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Developing Healthy Coping Skills in Recovery

Friday, May 24, 2019

Successfully healing your body, mind and spirit from a substance misuse disorder is a lifelong process. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, addiction is not a behavioral issue or a matter of choice, but a chronic brain disease.

Like other long-term illnesses, such as cancer, there isn’t a cure, but people with addiction shouldn’t give up hope – it’s something you can learn to manage for the long term. Part of that process includes learning how to identify and cope with triggers so you can focus on avoiding relapse and living a healthy life free of intoxicating substances.

Weaving Coping Skills Into Your Aftercare Plan

Addiction recovery doesn’t end with completing a rehab program. Indeed, rehab is only the first part of the continuous journey of discovering long-term sobriety. Aftercare is an umbrella term that refers to all the steps you will take to remain on the path to your healthy lifestyle.

People with addiction disorders often turn to drinking or drugs to help them manage the stressors of daily life, insead of developing healthy coping mechanisms like exercise and meditation. That means part of your rehab and aftercare process means learning how to fill your time with hobbies other than drug use and drinking, as well as how to deal with stress and process other emotions in a constructive way. Look for a drug rehabilitation program that offers educational workshops on life skills you can use as part of your aftercare process.

Why Healthy Coping Skills Are Fundamental

Unfortunately, we don’t often learn healthy coping mechanisms in school or from our families. Under times of duress, people often turn to the simplest remedy to handle the tension – and alcohol and drugs are readily available in most communities.

A crucial part of addiction recovery is learning how to recognize people, places, emotions, memories and situations that pose a threat to your sobriety – also called addiction triggers. Your rehab program should include both therapy and various workshops designed to provide foundational coping tactics that work for a wide range of different personalities and situations. These can include simple mindfulness exercises, behavioral issues and how to set boundaries in your relationships.

Common coping skills you can learn in your recovery process include:

  • Diet and exercise
  • How to identify and steer clear of triggers
  • Attending therapy
  • Going to support group meetings
  • Maintaining healthy relationships
  • Practicing relaxation and stress management techniques, such as yoga and meditation
  • Keeping a sobriety journal
  • Becoming a recovery sponsor for other addicted individuals

What Else Can You Do to Cope?

People with addiction can use many other coping skills to smooth the pathway for your sober lifestyle. It boils down to what makes you happiest and healthiest, as well as what suits the way you like to do things. It will be entirely up to you to determine what you enjoy doing, and how to exercise your options.

It’s also helpful to prepare yourself when you know you’re going to be in a stressful situation, or an environment with lots of triggers. Make a list of things that are stress-relief outlets for you, and revisit this list periodically to make sure you are engaging in self-care. Treat yourself to things like delicious meals, massages or anything else that soothes you and helps you remain calm.

Welcome to Your New Life

The only way to start fresh is to commit to making a change. At Canyon Crossing, we are here to help you experience long-term freedom from drug and alcohol use. Our women’s-only treatment programs provide gender-specific recovery that recognizes our clients’ unique psychosocial needs and helps them become well-rounded individuals. If you’re ready to learn more, contact us today.

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