Relapse and PMS
Every woman is familiar with their monthly visit from Mother Nature. It is easy to think of this monthly visit as no big deal, but for those of us women in recovery it actually can leave us susceptible to relapse. I know this is true from experiencing it firsthand. With the emotional ups and downs Mother Nature throws on us during this time and the crazy rollercoaster of hormones that are going on it is no wonder that our periods have a bigger impact on our recovery than we realize.
And here is how relapse and PMS can go hand in hand:
When I was experiencing PMS for the first or second time once I got clean I knew something was wrong with me. I had worked steps in recovery and was really happy with my life. I loved life. But then PMS hit, I didn’t know it was PMS, but all of a sudden I felt all my relapse warning signs. I didn’t understand and I was frustrated! Why did I feel like I did before I relapsed in the past when I had taken all the suggestions and was normally so happy??
I was crying all the time, I got angry and resentful easily, I wanted to isolate, it felt like the world was coming to an end sometimes and all I wanted to do was just sleep. I gorged on sugary sweets to try and make myself feel better. The cravings for sugar felt almost uncontrollable. I thought that I had messed something up in my recovery and that I was on the verge of relapse. I didn’t understand how if I was praying and meditating, had sponsees, and was also practicing spiritual principles how this could be happening. All of these things that I was feeling were things I should only be feeling if I was getting ready to drink again! I was scared.
Luckily in my case, I had a sponsor that I called and she immediately saw what could be the cause of my volcanic eruption of emotional turmoil; PMS. Thank goodness, for me I was able to recognize that was what it was and take certain steps to keep myself as sane as possible during the emotional chaos which is the week before and during your period.
But why was this like this?
Well, the typical symptoms of PMS: irritability, fatigue, emotionality, insomnia, bloating, backache, increased appetite, cramping and cravings, make you kind of wonder why all women don’t relapse while having PMS. The physiology behind these symptoms can cause women to not only feel as if they need a solution to their symptoms such as drugs and alcohol but can also trigger cravings for drugs and alcohol again. For example, the cravings for carbs and sugars during PMS happen because of the hormonal changes are causing drops in blood sugar. This is prime time for women to seek out high sugar substances and what substance has sugar in spades? Alcohol.
Also, the emotional rollercoaster many women, like myself experience can cause a drop in self-confidence which can lead to the very dangerous idea of “terminal uniqueness”. And the belief that we are unique is what causes us to think that we don’t need our recovery, to engage with people in meetings, and instead we want to stay inside and isolate. All of this can easily lead to relapse.
And last but not least, PMS is a well-known relationship stressor and relationship drama is a trigger for relapse. Drama in a relationships and fights or depression can cause the want to drink or escape. This can easily lead to relapse.
The first or second time a woman experiences PMS in recovery it can be very intense because normally the PMS is cushioned or confined by a slew of heavy drinking and drugs. When there aren’t any drugs and alcohol to cushion the symptoms of PMS many women can get overwhelmed by it because they haven’t fully experience it in many years. Realizing that is only PMS though and that it won’t last is the key to getting through it. It is absolutely imperative to be communicating with sober supports and sponsors during this time just like I did. They can reassure you that you aren’t losing your mind and that it is normal; it isn’t a reason to drink; you can stay sober; that you are doing everything right; and most of all that your body is beginning to heal!
If your someone you love is need of womens drug treatment please call us at: Toll Free 1-888-672-4435