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Coping With Sobriety

How to stay sober

Anyone progressing along the road to recovery from substance abuse will have moments of doubt. There will be times when they are tempted to reverse back down the road and take the relapse turning.

Coping mechanisms:

A key feature of maintaining sobriety is for a person to grasp just how important coping mechanisms are. They will need to develop these skills in order to successfully avoid the many temptations, situations and feelings which will confront them.

The stress placed on a recovering addict means they need to be aware of how to adapt to conscious or unconscious choices that regularly surface and need to be acted upon in a positive way.

Two types of coping mechanism:

In general coping mechanism are either:

  • Healthy – Healthy coping mechanisms are seen as positive and are a strong asset to aiding recovery.
  • Unhealthy – Those who allow themselves to succumb to unhealthy coping skills are likely to struggle in their quest to maintain sobriety and find themselves in a relapse situation.

Healthy coping mechanisms:

There are many healthy mechanisms that will help a person cope. Here are just 3 that can be hugely beneficial:

  • Focussing on the positive: It is very easy for a person going through recovery to let their guard down and allow negative thoughts to flood their mind. This is something that must be resisted. Maintain a positive attitude and outlook. This approach to the here and now as well as the next ‘tomorrow’ is a vital weapon in the recovery armoury.
  • Don’t bottle things up: It is completely understandable that a person striving to maintain sobriety will have conflicting thoughts, they will struggle with fears and worries. Keeping these thoughts and feelings to yourself will do no good whatsoever. Speak about the issues with your counsellor, sponsor or someone you can confide in. By doing so it will help you understand and overcome.
  • Exercise: By exercising your body you will also exercise your mind. Exercise is positive, it spurs on a more balanced diet and sleeping pattern. Exercise will help improve a person’s emotional well-being, and a well-balanced person is ready for the daily challenges that addiction recovery brings.

Unhealthy coping mechanisms:

There are as many, if not more unhealthy mechanisms a person recovering from addiction will encounter. Again, here are 3 major ones:

  • Denial: A recovering addict has already overcome the major denial that fuelled addiction in the first place. Don’t let further denial hamper efforts towards sobriety.
  • Misplaced aggression: It is understandable that a recovering addict will be angry and become flustered in certain situations, but this aggressiveness must not be placed on those around you. Instead channel this aggression into recovery.
  • Avoidance: Avoiding inevitable situations and trying to ignore them will do no good whatsoever. It will only weaken a person’s resolve. Determine to face up to things no matter how uncomfortable they may appear.

Learn to cope – Learn to progress:

By acquiring and using positive coping skills a person is giving themselves every chance of remaining sober. Keep aware, keep your guard up and never be afraid to discuss any situation with those you trust in.

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