Healthy Coping Skills in Recovery

When you’re in addiction recovery, temptations to use substances again don’t stop. Neither do stressful life circumstances that can cause you to develop poor habits that could trigger your addiction. Thus, to learn how to manage your addiction, you must practice healthy coping skills in recovery. 

What Are Addiction Triggers?

Addiction triggers are things, feelings, or events that can trigger your desire to use substances again. While there are common types of addiction triggers, the combination of addiction triggers that individuals suffer from differ. For example, stress could be a primary addiction trigger for one person. Idleness without anything going on in life, on the other hand, can act as an addiction trigger for someone else.

Common Types of Addiction Triggers

While addiction triggers can vary, there are two categories that most addiction triggers fall under. These two categories are emotional addiction triggers and environmental addiction triggers. 

Emotional Addiction Triggers

Emotional addiction triggers are overwhelming feelings that cause an addict to want to use substances again. Common emotional addiction triggers include:

Environmental Addiction Triggers

Environmental addiction triggers are things, situations, and places in the world that trigger the desire to use substances. While emotional addiction triggers come from within an addict, environmental triggers come from forces outside of the addict. Common environmental addiction triggers include:

While recovering addicts can avoid some common addiction triggers, they’re going to encounter them at some point. Thus, to get through life without succumbing to every addiction trigger, addicts need to develop healthy coping skills in recovery.

Healthy Coping Skills in Recovery

There are countless healthy coping skills in recovery. These coping skills can vary from physical to mental, emotional, or environmental. 

As long as your coping skills for substance use increase your health and wellness in some way, they’re considered healthy. Below are some of the top healthy coping skills in recovery.

coping skills in recovery

1. Avoid High-Risk Situations

The best way to prevent yourself from encountering environmental addiction triggers is to avoid high-risk situations altogether. These are any type of environmental condition that would likely cause you to encounter substances or people or things that remind you of substance use. For example, a high-risk situation that you should avoid as a recovering addict is a party or event where you know that there is going to be heavy drinking and recreational substance use. 

As a recovering addict, you shouldn’t even test your willpower by attending such a party or event. If you continue to test your willpower by putting yourself in such high-risk situations, you’re bound to eventually fail. This failure is relapsing.  

Another example of a high-risk situation is a bar. If you’re recovering from substance addiction, especially addiction to alcohol, you have no business being in a bar. Playing with fire by putting yourself in such high-risk situations will only cause you to get burned. 

2. Go to 12-Step Program Meetings

One of the best healthy coping skills in recovery is attending 12-step meetings. 12-step meetings are support groups for specific types of substance addictions that any recovering addict can attend. At 12-step meetings, recovering addicts talk about their addiction struggles and lean on one another for support and guidance. 12-step meeting groups also teach recovering addicts tools and practices that can help them maintain their sobriety.

One reason why attending 12-step meetings is a healthy coping skill in recovery is because it allows recovering addicts to vent about their frustrations and struggles with addiction. Another reason why attending 12-step meetings is a healthy coping skill in recovery is because it helps provide support for recovering addicts. 12-step meetings even teach recovering addicts about different coping skills and tools that they use to manage their addictions. 

As we mentioned, there are different 12-step meeting groups that specialize in dealing with recovering addicts of certain substances. For example, alcoholics can attend the 12-step meeting program called Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). People that are recovering from addiction to narcotics, on the other hand, can attend the Narcotics Anonymous 12-step program meetings.

3. Build a Support Network

Another way to increase your support network as a recovering addict is to literally make connections with people that are healthy-minded and support your addiction recovery journey. By building a support network that’s filled with family and friends, along with people that you’ve met in rehab and addiction support groups, you can create a solid network that will help keep you accountable in maintaining your sobriety. A good support network will also help catch you if you ever were to fall back into abusing substances. 

4. Talk to a Therapist, Counselor, or Sponsor 

Talking to a therapist, addiction counselor, or sponsor is also one of the top healthy coping skills for substance abuse. This is because doing so can help you gain insight and perspective on your addiction triggers and addiction recovery journey. 

