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Body Scan –
I feel like I spend so much of my day disconnected from my body; ignoring hunger, remaining seated when my back or bottom are going numb in a session, wearing too tight shoes, pants, pony tails, etc, that this was awkward, at least initially. For me, the body scan was actually freeing and like a sigh of relief when I got to finally acknowledge these things. I especially noticed for the first time that part of what was freeing was that I wasn’t doing this as an attempt to fix it, just to acknowledge and accept it. By doing that alone, I relaxed a bit more into it and though the discomfort was still there, it didn’t seem like such a big deal, or bothersome, as something that really required my ongoing effort to intentionally work to ignore, only to eventually fail or resent. Accepting it took the intensity of any discomfort down enough to tolerate.
focusing on single object –
I found this activity to mostly be boring, but it was clear to me that accepting the boredom, the slowness, low/lack of simulation was the point for me, the place I could focus my intentions to help continue to bring myself back to it every time I considered quitting. I do think it is important to have given myself permission to start with shorter period of time, as if something generally unpleasant is on my terms, is something I invite, I am much more apt to accept and continue with it and actually get something out of it vs fight it the whole way and talk myself out of it as useful. I eventually became aware of being nice to use this intentionally employed “bored” moment in the midst of my very chaotic over stimulated afternoon. When I was done, I was very ware how refreshed I was upon returning to my work.
I actually used body scan today with a person I see for co-occurring anxiety and OUD. She was exploring how she has gained a significant amount of weight since stopping using opiates. She said she noticed how she is trading food for opiates, specifically ice cream, and has just kept eating more and more and more at each sitting to the point where today she said if it were opiates, she’d have overdosed. She identified she is using ice cream to meet all the needs she was using opiates to meet; reward, relaxing, taking a break, numbing, celebrating, etc. She had seen that earlier, but today it really freaked her out how she suddenly saw that she was continuing to do it and even escalating, despite how upset it made her, very much like her experience with opiates. Today was the first time she really made that connection on her own and it was her discovery that she feels the need to physically do something different, to invite the discomfort and learn how to be in it vs avoid it, not just intellectually decide to stop using, but learn how to prevent using, was how she put it. In session she agreed to practice body scan to begin to increase her awareness and acceptance of how she is feeling without using a substance to satisfy or numb it in a beginning effort to increase her awareness and acceptance of some levels of discomfort.