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Coping Skills For Addiction

Man practicing coping skills for addiction

Substance use and addiction arise from many things that vary from individual to individual; however, one predominant characteristic of a drug and alcohol addiction is that it originated in part from a person’s attempt to cope with some aspect of their life. As a person becomes overwhelmed with life’s struggles—the loss of a job, a failing marriage, physical health concerns, increasing amounts of stress, emotional instability or co-occurring mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression, they may begin self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Gradually this pattern of use accelerates, and addiction is borne. However, there are many coping skills for addiction, as well as substance abuse treatment programs that can make a difference.

Why You Should Use a Multi-Faceted Approach to Coping with Addiction

Coping skills for drug use and alcoholism can empower you to take control of your life, health, and happiness. You don’t need to practice all of these techniques simultaneously. Recovery is a unique journey, so finding a combination of coping skills that work for you is crucial. While it’s beneficial to familiarize yourself with these skills, keep in mind that effective coping methods may change over time. You can’t predict every scenario, but being proactive can be your best defense.

Different Coping Skills for Addiction

Instead of becoming overwhelmed by these many coping skills for addiction, look at them as if they are a toolkit—finely tuned instruments you carry around—should the need arise to use them, you’ll be prepared to implement them to ward off temptation and doubt:

Creating a Social Support Network

When struggling with addiction, it’s common to withdraw from healthy relationships and seek out those who share self-destructive habits. But on the path to sobriety, it’s crucial to rebuild your social network. Meaningful and supportive relationships foster a sense of belonging and aid in self-acceptance during recovery. Rekindling old connections or making new friends plays a vital role. Not only do these relationships combat loneliness, but they also serve as a sounding board, offering encouragement and keeping you focused on your journey of self-discovery and growth.

Becoming a Member of a Support Group

Additionally, a positive way to cope with addiction is to engage in various support groups. These groups could be faith-based or secular, as well as 12-step or non-12-step. These groups can offer you the benefit of shared experiences through peer-to-peer support. These interactions also offer greater accountability, encouragement, and access to various other addiction coping skills.

Spiritual Practices

Spirituality or religiousness has been shown to benefit those who practice these elements both during and after substance use treatment. Not only is spirituality an important source of hope, inspiration, and empowerment, but also it allows you a means by which to keep yourself accountable. Another beneficial aspect is that in many cases these practices will help you find support such as with a church group, a Bible study, or a faith-based support meeting.

Mindfulness Practices

Mindfulness is an important way to cope with drug addiction. It helps individuals stay present, dealing with things as they come, without dwelling on the past or stressing about the future. By practicing mindfulness, you can better accept your situation and focus on developing coping skills. It also enhances self-control and reduces impulsivity, which is beneficial when facing drug triggers. Mindfulness often involves yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and spending time outdoors to clear the mind.

Evaluating Your Decisions

Bringing attention to your actions, observing, anticipating, and evaluating potential outcomes of specific choices is an important coping technique for substance use disorders. Instead of blindly making choices, take a step back and assess if they have potential for self-harm or triggering cues. By doing so, you can avoid negative consequences. For example, choose an alternative route to the grocery store to avoid passing your old drug dealer’s house and the temptation it may bring.

Strategizing Your Behaviors

To protect yourself from drug triggers, it’s important to avoid high-risk situations. In recovery, remember the acronym “H.A.L.T.” which represents the common mindsets that may lead to substance use or relapse: Hungry, Lonely, Angry, and Tired. These feelings can be triggering. If you can’t avoid a situation that evokes these emotions, be mindful and control what you can. For example, make plans to spend time with a good friend on a day when you know you’ll be feeling drained and lonely. They can help uplift your mood and strengthen your commitment to sobriety.

Practicing Your Refusal Skills

This may seem obvious to some. However, it is a powerful way to cope with addiction in recovery. You cannot always shield yourself from cues and temptations. Because of this, you need to develop the confidence to be able to assert yourself and articulate the answer “no.” It may sound silly but practicing different ways of saying “no” to drugs or alcohol, out loud, and even in the mirror, may be helpful.

Emotional Regulation Skills

Negative emotions can wreak havoc on a person, creating an imbalanced state that makes them more susceptible to drugs or alcohol. Emotional reactions are present in most situations and are something you cannot avoid; due to this, you must learn to moderate and control your reactions, being mindful to squash the negative and cultivate positive ones. When negative emotions do arise, you need to learn how to process them and let them go, so you can move forward. These skills are a critical part of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a progressive modality that is used at our facility.

Anger Management

Anger is a powerful emotion that affects both your mind and body. It can cause your blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature to rise, making you feel out of control. This may lead you to consider using substances to manage your anger. However, anger management techniques can help you express your anger in a more assertive and non-aggressive way. You can also find healthier outlets, like taking a break or engaging in physical activity, to calm your mind and release tension.

Stress Management Skills

Stress plays a significant role in addiction. While it’s a normal part of life, some struggle to handle it or face excessively stressful situations. By learning to effectively manage stress, you can reduce the chances of relapse and maintain emotional balance. Managing stress healthily may involve counseling, exercise, family support, and addressing issues directly rather than letting them spiral out of control.

Engaging In Enjoyable Activities

When someone has an addiction, they often neglect activities they once enjoyed. They devote more time and energy to drugs or alcohol. Now is the time to reconnect with those interests or find new hobbies that bring fulfillment and well-being. Consider gardening, crafting, sports, reading, playing an instrument, listening to music, cooking, or volunteering to care for others.

Develop Healthy Habits as an Outlet

As addiction takes hold, self-care often falls by the wayside. Neglecting grooming, healthy eating, and exercise contributes to feeling unwell. To counter this, developing better habits is crucial. Nurturing your body and mind through good dietary choices, nutrition, and exercise can aid in repair and release feel-good endorphins.

Learn More from Woodland Recovery Center

Whether you’re looking to become sober or are already well within your recovery journey, it is always important to stay active and invested in positive addiction coping skills. If you’re concerned about your drug or alcohol use, contact Woodland Recovery Center at 662.222.2989 today. Our Mississippi rehab can offer you resources to help you further develop an arsenal of coping skills in recovery and direct you to our treatment options, should the need arise.