Burnout Happens: How to Cope and Stay Clean

Recovery is really about seeking out balance. There is the reality of daily life and the reality of living in isolation while trying to sort through difficult circumstances. When looking at life inside recovery, it is hard to explain why it is difficult to cope with life and stay clean. It just is a fact the brain, body, and spirit all get kicked down a bit with addiction and burnout can easily happen when all these systems are already taxed.

Life’s Challenges

With active addiction, it is difficult to face anything in life. Work can serve as a means of acquiring more drugs. When this is the lifestyle, it can feel like there is nothing left but a bare bones existence. With sobriety, life happens in a new way where the world seems to open up new possibilities. Recovery is less about not using drugs and more about how to cope with life without the use of drugs. Trouble is, there is no experience of dealing with life sober and what it throws at people. When life is tough, it is hard to cope. Burnout actually comes as an opportunity for character-building. This event can strengthen resolve and remind people they can handle anything coming their way. Everyone’s journey is unique with challenges and setbacks but people have to focus on what they can do to move forward.

Get a Grip

Burnout happens when extreme states of chronic stress lead to physical and emotional exhaustion, detachment, and feelings of being ineffective or like a failure. High-achieving people in recovery who have a lot on their plates can experience burnout quickly. There comes a time when things start to fall apart and it is harder to stay the course:

  • Relationships fail
  • Stress from work and family
  • Triggers to use substances
  • Betrayal of trust from others
  • Death or loss of loved ones
  • Moving, changing jobs, or stressful situational shifts

These events can all be taxing on the brain, body, and spirit. It is hard to spend days in depression and exhaustion, desperate to escape. The body and mind will let people know when it is time to stop.

New Coping Strategies

Stress and burnout are normal parts of life. It is okay to feel it. This is not a failure in recovery. Relapse does not have to happen, either. Don’t be afraid to push limits. Recovery is about living with the uncomfortable. Discomfort is part of life and learning how to cope without burning out can help avoid pitfalls like relapse. When on the verge of burnout, it helps to try the following coping strategies:

  • Acknowledge feelings
  • Create space to rest by limiting responsibilities, pushing deadlines, saying no
  • Ask for help from trusted professionals and friends
  • Practice yoga
  • Find a stress outlet

It is okay to ask for help. Don’t think it is about sitting and waiting for others to come and offer help. There is no failure in asking for support and sharing responsibilities of life. The balance in recovery is trying to limit episodes of burnout. Coping with burnout is difficult but it helps to share experiences and coping tips to stay focused on the true path of recovery being the ultimate goal.

The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.