Light shines through barred window into dark room

Excerpt: A Harm Reductionist’s Guide to Dealing with Despair 

Check out the full post by Sarah Suzuki posted on Medium.

All of us are suffering from co-occurring crises. As you enter the holiday weekend and move through this summer of despair, here are some guidelines to help you navigate through while minimizing the negative consequences:

  1. Don’t let a binge turn into a bender. When something terrible happens, limit drinking and drug use to one day, and avoid multiple days in a row of drinking and drug use.
  2. Let people know you’re not at 100% bandwidth. People can feel it when you’re compromised. Be honest about your needs. Your openness may help someone who is secretly struggling, who will feel less alone when you share.
  3. Observe your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Gently notice the toxic “shoulds” and “oughts.” You can’t STOP your thoughts, but mindful observation will help you move more gently through them.
  4. When you start venting or obsessing about “those people” who are “not me,” pause to nurture your scared inner child. We separate ourselves from whole groups of people when we are living in fear. Underneath the survival-based fear of “us versus them” is a terrified child. Take a moment to pause. A good parent doesn’t yell when their child is scared. Practice healing yourself by giving yourself small gifts of care as you can tolerate it.
  5. Remember that it’s ok to not be ok. All of us are human; we can, do, and will fall apart at times. It’s ok to feel like a mess, to feel overwhelmed. Allow yourself the space to really feel what is coming up for you.

Read the full post on Medium: A Harm Reductionist’s Guide to Dealing with Despair.

Sarah Suzuki, AM, LCSW, CADC

Sarah Suzuki, AM, LCSW, CADC

Hi, I'm Sarah, and I'm a counselor who helps high-achieving men learn how to moderate their drinking. I currently offer counseling services and corporate training here at Chicago Compass Counseling. If you're interested, you can read more about me on my about page.