Addiction recovery is not easy. But there are things you can do to make it a more positive and relaxing experience. Here are 10 coping skills to help you through your recovery and healing process:
- Be honest with yourself and others
An addiction requires lying by default. You have to lie about getting it and using it and you have to hide the effect it has on you. Then you have to do it all over again as you plan your next hit or drink. The more you lie to others, the better you get at it, and the easier it becomes to lie to yourself. This creates a horrible cycle because the more you lie, the more you hate yourself, and the more you feel the need to use drugs and/or alcohol to escape your self hatred. Being rigorously honest is one of the most powerful skills to have to immerse yourself fully into successful addiction recovery.
- Learn to relax in any situation
One of the main reasons people start using drugs and alcohol is to relax and reward themselves. Learning new skills to relieve tension is an essential part of long-term sobriety. If you are able to calm down on your own, then you won’t need to use it to escape. You may think you’re too busy to relax, but that is a lie! Your addiction recovery has to become the most important thing in your life, so taking plenty of time for yourself has to become the most important too.
- Keep a daily journal and gratitude list
Seeing your thoughts and emotions on paper can help you to deal with them quicker and more efficiently. It can take away some of their sting and power if they are negative. This is also a way to take your daily inventory and see where you can continue to improve, and a gratitude list can help you to relax and stay positive.
- Develop a strong support network with other recovering addicts
These are the people you can call and meet up with when the going gets tough! Peer support is an essential aspect of addiction treatment. You can’t do this alone, and you don’t have to. Having a strong network of sober friends will be the net to catch you when you fall and also help you stay on track with your addiction recovery.
- Avoid high-risk situations where you are likely to relapse
This includes avoiding all bars and clubs! It would also be best to stop hanging out with the people you used to drink or use with as well, since they could trigger or pressure you into relapsing. Sobriety is all about building a new life and making new habits. Creativity and imagination are both skills, and recovery is a great way to start developing them!
- Help other addicts
It is scientifically proven that helping others helps you. It will make you feel good about yourself, which is the first line of defense against a relapse. It will also help you develop a bigger and stronger network of people you can call if you need help in your recovery. Not to mention helping others lowers blood pressure and chronic pain and can even lengthen your life!
- Exercise regularly
Exercise naturally releases feel-good hormones and it helps you to stay healthy and happy. Studies have shown that health is actually one of the strongest predictors of happiness! We also strongly believe that good health is an essential aspect of addiction treatment, which is why our program includes fitness and health along with more traditional addiction treatment methods!
- Work with a sponsor and attend support group meetings
Working through the 12 Steps with a sponsor is a common and often highly effective way of coping with addiction. A sponsor is someone who you can confide in and turn to for guidance, honesty and compassion, same as with support group meetings.
- Avoid the H.A.L.T. symptoms
Being hungry, angry, lonely and tired can be a swift gateway to relapse. Tension and stress builds when you don’t take care of yourself, and that is a dangerous place for someone in addiction treatment to be! If you are hungry, eat! If you are tired, then sleep, and so on. Taking good care of yourself is an essential aspect of addiction recovery.
- Practice meditation
Meditation is scientifically proven to relax the mind and has a positive effect on the physical body as well. Meditation, when practiced properly, can bring you into the present moment and away from painful memories that often fuel relapse. It is also a very simple skill that you can do anywhere.