Stopping addiction generally is more than simply stopping drug use. Addiction takes over the life of recovering individuals – especially in those who have been abusing substances for many years. As individuals go through addiction treatment, various coping mechanisms have to be in place to support their recovery journey.
The metaphorical “recovery toolbox” includes healthy coping strategies that can help recovering individuals through difficult times when triggers and emotions get in the way.
For many in early recovery, building the recovery toolbox means reflecting back on things they once enjoyed and were passionate about before the addiction took over. Coping methods often include finding new interests or hobbies, as the recovery process is the process of rediscovering oneself.
A recovery toolbox doesn’t just include fun things, but also things that can inspire, comfort, guide, ground, calm or relieve cravings. Everyone has his or her own unique way of dealing with difficult times. At Florida Center for Recovery clients are able to explore their feelings and create their own recovery toolbox which is essential for coping with the many future challenges of recovery.
The following are just a few ideas to get your recovery toolbox started:
To Inspire You:
- Get your daily affirmation or verse, favorite quote or mantra. Words work. A reminder or affirmation can halt destructive behaviors, raise spirits, remind you of the truth and pull you up out of destructive thoughts or actions
- Attend a sober meeting or call a supportive friend
- Have a shortlist of people on hand or quick access to finding local meetings. These are people who understand where you’re at, what you’re going through and can help lift you up and calm you down
- Allocate money previously used on your addiction for a weekend getaway or a special gift for yourself
To Comfort You:
- Breathing exercises – while focusing solely on the air going in and out of your lungs, long, deep breathing can bring a sense of calm. Proper breathing can relieve anxiety and promote balance
- Essential oils – scent is one of the most powerful triggers for emotions and memories. A comforting scent such as lavender or eucalyptus can take you back to a place of peace.
To Relieve Cravings:
Exercise is one of the most useful healthy coping mechanisms available to anyone struggling with addiction. It doesn’t just improve your physical fitness, it helps your body recover from the damages sustained from drugs and alcohol. It can also help you sleep better, reduce stress and alleviate anxiety and depression.
To Ground You:
Meditation – guided meditation or even just taking a few minutes to find a quiet place can have major physical and mental benefits including reduced stress, increased mindfulness and relaxation
Journaling- writing down your thoughts or feelings – whether they are positive or negative – can be a release. Instead of bottling things up, you’ll be able to express yourself on paper and organize your thoughts and emotions
Focus on the positive – You may have heard the expression, “Stinkin’ thinkin’” – which refers to getting caught up in negative thoughts that can trigger drug or alcohol use or relapse. Avoid this spiral of negativity with a shift in your thought pattern and by looking for positive things. This can go hand-in-hand with practicing gratitude.
These are just a few examples of coping mechanisms that can help in your recovery from addiction. Each person will find different things that work for him or her in her own unique path.
May your recovery toolbox be filled with all the “gadgets” you need to get back to a place of comfort and ease.
Florida Center for Recovery
Clinical Excellence & Compassionate Care in a Healing Environment
Providing Addiction & Mental Health Treatment Since 2002
To learn about our addiction treatment program and therapies visit us at:
or call us at (800) 851-3291. All calls are confidential.
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.