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Recovery blog

Make a PACT With Yourself

By: Ashley Vicari, NCC, LPC, Professional Relations Representative for The Renfrew Center of Nashville

Posted on November 09, 2020

11.9 header You've done it! You've gone through treatment! You are home seeing your outpatient team, living your life, and figuring out what life post-treatment looks like. Then suddenly, IT hits you. Whatever IT is – IT comes at you with intensity and ferocity. IT is a crisis - IT catches you off-guard and leaves you feeling shaky in the knees.

Crises lead to big emotions that feel difficult to handle in the present moment. So, what do we do about IT when IT strikes again?
We make a PACT with ourselves.
P – Pause. Use your mindfulness skills of practicing staying in the present-moment and having non-judgmental awareness. Deep breathing; mindful walks around your house, neighborhood, or local park; bird watching; flower smelling; and bubble baths are just some examples of taking time to PAUSE. And remember to practice not judging yourself for having whatever experience you are having when IT shows up.
A – Acknowledge your experience. Give yourself permission to feel and have the experience IT is bringing. You are not a superhuman. Neither am I. Let's give ourselves grace and permission to be us, especially when IT shows up.
C – Check-In with yourself. First, write down your thoughts about the situation – whatever they are. Again, practice not judging yourself for your thoughts about IT. Next, notice your physical sensations. Is your heart beating fast? Is your tummy hurting? Are you sweating? Finally, notice your urges and behaviors. Are you wanting to use an eating disorder behavior? Are you pacing back and forth? Are you handling IT instead of avoiding IT? Reminder – no judgement here. We are simply practicing checking-in with ourselves.
T – Time back. As you practice attending to yourself and your needs, you spend less time worrying about IT and more time living in your freedom.
In recovery, you will have experiences – be them positive, negative or anywhere in between. You also deserve to take care of yourself throughout these experiences. I strongly encourage you to make a PACT with yourself and remember healing and growth are possible, even when IT says otherwise.

vicari headshot
Ashley Vicari, NCC, LPC, is the Professional Relations Representative for The Renfrew Center of Nashville. She received her Master's degree in Counseling from Trevecca University, and specializes in the treatment of eating disorders, trauma and EMDR. Her experiences in environments focusing on attachment and trauma have allowed her to dig deep into the world of mindfulness, assisting clients in recognizing their ability to nonjudgmentally sit with their present emotions, increase awareness and develop appropriate coping skills. Joining Renfrew in 2017, Ms. Vicari previously served as a Primary Therapist for the Nashville site before transitioning to her new role where she connects with providers in the community. She is a member of the TLPCA (Tennessee Licensed Professional Counselors Association), NBCC (National Board for Certified Counselors) and EMDRIA (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing International Association).
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