While in recovery, individuals must learn healthy coping skills to avoid relapse. This includes learning to recognize harmful coping behaviors and developing healthier ones.
For example, bottling emotions is unhealthy and can cause a person to act out in other ways. It’s also important to find a support network of sober friends.
Be Proactive Instead of Reactive
It’s easy to fall into reactive habits in recovery, but a proactive approach is a better choice. Being proactive requires self-awareness and foresight—qualities most of us could use more.
For example, if you’re dealing with a coworker who constantly complains, try not to react immediately. Instead, pause for a minute and take a deep breath before responding.
Healthy coping skills for addiction are designed to help you deal with negative feelings and emotions without using substances. Unhealthy coping methods, such as shopping, sex, gambling, and video games, can lead to addiction. Developing new, healthier ways to deal with changes, stressors, and triggers will make staying sober easier. In addition, it will help protect your sobriety by avoiding high-risk situations.
Say No to High-Risk Situations
Avoiding triggers can help you stay sober when you’re struggling with addiction. This includes staying away from places, people, emotions, and habits that can cause a relapse. It also means avoiding emotional addiction triggers like stress, pessimistic feelings, and social isolation.
You can also learn coping skills to cope with these emotional triggers by interacting with other recovering individuals in a support group or recovery therapy. Make sure to attend your meetings regularly, as skipping may make you more susceptible to a mental or physical relapse. Additionally, eat well, sleep enough, and exercise. Avoid making rushed decisions when hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT). This will give you time to think about your choices and make better decisions. It will also prevent you from putting yourself into high-risk situations.
Take Time to Breathe
Learning to pause before taking action is essential when coping with addiction. This is especially helpful in high-risk situations, such as when you’re hungry, angry, or lonely. Often, these types of rushed decisions yield painful results. Learning to pause for a minute or two can help you make better choices.
Avoiding high-risk situations is one of the best ways to protect your sobriety and prevent relapse. However, it’s important to remember that not all triggers are bad. Certain activities or events are uplifting and can bring joy to your life. Discovering these things and working them into your recovery plan is important. This will help you maintain a positive attitude during recovery and stay sober longer.
Be Honest With Yourself
A person recovering from addiction must be able to acknowledge and accept their emotions without turning to drugs or alcohol. Negative feelings like anxiety, sadness, or fear are normal and must be dealt with as such. Getting involved in activities that give people joy, such as hobbies or sports, and finding something to be grateful for can help people focus on positive thoughts and emotions instead of negative ones.
Honesty is important for recovery because addiction thrives on lies and deception. It’s also a necessary skill for rebuilding relationships with family members and friends harmed by drug or alcohol use. If you are invited to an event with old friends, who may be tempted to drink or use drugs, explain your situation and make plans to meet in a different venue.
The best way to learn how to cope with addiction is by receiving treatment at a professional drug rehab center. You will be taught to recognize triggers and develop positive coping skills during treatment. You will also learn to avoid friends and family who may encourage or enable your drinking and drug use.
Often, people use drugs to remove discomfort from their lives. This is why learning how to embrace discomfort in recovery is so important. Rather than pushing away negative feelings, focus on activities and hobbies that provide purpose and meaning to your life. Many addiction treatment centers teach their clients to practice mindfulness and meditation techniques. These help you learn to be present in the moment, lowering stress and anxiety.