Having the right skills and tools can help cement this into a person’s journey and make it stick for the long haul. Try out some of these elemental skills for a smoother recovery.
The best skills can be learned, but they have to come from a deeper place if they are going to stick. Like with any learned behavior, people need the confidence to keep moving forward. It starts with stopping the use of addictive substances, but that is not the only thing people learn in recovery. Changing a person’s life starts with wanting to make those changes, but also to keep them going forward. Having the right skills and tools can help cement this into a person’s journey and make it stick for the long haul. Try out some of these elemental skills for a smoother recovery.
Know the Risks
Any recovery is going to be fraught with risk. Life, itself, is risky. Triggers happen because people’s brains and bodies are wired with memories and feelings. It is important to know what personal triggers exist before going out into the real world. There is no way to know all of them, but in some cases, they may be avoided in high-risk situations that are known triggers. Positive coping mechanisms are helpful, but knowing ahead of time a person, place, or thing is going to be detrimental to recovery and sobriety can be a better protectant than reactivity later. Simply identifying these situations means knowing how to avoid them and become more empowered than you ever thought possible.
When it comes to coping with challenges and triggers, there is no good way to avoid it. Internal triggers and external triggers don’t matter, they cause a reaction all the same. Counseling, therapy, group work, and other things can help people work through what they need to answer questions. The challenge is finding what works at the moment it happens. There are no guarantees, but putting on the armor of good coping skills never goes to waste. Think about how it feels to not be using drugs or drinking. When substances are flooding the brain and body, it can be confusing and confounding to every situation a person encounters. Identifying feelings and having a plan for how to negotiate what comes into your path on a daily basis will help you cope better. Some of the signs of having challenges in coping with triggers:
- Avoiding meetings or group therapy sessions
- Unhealthy patterns re-emerging like poor eating habits, not sleeping well (or enough) and edging towards mental gymnastics that are negative or looping thoughts of using again
Any of these signs or others that emerge can be a sign a person is moving towards being triggered into an eventual relapse. It is time to reach out and seek support. Go to more meetings, sleep better more often, eat more greens and veggies, or take more time out for yourself. Don’t cheat yourself on the days you are feeling most weak or able to fall into old patterns. Create space to feel healthy when it comes to coping so you are not left too vulnerable when triggers come your way.
Detox is not just getting toxins out of the body from substances. It is also a self-care detox, a cleanse, or anything that helps the body get rid of bad behaviors, thoughts, or even food that is clogging up the brain and body. Habits are also the same way. They make a person too busy to relax, so they become uptight and used to so much tension they are not able to be healthy. Find ways to slow down and stop driving yourself into the ground. Here are some tips:
- Explore nature by going for walks or being surrounded by fresh air and trees
- Go to the gym and walk the track rather than push exercise
- Find time to read a book
- Do some art or adult coloring books
- Take more naps
The key to rest is cutting things out of the schedule to leave room for a rhythm of rest. This may look different depending on the day and time. It is about finding what works for this season of recovery in this moment.
Rebuild Your Life
Recovery is a lifelong journey. It requires looking at life in a new way, letting it take shape and form that seems new and, sometimes, frustrating. It is hard giving up your old life, even if your old life was not what you would have wanted. Drug and alcohol rehab works with you and your needs to help you find what works to rebuild your life specifically for your journey. Rebuilding your life is entirely an individual journey. Don’t look at it like an experience that will be similar to someone else. Finding mentors and models to look up to is key but don’t get caught up in that mindset of competing with others. Focus on your journey and your healing. This will help you find hope in the midst of challenges in recovery.