Reach out for support

Don’t try to go it alone. Whatever treatment approach you choose, having positive influences and a solid support system is essential. The more people you can turn to for encouragement, guidance, and a listening ear, the better your chances for recovery.

Lean on close friends and family.

Having the support of friends and family members is an invaluable asset in recovery. If you’re reluctant to turn to your loved ones because you’ve let them down before, consider going to relationship counseling or family therapy.

Build a sober social network.

If your previous social life revolved around drugs, you may need to make some new connections. It’s important to have sober friends who will support your recovery. Try taking a class, joining a church or a civic group, volunteering, or attending events in your community.

Learn healthy ways to cope with stress

After addressing your immediate problems with addiction and starting treatment, you’ll still have to face the problems that led to your drug abuse. Did you start using to numb painful emotions, calm yourself after an argument, unwind after a bad day, or forget about your problems? Once you’re sober, the negative feelings that you dampened with drugs will resurface. For treatment to be successful, you’ll first need to resolve your underlying issues.

Once you have resolved your underlying issues, you will, at times, continue to experience stress, loneliness, frustration, anger, shame, anxiety, and hopelessness. These emotions are all a normal part of life. Finding ways to address these feelings as they arise is an essential component to your treatment and recovery.

Relieving stress without drugs

Drug abuse often stems from misguided attempts to manage stress. Many people turn to alcohol or drugs to unwind and relax after a stressful event, or to cover up painful memories and emotions, but there are healthier ways to keep your stress level in check. You can learn to manage your problems without falling back on your addiction. Different quick stress relief strategies work better for some people than others. The key is to find the one that works best for you. When you’re confident in your ability to quickly de-stress, facing strong feelings isn’t as intimidating or overwhelming.

  • Exercise. A brisk walk around the block can be enough to make a difference. Yoga and meditation are also excellent ways to bust stress and find balance.

  • Step outside and savor the warm sun and fresh air. Enjoy a beautiful view or landscape.

  • Play with your dog or cat. Enjoy the relaxing touch of your pet’s fur.

  • Experiment with your sense of smell. Breathe in the scent of fresh flowers or coffee beans, or savor a scent that reminds you of a favorite vacation, such as sunscreen or a seashell.

  • Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place. Think of a sandy beach, or a fond memory, such as your child’s first steps or time spent with friends.

  • Pamper yourself. Make yourself a steaming cup of tea, give yourself a neck or shoulder massage. Soak in a hot bath or shower.

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