Divorce, layoffs, a diagnosis, a car accident—significant life events can strike anyone, anytime. For most of us, the emotional tidal wave passes, we heal and bounce back. For someone in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, the destruction can be devastating, pushing the addict toward relapse and back into addiction.
Recovering addicts must learn to cope when unexpected and unavoidable incidents arise in life. They have to learn to remain vigilant on their feet, and they need a safety-net in case they ever slip.
Be Energetic In Your Recovery Efforts
Support groups and psychotherapy sessions are your outlet for getting out all your anger and frustration. Any and all stressors are threats to your sobriety; they need to come out. If you feel like you’re only skimming the surface of your problems, talk to your counselor or sponsor about adding more sessions.
Stay In Tune With Your Support Network
Maintain awareness among your friends and family that you’re in recovery and you may need their help at any time. When the urge to drink arises, make the phone call, even if it’s for the tenth time that week.
Learn To Pause and Think
Make it a habit: no matter what course of action you’re taking, and no matter how set you are on it, always take a few minutes to freeze, take a few deep breaths, and reflect. If you’re on your way out the door to meet your connection or hit up the corner-store, this precaution should come in handy. Look at the clock, check your email, do a couple pushups—give your mind a chance to breathe. Once reset, your brain may steer you back on track if you’re heading the wrong way.
Look Toward the Future
Focus on what you can change. It’s not that the past is irrelevant or invaluable. Just because we can’t change it doesn’t mean it’s not worth assessing, analyzing, and deconstructing. That’s all a big part of treatment, especially in psychotherapy and in group meetings. However, it’s not helpful to dwell on the past during day-to-day life, especially not for recovering drug addicts, who benefit greatly from having sense of direction: putting one step forward, and constantly focusing on whatever needs to come next—shopping for groceries, visiting a relative, walking the dog.
Remind Yourself Of Your Blessings
Most people, including addicts, overlook a lot of gifts in their lives: a garden in the backyard, a roof over your head, a hot cup of coffee in the morning. And everyone, especially addicts, can benefit from writing those blessings down, either on paper or in their head, and updating the list every now and again.