Addiction recovery is a lifelong process that can, at times, be exhausting, frustrating, overwhelming, stressful, and lonely. But there are skills you can develop to make rehabilitation a more positive and rewarding experience. Luckily, you can learn many of these skills while enrolled at a drug rehab center.
Beginning again, changing your habits, and restructuring your entire life isn’t easy, but developing these 10 coping skills can make addiction recovery and the healing process less challenging while helping you avoid relapse as well.
#1. Learn to Relax in Any Situation
Relaxation and stress relief are two of the main reasons people start using drugs and alcohol. But if you learn to ease tension on your own, you won’t need to rely on substances like drugs and alcohol to help you calm down. Fortunately, therapeutic practices like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy can teach you techniques that can help you stay centered in all types of situations. As you develop and master new ways to de-stress, you may find it easier to overcome addiction challenges and maintain long-term sobriety. Some common ways to lessen stress include:
- Deep breathing
- Getting outside and enjoying nature
- Listening to music
- A warm bath
- Drinking green or herbal tea
- Writing or making a list of things that bring you joy
#2. Wait to Respond
Using drugs and misusing alcohol can cause you to act impulsively. In fact, the longer you use substances for recreational purposes, the more reactive your behavior can become. Addiction challenges can cause you to lie, steal, burst out in anger, react aggressively, and act without thinking. But these types of rushed decisions usually yield painful results. Learning to wait before you respond can help you manage your impulses and make more rational and informed decisions. This skill becomes especially important during stressful or intense situations. When you feel rushed or pressured to make a decision, take a moment to breathe and clear your mind. Choosing to think and breathe before you react can help you address issues with a level head. Using this skill in everyday life can help you maintain relationships, manage emotions, change habits, and even keep your job.
#3. Be Honest with Yourself & Others
When you’re grappling with drug and alcohol addiction, lying can become a habit by default. Before you committed to recovery, you may have lied about using your substance of choice, for example. You probably lied about the effects the drug or alcohol had on your body, too. To keep using, you had to continue deceiving others — and yourself — again and again and again. As you recover from addiction challenges, you have to stop lying and develop a habit of telling the truth instead. Being fearlessly honest is one of the most important skills you need to master for successful long-term addiction recovery. Be honest with yourself and others. If you’re mad at a family member and unable to forgive, tell them. If you’re dealing with intense cravings, ask your sponsor, counselor, or sober community for support. Regardless of the situation, making the decision to be honest will help maintain your sobriety.
#4. Mindfulness & Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation can help you work through difficult thoughts and emotions, focus on the present moment, and observe your internal feelings and accept them without judgment or negativity. In fact, science has proven that mindfulness and meditation help relax the mind and revealed that the practices can have positive effects on your physical body as well.
Some of the benefits of mindfulness and meditation include:
- Better self-control
- A more flexible approach to life
- A higher degree of emotional intelligence
- Improved mental clarity and concentration
- An increased level of kindness and compassion
- Reduced stress and anxiety
Recovering from addiction can be a worrisome and stressful process, but mindfulness and meditation can help you manage and balance such agonizing and distressing moments.
#5. Keep Busy
Before you decided to quit using drugs and alcohol, you probably spent a lot of time finding, buying, and using your substance of choice. Now that you’re working to recover from addiction, you need to replace those old habits with new ones. Do things you’ve put off. Develop new skills. Learn a new language. Travel to new places. Dance, read, write, hike, or play sports. Keep your schedule filled with healthy and positive activities that will uplift your spirit and keep your emotional well-being intact.
#6. Keep a Daily Journal and Gratitude List
Writing can be a great way to express, release, and work out any thoughts and feelings you may be dealing with. Seeing your thoughts on paper can also help you deal with your emotions quicker and more efficiently. In addition to that, keeping a daily journal is a good way to take an inventory of what’s happening in your life, acknowledge ways you can improve, and list the things you’re grateful for. All in all, developing this skill can help you relax and maintain a positive attitude as you work to change your life.
#7. Exercise Regularly & Live an Active Lifestyle
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which help you feel good and stay happy. Physical activity also helps relieve stress, diminishes feelings of depression, and helps get rid of the chemicals and toxins your body has absorbed from drug and alcohol abuse. You should also make it a habit to treat yourself to a nutritious satisfying meal after an invigorating workout.
#8. Build a Sober Support Network
You shouldn’t be alone as you recover from addiction. Peer support is essential. Don’t hesitate to build a healthy, supportive, and sober network of people. A strong network of friends can help you stay on track and will be there to catch you when you fall. Take advantage of the social skills you learn in addiction treatment and be open to new relationships that will support your recovery journey.
#9. Avoidance of Triggers
Sobriety is about building a new life and creating new habits. Learning to avoid triggers is a key skill for a successful recovery. You need to stay away from situations, places, emotions, and people who make you sad, angry, or afraid. Don’t be afraid to protect your sobriety by avoiding similar high-risk situations.
#10. Help Others
As you become stronger and more resilient, help others who are struggling with substance use challenges. When you help other people, you feel good about yourself, which is one of the best defenses against substance use and relapse. Realizing you are capable of doing great things can help decrease high blood pressure, relieve anxiety and depression, ward off chronic pain like headaches and migraines, and lengthen your life, too. A great way to help another addict is to become a sponsor in a 12-step program yourself.
Helping You Develop Skills for Long-Term Sobriety
At Genesis Recovery, we strive to help restore lives broken by addiction. Our treatment programs combine the 12-step process, clinical science, community, and spiritual and faith-based practices to reinvigorate your soul. But we don’t stop there. Our dedicated staff members work with you to develop the skills you need for long-term sobriety.
Contact us today at 619-797-7319 if you or a loved one are struggling with addiction challenges and are searching for a drug rehab center that will truly meet your recovery needs.