Helpful Coping Skills for Substance Abuse Recovery

Helpful Coping Skills For Substance Abuse Recovery
November 15, 2019

Whether you’re just starting your recovery journey, or have found yourself struggling through recovery, You know that drugs and/or alcohol have a detrimental effect on your life. Ending their use, while challenging, may be one of the easier steps in the recovery process, it’s learning to cope during recovery that is often the most challenging part. As part of your treatment, it is important to identify, practice, and implement coping skills for substance abuse to help you through tough times that may lie ahead.

Recovery Is Not Quitting

Substance use and abuse is not an isolated condition, but rather a coping mechanism itself. People turn to drugs and alcohol to help deal with a physical and mental injury or illness; a means to survive the day. Unfortunately, this can manifest as other more severe problems.

A new life without drugs and alcohol is not as simple as discontinuing their use. Recovery is long term and can be intense as you explore the reasons for the use, identify your triggers, and work diligently as those triggers pop up in daily life.

H.A.L.T. the High Risk

Think about it. When you feel low, you are at your most vulnerable to engage in unhealthy behaviors, some more serious than others. After a long stressful day, you may decide to indulge in some comfort food or have a glass of wine. This can be devastating for someone in recovery.

As a recovering substance abuser, it is even more important for you to work on not putting yourself in a H.A.L.T. stage:

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

No Hunger Games

Avoiding hunger is relatively straightforward, just make sure you are eating regular healthy meals based on wholesome all-natural foods, and that you are drinking enough water each day. (Amounts will vary based on height, weight, and activity level.)


The remaining A.L.T. is an eerily accurate acronym because being angry, lonely, and tired can have so many causes and seemingly endless options for coping with these conditions. As part of your coping skills for addiction, you can prepare for these high-risk moments by:

  • Making a list of your high-risk situations (aka “triggers”)
  • Identifying other activities to engage in during these periods
  • Reverse your negative thinking
  • Adopt a physical routine that helps your mental well-being

Take Control

Lack of control is often at the base of substance abuse issues. Drugs and alcohol are erroneously used to control physical pain, anxiety, depression, fear, and the gamut of feelings, both physical and psychological, that we feel as human beings.

You must dedicate yourself to recovery, and to do that, you should incorporate these coping skills for addiction:

  • Stop blaming other people, places, and things.
  • Take responsibility for your life and your actions.
  • Accept that mistakes have been, and will be, made.
  • Let go of the past, embrace the present, and look forward to the future.
  • Cease and desist your life of lies.
  • Assume a life of gratitude, especially for the little things.

Coping Skills In Recovery

As you travel through your journey to recovery, work with those around you to develop methods that work best for you. Some ideas of coping skills for addiction that may help include:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Meditation
  • Improved communication skills
  • Problem-solving exercises
  • Improved financial management
  • Anger management
  • Enhanced life skills

Getting Sober vs. Staying Sober

If you suffer from addiction, getting sober includes the process of physical withdrawal. Staying sober is the greater part of the journey that, for most, takes many twists and turns, uphill and downhill. A solid set of coping skills for recovery can be the map to successful sobriety.

Time to Take the Steps to Recovery

At Steps Recovery Centers, we are here to help you start your journey to a healthier life without drugs and alcohol, or give you a lift on that journey if you have lost your way. Contact us today for more information about our programs, and to discuss coping skills for recovery. We can help you reach your destination.

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