Daily life is stressful even in the best of times, and the COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented mass trauma event we are all processing in real time. For sustained sobriety, you need to arm yourself with a toolkit of healthy coping strategies that help you manage life’s ups and downs and avoid a dangerous return to substance abuse.
When you part ways with your substance of use, you’ll need to find new hobbies and other enjoyable ways to fill the hours you used to spend drinking or using. You must also surround yourself with positive people who understand your goals and what you are hoping to accomplish in addiction recovery, which might require making new friends. What are some tools that can set you up for success along the way?
1. A Sober Sponsor
Sober sponsors are people who have made sufficient progress in their addiction recovery that they feel stable enough to pay it forward by mentoring others. Those who have been in AA long enough to have worked through all 12 steps and understand the program’s benefits make ideal AA sponsors. While sponsorship is not a requirement for your success, having someone to reach out to can make a significant difference when you are struggling to maintain your sobriety.
2. Mindfulness Exercises
Taking a more mindful approach to life can help you stay grounded and accept life’s events as they come. Meditation, yoga and breathing exercises are all techniques for bringing more quiet introspection into your life, but almost any activity can represent an opportunity for mindfulness. For example, try mindful walking, eating, standing in line or doing chores.
Many people keep a diary as children, but outgrow the hobby by the time they grow up. However, journaling is an excellent habit to adopt if you are working toward success in addiction recovery. Expressing yourself in writing can be highly therapeutic, especially if you’re managing anxiety or depression symptoms. Additionally, periodically reviewing previous journal entries can help you spot patterns in your thoughts and actions. For example, if you notice negative self-talk dominating, work on shifting your internal monologue to be more positive.
4. Improved Sleep Hygiene
Sleep is crucial for your overall health because it’s when your body repairs itself. It’s also a time when you process your experiences and emotions by dreaming. Since insomnia is a hallmark of addiction recovery, practicing sleep hygiene is essential to get your sleep schedule on the right track. Ensure you always go to bed and wake up at the same times, even on weekends and holidays. Establish a relaxing pre-bedtime routine of enjoying a warm bath with aromatherapy and a cup of soothing herbal tea. Try unwinding with some gentle yoga stretches that help drain stored tension from tight muscles.
Continuing to work with a therapist even after your discharge from a drug and alcohol rehab program can be an excellent addition to your recovery toolkit. A licensed therapist can give you techniques for coping with stress and dealing with complex emotions. A mental health professional may provide a fresh perspective on an issue you’re struggling with and give you a better understanding of your emotions.
Taking the Next Step in Addiction Recovery
Completing a treatment program is only the first phase of overcoming a substance abuse disorder and setting the stage for a happy, healthy life. For some people, immediately returning to their previous surroundings can place an undue amount of stress on their shoulders. That’s why it’s essential to have an aftercare plan that provides the structure you need in early recovery. At Segue Recovery Support, our sober housing offers the discipline required to prevent a relapse in the vulnerable early phase of recovery. Connect with us today to learn more.