As Halloween approaches I couldn’t decide whether this should have more of a horror feel as it seems pretty apt with the content of this post. But this was the track that sprang to mind so I’m rolling with ‘rock the boat’ 😉
I’m half way through the first term of my PG Dip at the University of Cambridge and as I may have mentioned before we have to be in weekly personal therapy and we have group therapy every week as part of the curriculum.
Now as you know from past blogs therapy is not a new thing for me and I’ve been very lucky to have had an excellent relational therapist in the past and she signposted me to a great CBT therapist who I did all the work with that formed the basis of these posts. It was recommended at the Cambridge interview that we seek a new therapist to give us a variety of experiences so this is what I’ve done (even though I have to tell my family of origin story again). She is also superb and luckily for me I’ve chosen someone whose speciality is addiction, family and trauma. I don’t talk much here about why the second two elements of what she specialises in are necessary but suffice it to say she is perfect for the embodied emotional issues I need to process. That is not where I am struggling.
I’m struggling with group therapy and came home last night with a chest crushing anxiety that had me sobbing in the bath, while running and woke me at 5am. This is all stuff that I wasn’t expecting and haven’t experienced for a while in this journey. For the first time in a long time the mind and emotion numbing appeal of booze crossed my mind. This anxiety is also one of the reasons why I struggle with AA and attending meetings and sharing in a public type forum. It feels incredibly unsafe to me and not because of the other people there but because of my own internal issues. Suffice it to say my emotional boat has been well and truly rocked.
For those unfamiliar with group therapy here is the Wiki page and here is the bit that explains (bearing in mind that I am working on family and trauma issues in my personal therapy) why I might be struggling with it:
- Corrective recapitulation of the primary family experience
- Members often unconsciously identify the group therapist and other group members with their own parents and siblings in a process that is a form of transference specific to group psychotherapy. The therapist’s interpretations can help group members gain understanding of the impact of childhood experiences on their personality, and they may learn to avoid unconsciously repeating unhelpful past interactive patterns in present-day relationships.
Yep I’ve re-entered my worst nightmare as part of my educational experience – nice one Lou!! I know that I will be okay but it is causing some serious psychological push back from me and writing this blog post has (as usual) been extremely helpful for me.
For you as a reader the take-away is be careful when entering therapy early in sobriety and if you feel it is too much too soon, postpone it. Sobriety comes first and above pretty much everything else. I’m over 2 years now and if I wasn’t fairly stable in my recovery I think this would be prime relapse territory – and it’s not too late yet!! I’ve had to be really mindful and that has also really helped me manage this emotionally stressful time too so thank you to Mrs D and A Rewarding Life for alerting me to The Mindfulness Summit that’s been running this month.. It has been an absolute life saver this last month.