Talking to a therapist, counselor, or sponsor on a regular basis also helps you vent about your struggles with addiction. It can also minimize your chances of turning to substances to get out your pent-up frustrations. 

5. Exercise

One of the best coping skills for substance abuse is exercising. This is because exercising helps the chemicals in your brain to release endorphins, which make you feel good. Therefore, you won’t feel the need to use substances to cope and feel better about life. 

Exercising is also healthy for your body. Thus, it’s a way to help repair the damage that chronic substance abuse has caused to your body. 

6. Stay Healthy

Other ways to stay healthy during and after the current pandemic is to eat a balanced nutritious diet and get enough sleep. By sleeping a full night each night and eating healthy, you’re repairing your body from the damage that substance abuse caused it. Living an overall healthy lifestyle even helps to refuel your body after treatment. 

7. Remind Yourself of Negative Consequences of Using Substances

There are countless negative consequences to abusing substances. For one, it can cause you to get into legal trouble. Another negative consequence of substance abuse is that it can make you sick. Substance abuse can even lead to an overdose, or worse, death. 

If you always had a list of these negative consequences of substance abuse running through your head, then you likely never use substances again. Thus, one of the many coping skills in recovery is to periodically remind yourself of these negative consequences.  

8. Mindfulness and Meditation

If you can refocus your mind whenever you feel tempted to use substances, you can avoid substance use. That’s why mindfulness and meditation are such important coping skills in recovery. 

Mindfulness and meditation help people calm their minds down through practices like deep breathing and visualization. That way they can better control their mental states and the things they do later on because of it. 

9. Keep Busy and Active

As we mentioned briefly earlier, idleness can be an addiction trigger for some people. That’s why it’s important to remain busy and active when in recovery. 

You can remain busy and active in recovery by practicing physical activities. Participating in a variety of other sober activities can also help keep you busy and active and thus, less likely to abuse substances. 

10. Find Gratitude

One final healthy coping skill in recovery that we’ll mention in this article is the practice of gratitude. Practicing gratitude for the things in your life each day will help you avoid falling into mental illness due to your addiction. Practicing gratitude will also help you gain perspective about your addiction.

coping skills in recovery

Unhealthy Coping Skills in Recovery

While there are countless healthy coping skills in recovery, there are also numerous unhealthy coping skills in recovery. One of the primary unhealthy coping skills in recovery is using substances again. 

Most people use substances to cope with life’s struggles because it has immediate effects. In fact, nearly all unhealthy coping skills for substance abuse have immediate effects when comparing them to their healthy counterparts. 

That’s why it’s so much easier to develop unhealthy coping skills for substance abuse and than it is to develop healthy coping skills for substance abuse. Common unhealthy coping skills in recovery include:

Why Treatment is Necessary for Those in Recovery

If you or someone you know relapsed and began using substances again due to poor coping skills, it’s important that you re-enter rehab. This is because only long-term addiction treatment (longer than 90 days) will treat someone that has a problem relapsing after attending rehab. 

Long-term addiction treatment helps people overcome chronic relapsing by teaching them healthy coping skills that they can effectively use when entering back into the real world. If a person needs extra treatment after regular long-term rehab, he or she can even enter a sober living home. 

In sober living homes, recovering addicts live in an apartment-like community with other recovering addicts where no substances are allowed. While living in a sober living community, recovering addicts receive aftercare services like therapy and support group meetings while supporting one another and practicing functioning in the real world as sober individuals. 

Even for those in addiction recovery that don’t relapse, it’s important to receive aftercare treatment through 12-step meetings, continued therapy, and a support network. By receiving such aftercare treatment, addicts can better maintain healthy coping skills in recovery. Thus, continued aftercare treatment helps many recovering addicts avoid relapsing.

CNV Detox is The Place to Receive Addiction Treatment

Here at CNV Detox, we understand the impact continued therapy and treatment have on the maintenance of healthy coping skills in recovery. That’s why we provide services such as 12-step programs and different forms of therapy for those that want to use them. 

For addicts who have relapsed or are attending rehab for the first time, we provide a wide variety of individualized inpatient addiction treatment programs for a wide variety of substances. To learn more about CNV Detox, and the addiction treatment services that we offer, contact us today.