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Top 10 Coping Tools for Addiction Recovery

motivationThe secret to a successful sobriety is to pick up the right tools for dealing with life. The more effective tools you have, the easier things are going to become for you. This is why it is so important that you face any challenge that comes your way as it gives you the opportunity to pick up some new tools.

You have probably heard people talk about how one of the goals of recovery is to develop serenity. This is a feeling of inner contentment that is there all of the time no matter what is happening in your life. One of the keys to developing serenity is filling up your copping toolbox with enough tools. This means you eventually reach a stage at which you can cope with anything that comes your way and life no longer feels like so much of a struggle.

It is unrealistic to expect the challenges to disappear from your life as nobody gets a free ride, but it is reasonable to desire the strategies for dealing with these challenges. In light of this, here are 10 of the most important coping tools you will need in order to build a successful sobriety:

1. Sharing Your Problems

It is hoped that by the time you have become established in recovery, you will have got over the idea that admitting you are having problems is somehow shameful. This way of thinking keeps individuals trapped in addiction and it can ruin any chance of a better life. Sharing your problems is vital because it means that others will be able to help you; even if they cannot offer any practical help, the fact that you have shared your difficulties will make them easier to cope with.

2. Managing Anger

It only takes a few seconds for anger to derail your recovery as this emotion can mean you completely lose control. There will always be things to feel angry about and there is a healthy way of expressing anger, but uncontrolled anger is a luxury you cannot afford. It is vital that you develop strategies for dealing with this emotion. If this is proving to be a problem for you then it is highly recommended that you consider anger management classes. One aspect of going to rehab is that this is usually one of the issues dealt with as part of the programme.

3. Managing Stress

Life is stressful and there is no real way to escape stress completely. In fact, some stress is good and you would probably not be here without out; imagine if any of your pre-historic ancestors had remained relaxed while a bear came running towards him or her. Of course, it is important to eliminate any unnecessary stress from your life, but it is even more crucial that you develop some effective techniques for dealing with stress. This could include learning breathing techniques for relaxation or learning to blow off this energy through exercise or hobbies.

4. Meditation

With so much scientific evidence as well as anecdotes supporting it, there is little doubt that meditation is an incredibly effective tool for most in recovery. You do need to be careful with this technique as it can exacerbate problems such as depersonalisation if done incorrectly. It is important that you get advice from a qualified meditation instructor who can guide your progress; if you are unsure about your suitability for meditation, you might also speak with your GP.

5. Exercise

If you do not exercise regularly, you are almost certainly missing a crucial tool in your recovery. The reality is that lack of exercise not only means an unhealthy body, but it also means an unhealthy mind. You do not have to run the marathon, but you do need to get your body moving every day – even if it is only for a brisk walk. Lack of exercise can really suck the joy out of recovery and it can exacerbate the symptoms of things such as depression and anxiety; it can also mean you suffer from a permanent brain fog and a feeling of low energy.

6. Yoga

The nice thing about yoga is it combines meditation with exercise so that you get two benefits for the price of one. This is also a great tool for relieving stress, while keeping your body supple and muscles toned. There are many different types of yoga, but one of the nice things about this type of practice is that it can be a lifelong adventure.

7. Letting Go

If you try to micromanage the universe, you are going to end up suffering unnecessarily. If you are a member of a 12-step group, you will have no doubt heard the serenity prayer many times; this contains some crucial advice – God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. There is no benefit to getting upset or worried about things that are outside of your control. This just robs you of your energy and leads to feelings of powerlessness. It is much better that your put your efforts into dealing with the things you do have control over because this is where you are going to find the most success in life.

8. Acceptance

Acceptance is closely related to letting go, so this is another skill vital to your recovery. It is important to understand this is not the same as being a fatalist and just accepting everything that happens as being inevitable. Acceptance is all about acknowledging that what has happened has happened and to stop fighting things that cannot be changed.

9. Humility

Humility is the willingness to accept your limitations and be open to advice and criticism. It does not mean that you need to become a doormat or that you can never be assertive. People who fall into addiction tend to behave arrogantly, which is just usually a defence mechanism for low self-esteem. Humility is the opposite of arrogance and it means you have now become teachable.

10. Beginner’s Mind

If you already believe you have all the answers, it will not really be possible for you to learn much from other people. This is a problem because if you did have all the answers then your life would probably be much different than it is now. Beginner’s mind requires humility, meaning that you become willing to have your beliefs and opinions questioned. It means you stop focusing on defending your thoughts and instead become motivated to learn and grow. One of the other important elements of beginner’s mind is the understanding that you benefit far more from listening than talking.

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