If you’re still using drugs or drinking, perhaps it’s hard to imagine your life without using substances. How can you make the shift from using to never touching the bottle again? One of the primary reasons men and women turn to drugs and alcohol in the first place is that they want to escape something. They want to escape life’s challenges, difficult emotions, or even physical pain. Yet, escaping something versus coping with it can make life’s matters worse. Plus, escaping life through drugs or alcohol often leads to more trouble, especially if an addiction develops.

It might sound obvious. The better you can cope with the challenges of life, the better your chances of moving past those challenges with ease. If you can stay away from drinking or using drugs and instead find other ways to cope with life’s difficulties, at the very least you won’t be contributing to an addiction.

However, this is not always that obvious in our day to day life. It’s not always that easy to remember to use healthy coping mechanisms when you’re in the middle of a stressful moment in your life. Plus, most of us don’t even think about coping mechanisms. We don’t give the way we cope with life much thought. We just cope.

According to an online dictionary:

To cope means the ability to deal effectively with something difficult.

Yet, if you’re hurting yourself in the process of coping with your life, then it’s safe to say that you’re not coping with life effectively. What you need to go from addiction to sobriety is a better way to cope with life.

For instance, you might feel stuck in situations that are not under your control. You’re required to do things you don’t want to do or attend events that you don’t want to participate in. It’s important to have stress-relieving techniques to help you manage life stress as well as coping tools to manage challenging emotions.

The following are suggestions for relaxation techniques and coping mechanisms that you might want to use in your recovery. For instance, you might need to take breaks throughout the day to be with yourself.  You might need to take a break from technology or listen to relaxing music. And when stress is high, you might need to know of a helpful coping mechanism to use right in the middle of a stressful moment, such as deep breathing. The following are suggestions for coping when life gets challenging:

  • -Exercise.
  • -Have a chosen person you trust to confide in from time to time.
  • -Breathe.
  • -Have a belief in a higher power.
  • -Have a meditation or yoga practice.
  • -Take a break from technology
  • -Turn on some relaxing music.
  • -Find ways to relax; a relaxed mind can offer ideas and insights to the problem.
  • -Research answers to the problem.
  • -Keep a journal
  • -Have a mentor/sponsor to help you walk through challenges.

Of course, it’s important to stress that just because you develop coping tools and incorporate them into your life doesn’t mean that you won’t need addiction treatment. Addiction is a progressive disease and gets worse over time. In order to heal from addiction, it requires professional treatment. This includes detoxification, withdrawal, and a long period of recovery.

If you’re already in recovery, then healthy coping tools can strengthen your sobriety and prevent relapse. However, if you’re in the middle of your addiction, healthy coping tools can ease the pain of life. But the addiction will still need to be treated.  If you’re experiencing an addiction, contact a mental health provider today.

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