A Women's Guide to Holistic Well-Being in Prison: Recovering from Substance Abuse and Addiction Issues
USING INCARCERATION AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DEAL WITH ADDICTION
Stay encouraged! Your time behind bars doesn’t have to be the worst experience of your life. Tammy Franklin, a former prisoner who oversees the Prison Fellowship Academy® inside an Oklahoma women’s prison, suggests that this time could be your best. She says, “Look at this time as a gift. Use this time to see how to overcome the hurdles that brought [you] here in the first place.” Recognize that your issues—especially addictions—are rooted in some deeper need.
Prison can be the place where you learn to view yourself, your situation, and your time through a different, healthy lens. It’s all about perspective. Are you ready to shift your focus?
4 COPING STRATEGIES THAT HELP WITH RECOVERY
You’ve heard other women’s success stories, but how will you begin your road to recovery?
Transparency and honesty are important. Secrets only prolong your recovery and healing. It’s best to own up to your bad choices so that you can begin coping with your addiction in healthy ways. When you release your shame and guilt, you’ll make room for something beautiful to happen: recovery.
STRATEGY ONE: ART
Art helps with recovery by allowing women to process their emotions in a nonthreatening manner.
STRATEGY TWO: IDENTIFY TRIGGERS
A trigger is anything that causes you to remember a previous traumatic experience, and in turn, have a strong emotional reaction that has you running to your addiction. Consider making a list of triggers you’ve experienced. When you know what they are, you can usually make plans to avoid them or deal with them in a healthier way.
STRATEGY THREE: MINDFULNESS MEDITATION
Mindfulness teaches you to focus on what is happening around you in the moment. You focus on what you’re doing, whom you’re with, where you are, and what you’re feeling. Try repeating these words three times while paying attention to your breathing: “May I be filled with love and kindness. May I be safe. May I be well. May I be peaceful and happy.”
STRATEGY FOUR: GROUNDING
Grounding can be used to help to reduce anxiety. These are five steps of grounding that you can practice when you’re feeling stressed and anxious:
- Look for five things that you can see around you.
- Find four things you can touch around you. Pay attention to the way they feel.
- Listen for three things you can hear around you.
- Pay attention to two things you can smell around you.
- Find one thing you can taste around you.
End this exercise with a long, deep breath. Inhale through your mouth slowly while counting to five, and then, exhale slowly through your mouth while counting to five. Focusing your senses on what’s around you helps you gain self-awareness and helps you push out unhealthy thoughts.
THIS IS NOT THE END OF YOUR STORY
You are not defined by your worst decisions. Most women alongside you are going through the same thing. This can be your turning point.
In the Women’s Prison Survival Guide, you’ll find more tips and resources that promote a healthier lifestyle.