Strong, healthy coping skills are an advantage for anyone in today’s fast paced society, and particularly for individuals in recovery. Coming to terms with addictive behavior involves confronting how routine reactions and responses have substituted for stronger and more productive alternatives. Deliberate practice of healthy coping skills in recovery will reinforce the ability to manage stress and confront difficult situations without the need to escape.
The simplest practices provide space to evaluate; take a step back, take a break and learn to ask for help when needed. Spend a quiet moment meditating or call someone in recovery to talk. Be honest and learn to identify the signals of your mind and body; sometimes just getting a good night’s sleep or a healthy meal can have positive impact on attitude. Creating space for self discovery and identifying your own needs allows for room to choose responses to situations carefully, which will have productive results. Protecting oneself from destructive people, environments and substances will mean sometimes having to set firm boundaries. Make the most of positive alternatives, such as reading, taking a walk during lunch or attending treatment. It is important to create new habits and to challenge catastrophizing or negative thinking. We have the ability to re-write the inner dialogue and story we create for ourselves.
At some point, escaping through the use of drugs and alcohol has ceased being effective and the use of any mind-altering substance has become destructive, so developing healthy coping skills in recovery concedes a character strength which takes time to develop. Affirming words and images, as well as acknowledging gratitude every day for recovery will have a positive impact in promoting a meaningful life without drugs or alcohol.