If you’re in recovery for drug or alcohol addiction, one of the cornerstones is learning new coping skills.
If a person has been turning to substance abuse to numb pain, or deal with complex emotions, they will need a healthy replacement once that substance has been taken away. Brainstorming coping skills in advance is probably the best method; if you’re grasping for one at the last minute, it can be a recipe for a relapse. Read on for some coping skills you can use instead of drugs or alcohol.
Keep a journal
Keeping a journal is great coping skill to utilize in your recovery. Having a private space to vent your thoughts can be a cathartic way to deal with problems — without having to resort to substances.
Get some exercise
The benefits of exercise cannot be overstated when it comes to the general population. However, exercise is particularly helpful to those in recovery. It provides an outlet for tension, and supports the “feel good” endorphins you used to access through drugs or alcohol.
Get enough sleep
Although sleep is not something we usually think of as a coping skill, it can be a very useful weapon in your arsenal against relapse. Studies show that most adults need between eight and ten hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately, very few get the required amount. Lack of sleep can lead to poor judgment, reckless behavior, and ignoring possible consequences.
Talk to friends
Recovery is not a solitary activity — you need coping skills that involve a robust support system. Being able to call and meet with friends who are actively involved in a healthy lifestyle can provide a sense of relief. Previously, you may only have been able to achieve this sense of well-being through substances.
Call a sponsor
If you have a sponsor in rehab, calling on this person can be a fantastic coping skill – as well as a source of many others. Those in recovery are urged to call sponsors or attend a 12-step meeting whenever they feel an overwhelming urge to use their substance of choice.
Using the arts is a perfect way for you to express frustration and emotion without using drugs or alcohol. There are even art therapists who can teach you coping skills through mediums such as drawing, painting, dance and even theater.
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