Ok, we all know that that kicking bad habits are hard enough, but refraining from post breakup bad habits can feel nearly impossible. Are your hurting from a breakup? What are you doing to learn from this experience and rebuild the next chapter in your life?
A challenging breakup or divorce can leave you overwhelmed with the urge to do crazy and destructive things. As much as I want to get all '80s and tell you to "just say no" before engaging in this behavior, I know it’s hard to control yourself when your heart is hurting and you are overwhelmed. If you find yourself on the path to self destruction, consider the harm reduction alternative to these 7 classic breakup behaviors:
1. Destructive Version: Send angry texts and emails to your ex
Harm Reduction Alternative: Record said emails and texts in your journal/on a word doc. Let them sit for a couple days. Reread, edit and assess if any benefit will come from sending them.
2. Destructive Version: Text your previous exes for attention and validation. The ones you swore you would never talk to again. The ones your friend’s won’t allow to dinner parties. Proceed to get re-entangled into their lives.
Harm Reduction Alternative: Text your friends and family how much you appreciate them. Make a goal of complimenting 10 people a day.
3. Destructive Version: Initiate a new, close friendship with someone who is interested in hanging out with you after your breakup and them dump your new friend after you start dating.
Harm Reduction Alternative: Embrace the people who are there for you on any level, be it superficial companionship or deep commitment to your well being, after your breakup. Question your new friendships and make sure you are not using someone you don’t actually want to explore friendship with. For No Strings Attached companionship, go to groups hosted by Couchsurfing and Meetups. For deeper, transformational conversations try therapy or coaching.
4. Destructive Version: Ask your recent ex to help you with tasks they always helped you with (Especially if they are not over you and you are not over them and you don’t want to be in a relationship with them).
5. Destructive Version: Go to a bar and drink all night. Wake up hung over and unable create and nourish new connections with people. Repeat daily.
Harm Reduction Alternative:
• Decide your drinking limit, bring just enough cash for your limit and leave your credit card at home. If you are one of those adorable free drink magnets this is my advice: ladies: go to a gay bar. Gay boys: be yourself and go to any other bar. If you are not in one of those categories, you probably don’t attract free drinks.
• Bring a buddy who can keep you in check. Give them specific parameters for you (if I say I am going home with someone, show them that awful fourth grade picture of me to scare them away; don’t let me babble about my breakup to strangers)
7. Destructive Version: Go to a bar or club for validating flirting and hooking up with people while too intoxicated to make a genuine connection or remember what lovely compliments you were paid.
Harm Reduction Alternative:
Instead of a bar, try these social, sometimes sober avenues for social connections:
• Meetup.com groups
• Couchsurfing.com Groups
• Social dance events (you literally can’t hold a drink while you dance salsa)
• Comedy nights where the wait staff is too busy to serve you and the opening act will make fun of you for talking (about your ex, or anything).
8. Destructive Version: Publicize that you are dating/sleeping with someone new in the hopes that your ex will learn about this and be jealous
Harm Reduction Alternative: Be open to flirting with new people, MAYBE connecting with them on a deeper level if you actually feel ready, and always have a list of three reasons you really like this person and a list of three reasons you would need to post this information on social media.