Coping Skills in Recovery
You do not recover from addiction by not using; you recover by creating a new life where it is easier not to use. This is not an easy task as addiction typically seeps into every aspect of life when active. As part of creating a new life you need to be able to cope with the stress that comes into play each day as you are trying to make both big and small changes. By avoiding these stress’s or knowing how to handle them in a healthy manner long term recovery is much more likely.
If you are truly ready to start living a healthier, better life and reach recovery then start with the basics. The common acronym of HALT is use to help former addicts be aware of the most common of triggers. If you can avoid these triggers you are less likely to fall back into addiction. HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. When you are starting to feel any of these things take a break, or halt, and take care of the issue before it leads to a bigger problem. It seems silly to think of such small things leading to relapse, but they can and do for many. You should also consider the people, places, and things you come into contact with that could cause stress. If there are specific people that you spent time with that are also addicts. Then these people will need to be avoided. The same is true of places and things. If you had a favorite bar, favorite place to place bets, or even a favorite pharmacy, start avoiding that place to avoid relapse.
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Things may seem weird, but consider the idea that you played a favorite playlist each time you got high or pulled out a favorite outfit before hitting the club to get drunk. These things are associated with the addiction and need to be removed from your environment so they do not trigger a craving or relapse. Before you do find yourself facing a situation that could be considered risky, have a plan. Simple changes like mapping out a new route to avoid specific spots or erasing certain songs. Even having a friend help you take off the triggering items in your room can mean the difference in relapse and long term recovery.
As you begin the process of changing your life, make a list of personal triggers and high risk situations that you can readily identify in your life. It is unlikely you can be prepared for everything, but being prepared for the obvious ones is a good start. If these situations do arise you will have a plan in place. In order to be truly prepared when these stressful times or unexpected stressors arise there are a few other things you can do, as shared below.
Take the time to take care of yourself. If you are healthy physically it will be easier to stay healthy mentally. Eat right, drink plenty of water, and take time to relax and unwind. Make sure to ask for help when you need it. Use good stress management techniques as part of your recovery. Remember nothing will change unless you change it. Addiction has given you a chance to change your life as part of recovery, but the choice is yours.
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