhelmed body and mind. Recognizing these feelings will help you take a step back and breathe before damage to your health takes hold.
Using HALT can be the difference between sustaining recovery and relapse.
Let’s take a look at some stressors and how using HALT can relieve anxiety and stress in early recovery
1- Hungry: Taking time to eat for proper nourishment
Maintaining long hours, overbooked meeting calendars, phone calls, and conversations with designers, programmers and marketing managers are stressful. Once back to the office it doesn’t take long for you to realize that you’ve overbooked your time. Consecutive meeting after meetings doesn’t allow for 10-minute breaks throughout your day. Overlooking the health benefits of proper nutrition is detrimental to sustained recovery.
Living on caffeine, fast-food, or eating whatever you can find on the run might satiate your hunger but it isn’t healthy. When you are stressed out its easy to eat unhealthily, grabbing a bag of potato chips, sweets, other processed foods, or to just forget to eat.
Taking a 20-minute lunch break to recharge and replenish your body has many benefits. Take the time to prepare a meal at home with your family several times a week and bring the leftovers in for the next day.
Not only will cooking nutritious meals with your family help you get the proper nutrition needed to stay energized throughout your hectic day, but it will also help you to satiate the hunger you crave for interaction with family and friends.
Emotional hunger is real and can leave you devastated. Addiction is isolating from the positive persons in your life; recovery is reconnecting with positive influence, family, friends, colleagues, and over support. Therefore, hunger can also mean a craving for human interaction, comfort, understanding, or care.
Regularly take time to examine how you are feeling and what need be met to ensure you’ve built your recovery to last. Eat well to replenish your body with the nutrition needed to maintain long workdays and human interaction to refuel the mind and spirit with connections.
2- The Ire of the fast-paced business world
Many executives feel it is their ire which creates drive and focus. It is true. Anger is not always dangerous, but most of the time can lead to anxiety and stress. Learning to manage your anger constructively takes time and practice. Unfortunately, many of us have never learned how to get the most from anger.
When not managed anger has the to turn into resentment or physical violence. Turning anger inward against yourself or display the emotion by belittling others, cursing, pouting, or physical abuse leads to dangerous situations guilt, shame, or resentment are following closely behind.
When you sense your emotions rising, its best to take a time out and breathe. When feeling well, practice sitting quietly. Learn your body’s natural rhythms. Having an understanding of the pace you want your body to return to is vital for proper anger management.
If you find it difficult to get yourself to take a timeout, walk away, and balance your energies practice with a recovery coach, sponsor, or resident from the sober living home you reside in. Take time learning how your body reacts to specific emotions, frustrations, irritations, and happiness. The more you understand your body, the easier it will become to step out of a situation and take a timeout when necessary.
3- Loneliness: Connect with sober support, family, and loved ones.
Networking events, meet and greets, and business meetings are not a replacement for sober support. Establishing the connections needed for a successful startup launch can cause you to want to isolate. Being surrounded by colleagues and other entrepreneurs day in and day out will never replace the love of family.
Long hours at the workplace might leave you wanting to not see another human for days, but it’s essential to connect with your support network often. Filling your calendar with appointments meetings and events don’t fill the loneliness you feel when you're away from your loved ones.
While actively using you isolated yourself from your loved ones. Your addiction recommends this of you so it free in your body and mind. While in treatment or in a sober living house you learned to understand how crucial it is to connect to a support network.
Loneliness creates a barrier between you and your loved ones. You might find it hard to open up and let people in, but it's crucial to develop a support system which accepts you for who you are, challenges you when you are slacking, and recognizes your victories in recovery.
4- Sleep? Sleep is often overrated in the startup world
Just like nourishment your body needs to rest, relax, and recharge. Sleep allows you to focus your energies on tasks at hand with vigor. We all have a tendency to avoid sleep especially when work needs to be done. Unfortunately, when startup stress and anxiety is knocking at your doorstep, sleep is always one of the first needs to be overlooked.
When you are depleted of energy and overwhelmed, you are at risk of relapse. Enforcing yourself to a strict schedule allotting for you to get the required amount of sleep you need is crucial to sustained recovery. Without enough sleep or nourishment, it is easy to get sidetracked and lose control.
Sleep is the first need replaced when stress and anxiety are present.
Research studies have linked lack of sleep to having horrible moods, lack of focus, slower thought processes, and comparable to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.1%.
Take breaks throughout the day. Walk away. Relax at specific times throughout the day to recover, restore, and rebuild your energies.
Use HALT and Succeed
Startup stress and anxiety is a real feeling. Being personally invested in your startup can create a barrier between yourself and your recovery. Taking the time to understand how you feel throughout your day can make the difference between recovery or relapse.
Now that you understand HALT find time to use it. It could be the saving through between you and relapse. You owe it to yourself, your star-up, family, clients, and team to live a healthy life in recovery. Staying sober is much more comfortable than getting sober so take the time to keep your stress in check and succeed.
Once you plan to push through and getting starting its pertinent to have a plan to keep your recovery in check. A pilot would never put the lives of his crew or passengers in jeopardy, so before he taxis toward the runway, a full systems check is always performed. Look at your recovery like a 747 and periodically throughout the day check your recovery by using HALT.