Post-Divorce Recovery or Crash Landing (by: Dr. Anne Brown PhD, RN CS)

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divorce recovery fly free

It’s April, your divorce papers are signed, and it’s a new chapter, scary, exciting, change, and your choice if you recover or crash land! Should you choose the Olympics of drugs and alcohol, sex, gambling, or any form of acting out, because “well I am free,” “it is so tempting,” I deserve it, “look what I have been through” or should I choose something else. There may be voices rationalizing why you should “act out” and that it will only be for a little while blah blah blah.  So if you feel you must go down that road let me give you a few guidelines. If you are single without children be safe, good luck, and let us know how that works out for you.

If you choose the “acting out” road and you are single with children may I suggest you “act out” on the times you don’t have the children, keep people you haven’t vetted, but may sleep with, away from your home where you and your children sleep, have safe sex, and limit your alcohol intake when you have your children. Keep a journal on when you start “celebrating” and when you decide to come back to earth.

“Sometimes you have to forget what you feel and remember what you deserve.” Author unknown

If, on the other hand, you are bombarded with questions like, how did this happen, what was my part, where do I go from here, who can I count on to help me, what should I do first, am I scared or excited or maybe both, then hang on for a very exciting ride. Let’s make a list of things to remember.

  1. Change is good.
  2. Keep a journal.
  3. Make a schedule for time when the children are with you AND for when you have your free time.
  4. Make a budget.
  5. Shop for healthy food and set up menus.
  6. Hire a therapist just for you or find a group for people going through change or reinventing themselves.
  7. Schedule in physical exercise, which may be walks until you figure things out.
  8. Say 5 things you are grateful for and take 10 deep breaths before you get out of bed every morning.
  9. Schedule fun things with other single friends when you don’t have the children. Schedule fun things when you do have your children with other friends and their children.

Make your own list and take charge of your life. Wake up everyday excited about the opportunities you can create for your family. Take one minute at a time when things get tough and believe in you. Get yourself a list of songs that cheer you up and change your mood and listen and sing loudly. Buy some “escape” books to loose yourself in when you can’t shift your mood. Ok you made it now what’s next!!

You will have times when you are sad, angry, depressed, overwhelmed, happy, excited, etc. These emotions are all normal and will pass as long as you don’t try to drink them away. Feel them and let them go. When they return wish them well and move on. Always check with a psychiatrist if you feel you may need medication to help you with depression and/or anxiety before, during or after you divorce.

On your free time please, please, please, get your lessons. Why did you go through this breakdown? What are your lessons? What do you know now that you didn’t know before? Why did you choose your partner? Was it a good choice for you? Who is a good choice for you in the future? Remember who you are, notice who you became in the marriage and ponder who you want to be in the future. This is an exciting research project for you about you and then you with your life partner. Enjoy the ride.

If you have children during your recovery, they will thrive if you are thriving.  Learn to really take care of yourself and remember to keep this practice when you start dating again!

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside awakes.” Carl Jung


This article was originally published on Divorceforce:

Dr. Anne Brown PhD, RN of Sausalito, California, is a psychotherapist, speaker, coach, and the author of Backbone Power: The Science of Saying No.  Anne’s approach is especially applicable to people affected by divorce.  Backbone Power is a no nonsense self help guide to making decisions while having backbone and integrity in all your choices, short term and long term.  In addition to helping the divorce community, Anne has over twenty years experience as the trusted advocate and advisor to influential corporate leaders, trial attorneys, athletes, leaders, physicians and others seeking actionable guidance.  Brown is a graduate of the University of Virginia, BS in Nursing; Boston University, MS in Psychiatric-Mental Health in Nursing; and International University, PhD in Addiction Studies. In 1997 Brown also reached a personal goal of obtaining her Black Belt in Soo Bahk Do.  You can contact Dr. Anne Brown through her website:

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