Recovery and sobriety can be stressful and isolating processes, full of peaks and valleys. Even when you know that sobriety is the best option for you, it’s healthy to acknowledge when you need a bit of extra help on some days. These tools and skills can help you cope with the weight of addiction and recovery while keeping you hopeful about your sobriety.
1. Practice mindfulness every day
Mindfulness is a powerful practice that can keep you in tune with your thoughts and feelings. It is particularly useful in recovery, as it can help you identify and work through negative or difficult emotions. Practicing mindful meditation every day can help you get into the habit of recognizing when you are feeling certain things and coping with them in a healthy way.
Begin your mindfulness practice by closing your eyes, focusing on your steady breathing and reflecting on the day’s goals, accomplishments and challenges. Repeating uplifting mantras to yourself can also help encourage and remind you that you are capable of sustaining sobriety.
2. Establish healthy boundaries
You may still have friends or family members with whom you used drugs or alcohol, and who are not actively seeking recovery for themselves. Putting yourself in a situation where substance addiction is normalized, or even encouraged, can be detrimental to your recovery. These individuals may not understand your position, but if you think removing yourself from these relationships will help you sustain your sobriety, then it is in your best interest to do so. Draw boundaries that work for you and your recovery, and stand firm if you are challenged.
3. Lean into your support network
You will likely have at least one person in your corner as you move through your recovery. Identify who your supporters are, and allow them to care for you, check in on you, encourage you and hold you accountable. Keep your friends and family apprised of how you are doing and when you need their support. Attend regular 12-step meetings to be inspired by the stories of others coping with addiction, and to form bonds with those who may understand your journey.
Connect with an addiction mentor or sponsor who can help you when recovery gets tough. You cannot and do not need to navigate sobriety on your own.
4. Find healthy diversions
Throughout your recovery, you will likely feel tempted to use drugs or alcohol, even if you have made significant progress towards sobriety. Remember that substance addiction is a physical dependence as much as it is a disorder of the brain; your brain may trigger physical cravings even if it has been months since you last used substances.
When you feel a physical or mental craving or temptation approaching, immerse yourself in a new passion:
- Watch your favorite films;
- Read a new book;
- Get some fresh air and go for a walk;
- Play an instrument;
- Listen to your favorite music;
- Do chores around the house;
- Labor over an intensive recipe for dinner;
- Play a sport;
- Go for a run;
- Lift weights;
- Practice yoga;
- Draw, paint or color;
- Knit, sew or crochet;
- Call a friend or family member for a chat;
- Write in a journal;
- Go for a swim;
- Grow a garden;
- Volunteer at a food bank, an animal shelter or any other local organization;
- Experiment with baking;
- Write short stories;
- Turn on the stereo and dance around your living room;
- Play games with friends;
- Join a book club;
- Check out a new restaurant.
These and other diversions can help place your focus on another activity, one that builds you up instead of derailing your pursuit of recovery.
Continue seeking therapeutic care
There are many different therapy-based addiction treatment modalities that provide coping skills that you can carry through your recovery even after the program has ended. Intensive outpatient programs and outpatient group therapy sessions, for example, place particular emphasis on substance addiction education, community-building and self-reflection – all of which are necessary for maintaining long-term sobriety.
Rehab After Work will help you work through your recovery, whether you need drug addiction coping skills, alcohol addiction coping skills, or substance use coping skills in general. Reach out today at (610)-644-6464 if you or someone you love could benefit from support through their recovery journey.