Slashed tires. Uncontrolled Facebook stalking. Quickly emptied bottles of vodka. These are just a few of the common post-breakup horror stories Jo Piazza gathered from women around the country for her new book, Love Rehab—and she saw herself in almost all of them.
“Through my horrible breakups in my 20s, I did exactly what I don’t think women should do,” she says. “I ate and drank too much and just felt fat and hungover.”
While Love Rehab is a novel, Piazza, a journalist, soon realized how much her story of fictional women learning to deal with breakups in healthier, more productive ways resounded with women, and she decided to turn the plot, which centers around a group of women creating an AA-style plan for getting over addictions to failed relationships, into an actual 12-step recovery program. Goodbye unlimited Ben & Jerry’s and unwashed hair, hello healthy path forward.
“The whole program is designed so that you can get over your breakup and your mind and body can be in a great place,” Piazza explains,”and you really can’t do that unless those things are connected.”
We asked Piazza for three simple tips to help you stay healthy instead of heading towards a meltdown next time it just doesn’t work out. Hopefully, you won’t ever need them.
1. Admit you’ve been doing it all wrong and vow to make a change. There’s a reason admitting you have a problem is the first step to getting over drug addictions. If you don’t admit it, you’ll just keep on self-destructing in the same way. Piazza suggests telling someone (or the universe) that you’ve reached a deep low due to getting dumped and then making a “moral inventory.” “Answer really hard questions, like why did this go wrong, what did I do wrong, and how can I do better next time,” she says. “And tell yourself, ‘I want to be better in my next relationship. I can only do that by focusing on me and being a stronger person.'”
2. Go on a social media cleanse. One of the biggest revelations Piazza came to from the stories she heard from women was how much social media is being used to drag out and dramatize bad breakups. “You’re seeing their life play out without you. You’re using Facebook to make him jealous and Pinterest and Instagram to stalk your ex’s new girlfriend. You’re seeing your friends’ wonderful date photos and baby pictures,” she says. “Get off Facebook and Twitter. Go cold turkey.” You can use your new free time to be more present when it comes to putting yourself back together.
3. Wear your yoga pants to the gym (not to ice cream eating and Love, Actually marathons on the couch). Now is the time you’ll need endorphins more than ever. “All of the happy chemicals are feeding us when we’re in love, and when that relationship is gone, we crash. Fitness gives us the same feelings of euphoria to push away the bad feelings,” Piazza says. You’ll feel a lot better, and (bonus!) you’ll look better. “After one breakup with a really awful guy, I decided ‘I’m just going to get in awesome shape.’ Sometimes, the best revenge is just being hot.” —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, check out Love Rehab