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Coping Skills

Coping Skills

One thing most addicts have in common is that they use mood-altering substances to help them avoid dealing with life’s ups and downs.  Drugs or alcohol become their coping mechanisms.  Rather than face a problem and work through it, they escape in a misguided form of self-medication.  Before these individuals can fully recover from their addictions, they must learn more effective coping skills to help them navigate through daily complications.  What it amounts to is learning an entirely new way of dealing with life.

Changing the way a person reacts to stress or trauma will take time.  Cultivating a new set of guiding principles requires patience and determination to succeed.  Fortunately, when an addict enters a professional rehabilitation program, they have an excellent opportunity to begin this transformation.  Most treatment facilities today offer a comprehensive curriculum that includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Anger Management, Coping Skills, Life Skills, and many more.  These aspects of rehabilitation are incorporated into the program for the explicit goal of teaching recovering addicts a better way to approach daily situations without resorting to addictive substances.

No one wants to isolate themselves for fear of encountering a trigger situation.  For that reason, addicts must learn to trust themselves and take responsibility for their behavior.   Learning to participate in social gatherings without getting high is the first step in successful relapse prevention.  To do that, there are five essential techniques a recovering addict must develop.

5 Things a Recovering Addict Must Learn

It is said that old habits die hard.  That often holds true when it comes to addicts.  They have used the same worn out excuses for so long that it feels normal to them.  So, what can an addict learn that will help them achieve an entirely different perspective?

Here are five vital areas that need to be addressed before lasting recovery can happen:

  • Stop placing blame on others.

It’s no surprise to hear an addict complain that no one understands or cares about them. They wear their victim mentality like a banner blaming other people, places, and things for their shortcomings.  It’s much easier to blame others than to acknowledge the truth and take responsibility.  But, when the individual accepts that he or she is responsible for making things different, they grow stronger with each little accomplishment.  Over time, they learn to replace negative thought patterns with positive, life-affirming thoughts.  This new way of thinking will serve them well in all aspects of their life.

  • Accept the fact that you will make mistakes.

Most addicts struggle with self-deprecating thoughts that keep them trapped in the addiction.  Self-doubt is their worst enemy, and the fear of failure prevents them from even trying to make a change.  An addict must learn to accept that they will make mistakes and not let those mistakes become an excuse for giving up.  Even a relapse can be a learning experience.  It’s important for the recovering addict to realize that there is no shame in making a wrong decision.  How he or she reacts to the situation is the crucial part.  For these reasons, many rehab facilities recommend an aftercare program that provides continued guidance and support on those days when everything seems to go wrong.

  • Let go of past anger and resentments.

This won’t be easy because anger overwhelms the person’s ability to rationalize. But, being angry at others for perceived injustices doesn’t solve any problems.  It only uses up a lot of mental time and energy that could be spent doing something more productive.  Also, many people use anger as a tool to camouflage other emotions that are threatening to surface.  Rather than show any sign of weakness or hurt, the person acts out with wrath or indignation.  For a recovering addict, this self-defeating line of thinking can lead them to relapse.  A person in recovery must learn to let go of these feelings and practice forgiveness if they are to succeed in remaining sober.

  • Stop lying to yourself.

One of the most enduring characteristics of addiction is the art of lying.  Addicts lie to everyone, including themselves.  After years of lying to justify the addiction, lying to get money, and lying to get out of trouble, it will be difficult to stop.  But, when a recovering addict learns to be honest with themselves and others, they have taken the first step in a successful recovery.  Honesty cultivates integrity and integrity is the foundation of a life well-lived.  When an addict gains this skill, the chances for lasting sobriety are increased dramatically.

  • Adopt an attitude of gratitude.

Gratitude is more than simply saying “thank you.”  It’s an attitude.  It’s a way of living your life.  When this skill is cultivated, life seems easier.  Rather than always looking at what you don’t have, learn to appreciate the little things and the other people in your life.  In this way, by shifting your focus away from your problems, they lose some of the power you have given them.  As with the other points listed here, this too will take time and experience.  Changing these behaviors means you’ll be a different person.  But, if it means you’ll no longer need drugs, then it’s a change for the better.  Remember, you recover from addiction by creating a better life where it’s easier not to use drugs.

It’s not easy to overcome addiction and change almost every habit you ever had all at the same time.  Don’t be too hard on yourself.  Expect to make mistakes.  Accept that you will feel overwhelmed.  Admit that you need support or just a shoulder now and then.  Realize that you are embarking on a journey that will take you to a much better place than those drugs ever could have.

What are Coping Skills?

Coping means “to invest conscious effort, to learn to solve personal and interpersonal problems, and try to master, minimize, or tolerate stress and conflict.”  In other words, an addict must learn to abandon their old, poor coping skills and create new ways of dealing with life.  So, what are some of the coping skills a person can learn in rehab that will foster this particular transformation?

The following are some of the components of a coping skills modality in rehab that address this crucial element of recovery:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Anger management
  • Communication skills
  • Responsibility
  • Life skills
  • Parenting
  • Problem solving
  • Financial management
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Spirituality

Each rehab program will offer variations on these components.  But, your best option is a long-term inpatient program that allows you the time you need to address all aspects of your addiction. Including developing the necessary coping skills for dealing with every day life after treatment.

It’s important to arrange an aftercare program before you graduate from rehab.  In this way, you are assured of continued support and guidance as you attempt to reclaim your place in society.  Some of these programs offer assistance with job placement, transportation, safe housing, childcare and more.  You won’t ever feel alone on your journey to recovery.

If you are evaluating treatment programs for yourself or a loved one, call our toll-free number today.  We can recommend a facility that offers the best program to address all of your needs.  The experts at New Beginnings know what works in addiction treatment.  Through years of experience in working with addicts, we have accumulated a wealth of knowledge about how to help a person succeed in overcoming substance abuse.  Call now to get started on your new life today.

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