Stress is a common variable for those that find themselves addicted to their substance of choice. Many times, individuals feel as though they are under an enormous amount of stress and look for coping mechanisms to help them manage their stress levels more effectively. Some seek the use of drugs while others look to other holistic approaches such as meditation and exercise. No matter what one’s reasons for seeking the use of drugs are, it is important to learn and integrate stress relieving techniques into one’s life to help prevent addiction, relapse and other health conditions.
Learning how to effectively manage one’s mental state during a stressful situation can help one gain self-confidence, self-control and can help one think more clearly rather than acting impulsively. While in treatment and rehab, one is given numerous opportunities to learn effective, yet healthy, ways to manage stress and anxiety — all of which can further one’s recovery.
The Effects of Stress Management
There are a few common reasons individuals turn to drug and alcohol use. Most addicts use to help them relax, escape and as a reward system, which means they keep using to relieve tension and ease both their stress and anxiety. One of the first primary rules of recovery is that recovering addicts must change their lives to accommodate their sobriety and for many this means finding a new way to relieve tension both while in treatment and once treatment is completed. Everyone needs to escape once in a while, relax, and reward themselves, which are essential coping skills for one to have a happy and rewarding life.
However, addicts generally do not know how to accomplish this without using. If they manage to stop using for a while but do not learn how to relax through healthy methods, their tensions will continue to build until they relapse. High amounts of tension paired with the inability to effectively relax are some of the most common causes of relapse. Included in the following are some ways that learning effective stress management skills can help individuals while in rehab and once they complete it:
- Relaxation is not a choice, it’s a requirement for life-long sobriety
- Be honest with yourself and others
- Take time to enjoy the simple things
Relaxation and stress management are not optional parts of the recovery process; they are essential to recovery. There are numerous ways one can relax, which can include walking or even meditation. If addicts are unable to find such leisurely activities relaxing, they may need something more reliable such as a medication. Recovering addicts may be wary of medication, so just make sure that if they seek medication management that their doctors are aware of their addiction history and ask for non-habit forming medications. It’s important to take time every day to relax and de-stress.
Addiction requires one to continuously lie, whether it is about their addiction, how often they use or how the feed their habit, lying is always an intricate part. Addicts often find themselves hidden behind all these lies with no way to escape but to address them through sobriety. For recovery to be successful, one must be willing to be 100 percent honest with themselves, others and medical personnel about his addiction among other issues in his past. At first this candor can cause an addict to feel tremendous amounts of anxiety. However, once his past is addressed and a treatment plan is put into place he will be able to heal from his past, both mentally and physically, reducing his overall stress and anxiety.
Addiction consumes an addict’s life and causes him to lose track of time, time which he can never get back. Many addicts find these lost years difficult to accept. Once in recovery, recovering addicts are taught how to slow down and think clearly before acting or committing to any obligation. They learn that although their lives may be hectic, taking the extra time to spend with loved ones or take a walk can only better their lives. Relationships are often affected the most when addiction is present and taking the proper time to address these issues can help addicts in recovery feel less stress and more able to enjoy being around their loved ones once again.