Legacy Healing Center Blog
Learning Healthy Coping Skills is Essential for Long-Term Recovery
Recovering from an addiction to substances can be challenging. You’ll need to develop healthy coping skills in addition to having the strength, courage, and support from the right people to help you push through and achieve your goals for long-lasting sobriety.
Try using these 8 healthy coping skills to guide you along on your recovery journey:
1. Join a support group
There are different support groups that help people in recovery maintain their sobriety. Whether you choose to join a 12-step program, like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, or another type of program, work closely with a sponsor. Your sponsor will be the person you can trust and turn to when guidance, truthfulness and compassion are what you’ll need in times of struggle. Be sure to attend meetings regularly.
2. Create a strong support network with others who are in recovery
Joining a support group is essential to continued recovery, but so is having personal relationships with sober friends who understand how to help you when self-destructive behaviors or habits threaten your sobriety. Strengthen the bonds you have within this support network of friends and family.
3. Be truthful with yourself
Become actively aware of your true thoughts and feelings in any given moment of the day. Being mindful of your activities and emotions helps you become more present and allows you to face the truth about your addictive behaviors. Be honest about your substance use with yourself and with others. Look at yourself objectively. There’s no longer a need to lie to yourself about addiction, because you now have the healthy coping skills you need to remain sober.
4. Manage your stress
Stress management is one of life’s most important healthy coping skills for recovery. Perhaps you first began using substances in order to help yourself relax and escape. Now you need to relax and de-stress in order to maintain sobriety. You can relax and manage stress in many ways:
- Engage in a new hobby or renew an interest in one you used to enjoy
- Become a volunteer at an organization so you will care for others rather than concentrating on your own worries
- Take a course in stress management
- Learn how to practice meditation, which brings you into the present and lets you escape and relax your mind in a positive manner
5. Journaling and keeping gratitude lists are healthy coping skills
Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a daily journal sets you free and helps you deal with your troubles in a positive way. You’ll often feel better after writing down your thoughts about any negative happenings or emotions have clouded your day. It’s also helpful and healthy to put in writing each day a little something about the things you’re grateful for in life. This activity is simple, positive and will help you relax.
6. Develop an exercise routine
Exercise releases endorphins; feel-good hormones the body releases naturally when engaging in physical activities. Having a healthy mind and body are key components of addiction treatment. Whether you like to swim, run, walk, lift weights or engage in other forms of exercise, do it on a regular basis to feel good and remain fit.
7. Take care of your essential needs
When you’re hungry, angry, lonely or tired, you’re more apt to give into temptation. These are known as the H.A.L.T. symptoms. When you’re not taking care of your bodily and social needs, you’re bound to become tense and stressed out, which can lead you to thoughts of relapse. Be sure to take care of yourself to avoid becoming stressed to the point of triggering a relapse. Eat regularly, use your other healthy coping skills to remain relaxed, keep a regular sleep schedule, and call someone in your social support system when loneliness creeps in.
8. Avoid triggers
Certain triggers and people can cause you to want to use substances again. Stay away from these places, people, and things that can pressure you into turning to substances. Enjoy new habits and new friends who help you steer clear of triggers.
At Legacy Healing Center, we know that recovery is about staying sober while enjoying life. Using healthy coping skills is key to your sobriety after recovery.
If you or a loved one needs help getting started on the path to recovery or with maintaining sobriety, Legacy Healing Center can help. Call us today at (888) 534-2295 to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Calls are completely confidential and we can answer any questions you many have about treatment. Click here to learn more about our treatment programs.