When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, rehabilitation is only the beginning of your journey. You need support outside therapy if it’s a long-term recovery that will last forever. However, relying solely on rehab doesn’t guarantee staying clean and sober for life
As a matter of fact, most people who have lived with addiction will go through the various stages of relapse and find themselves back to where they started. And when a person does not know how to deal with their emotions or situations healthily, they may use drugs to numb the pain or escape it. Henceforth the phrase, “drowning your sorrows” – or talking to the bottle when things go south.
A successful and healthy recovery depends on discovering new ways to cope with old patterns. Therefore, learning and adopting positive coping skills for addiction is extremely important. Here are a few coping skills that will act as your compass and direct you towards a sober and healthy path of life:
- Meditation & mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness can assist you in working through complex thoughts and feelings, focusing on the present moment, and observing and accepting your internal feelings without judgment. Indeed, science has demonstrated that meditation and mindfulness help relax the mind and that the practices can benefit your physical body. Many rehabilitation centers, including the Delphi Health Group, include mindfulness and meditation as therapy techniques.
Some of the advantages of meditation and mindfulness include:
- Improved self-control
- A more versatile approach to life
- Increased emotional intelligence
- Improved mental clarity and concentration
- Increased compassion and kindness
- Reduced stress and anxiety.
Addiction recovery can be a frightening and stressful experience. Still, meditation and mindfulness can help you manage and balance such excruciating and upsetting moments.
- Know how to find diversions
Temptations can be challenging because they come in waves and can last long. It has a known fact that the average craving lasts approximately one hour. When faced with desires, try to find something to do to divert your attention away from the possibility of using and relapsing. Below is a list of distractions that may be useful:
- Try an online exercise class
- Find a new hobby
- Take a warm bath
- Take a walk around the block
- Call someone
- Read a nice book
- Stress management capabilities
Addiction is heavily influenced by stress. However, sometimes folks cannot handle it properly or confront excessively stressful situations. By learning to manage your stress more effectively, you reduce the possibility of using and balancing your psychological response. Stress management in a healthy way may entail counseling and learning to confront issues head-on rather than letting them build and spiral out of control.
- Assist other addicts
Helping others has been scientifically proven to benefit you. It will boost your self-esteem, which is the first line of protection against relapse. It will also assist you in developing a more extensive and more robust network of people to whom you can turn for assistance in your recovery. Not to mention that helping others minimizes chronic pain, lowers blood pressure, and can even increase your life span!
- Surround yourself with a helping hand
Joining 12-step support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous can also be beneficial because they connect you with other recovering addicts. These people understand what you’re going through and offer advice and support. These support groups will connect you with a sponsor who has been in recovery for decades and can lend you a hand. This is especially useful when cravings arise.
- As an outlet, cultivate healthy habits.
As addiction progresses, a person may lose sight of critical aspects of self-care. They may neglect self-care, eating healthy, and exercise. These factors contribute to a general state of disrepair and feeling ill. To counteract them, you must learn to create healthier habits, taking care to nourish your mind and body. Exercising is a very effective coping habit because it distracts your mind and emits endorphins, your body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Good dietary choices and nourishment can aid in repairing your body while also seeking to avoid a state of hunger that can lead to thoughts of drug use.
- Know when to say “no.”
Another strategy to incorporate into your coping skills is recognizing when to prevent extreme situations entirely. Instead of agreeing to put yourself in circumstances where you might make a mistake to make others happy, learn to say no to these situations. It is sometimes in your best interest to decline an invitation.
- Develop a growth mindset
Isaac Asimov once wrote, “People think of education as something they can finish.” The explanation of this phrase would be to push yourself to acquire new knowledge, perspectives, and skills. Learning new things can enrich your life and help you on your road to recovery. The best part is that you get to choose. What are you interested in learning more about? What constitutes healthy eating? Genealogy or current events? Set a learning goal and work toward it each week.
Understanding yourself, your thoughts and feelings, and your triggers is critical to avoiding relapse. The more you practice, the simpler it will be to recognize relapse warning signs. Keep these coping strategies in mind as you transition from your recovery program to your new sober life. And lastly, give yourself some credit and remind yourself that this is a process with loads of highs and lows. But all will be worth it when you are living your life to the fullest.