No more drinking; no more drugs; so then what? Recovery from alcohol or drug addiction leaves an individual feeling anxious and desperately in need of coping skills for addiction. One of the most important tools is joining a support community. Rather than the prideful white-knuckle approach of “doing it alone,” alcoholics and addicts benefit in many ways from finding others to help them along the way in creating a new life.

More than “just quitting”

Recovery from addiction is hard work involving a courageous look at underlying issues. One important coping skill in changing addictive behavior is recognizing triggers using the simple acronym “H.A.L.T.” – hungry, angry, lonely, tired. By paying attention to what’s really occurring in your physical body and emotional state of being, you can address the real issue instead of covering it up with alcohol or drugs.

Additionally, pay attention to people, places and things. If you keep company with the people who drank and used drugs with you, you are more likely to fall back into familiar patterns. If you go the same places where you went in your drinking and drugging days, you are more likely to fall into temptation. If you focus on things that remind you of your past, you are more likely to want them.

Emotions? What are those?

People who abuse alcohol and drugs have trouble with their feelings. Addictive substances pretend to dissipate uncomfortable feelings and to expand pleasant feelings. Eventually, however, alcohol and drugs take over and begin to ruin relationships and prevent people from functioning as well as they could with clear minds and healthy bodies.

Coping with emotions without relying on addictive substances can include techniques like these:

  • Utilizing meditation techniques
  • Participating in physical activities to reduce tension in the body
  • Writing feelings and emotions in a journal
  • Attending both group and one-on-one therapy sessions
  • Gaining a strong network of support

Finding healthy coping skills in recovery is the key to developing a new way of life. Keeping a positive “can do” attitude and taking life one day at a time make all the difference.

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