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Coping Skills for Long-Term Sobriety

Sep 15, 2023

Coping skills offer a framework for healthy social-emotional development that can be applied in many different kinds of situations throughout life. People who don’t learn them early in life and practice them may face increasingly difficult circumstances without the tools to make healthy choices. These skills can be especially important in addiction recovery. In this blog post, we’ll share ten coping skills you can learn to prevent relapse and protect sobriety long-term.

Coping skills for sobriety are essential for navigating challenges, managing cravings, and maintaining your sobriety. These skills include self-care, healthy communication, and stress management. Without these skills, your risk of relapse increases when you face difficult situations or setbacks. A fundamental aspect of any program within Hanley is teaching coping skills to help you make healthy choices instead of self-medicating when physical or emotional symptoms appear.

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-841-1033.

Importance of Coping Skills for Long-Term Sobriety

Learning coping skills for recovery begins with recognizing how all aspects of your life benefit from these tools. It’s not limited to drinking or drug use habits. It relates to how you communicate with people, how well you care for yourself, whether you maintain clear boundaries with others or not, and more.

Coping skills for sobriety help you build resilience. This capacity to recover from setbacks or adversities is important in a long-term recovery process where you’ll need to adapt and persist to stay sober. Coping skill practice increases self-awareness, allowing you to better recognize your negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This self-awareness enables you to identify trends, emotional triggers, and early warning signs of relapse. Also, coping skills improve problem-solving abilities, helping you to tackle obstacles constructively and healthily rather than using substances to avoid problems. As you begin a long-term lifestyle change, coping skills can become habitual and integral parts of your daily life and promote overall well-being.

Ten Coping Skills Needed for Protecting Sobriety Long-Term

Healthy Communication: Develop good communication skills to convey emotions, needs, and concerns. Seek help from trustworthy friends, family, or support groups to discuss your experiences and emotions.

Question: How do you advocate for yourself when you need help?

Self-Care: Make self-care activities that enhance physical, emotional, and mental well-being a priority. These can include physical activity, a well-balanced diet, adequate sleep, relaxation techniques, and participation in activities that offer joy and fulfillment to you.

Question: What’s one self-care activity you can do right now?

Stress Management: Deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, journaling, or exploring hobbies that promote relaxation and stress reduction are all stress management practices to learn and practice.

Question: Which activities from these categories could you practice almost anywhere?

Positive Reinforcement: Celebrate your recovery journey’s milestones and accomplishments. Recognize your achievements and reward yourself for reaching goals, no matter how modest. Positive reinforcement can aid in increasing motivation and self-esteem.

Question: What might be helpful daily and weekly rewards for reaching your goals?

Support Systems: Create a network of people who understand and support your recovery. The options include friends, family, support groups, or a 12-Step sponsor. Engage with your support system on a regular basis and seek their advice and encouragement as needed.

Question: Who in your life is someone who understands the demands of recovery?

Coping with Triggers: Determine the people, events, or situations that may entice you to use substances and use strategies to respond to them. While you can aim to avoid these situations at times, you may be faced with them without warning. Finding a way to distract yourself, leave the environment, or turn to a support person can be ways to avoid relapse.

Question: What new place in your life right now makes staying sober easier?

Problem-Solving Skills: Develop the ability to solve problems in real-time, which means coming up with a solution on the spot. It can involve breaking down challenges into small parts, thinking about potential solutions, and seeking opinions or guidance from others when needed.

Question: What was a creative solution you had for solving a problem recently?

Healthy Boundaries: Set and keep appropriate boundaries with those who might encourage substance use. Understand how to say “no” to situations or individuals that may harm your recovery.

Question: How can you build emotional boundaries that help you handle difficulties without blaming or criticizing others?

Cognitive Restructuring: Practice cognitive restructuring approaches to challenge negative and self-destructive thinking habits. Replace negative ideas with positive, realistic ones, and concentrate on reframing beliefs that may lead to substance abuse.

Question: What beliefs regarding drug use do you wish to change in your own thinking?

Relapse Prevention Strategies: Learn and use relapse prevention tactics such as creating a relapse prevention plan, detecting early warning signs of relapse, and having a plan of action in place in the case of a relapse. Maintain contact with your support system and, if necessary, seek guidance from professionals.

Question: What thoughts do you believe could make you relapse?

How to Get Help Building Coping Skills for Recovery

When looking to acquire coping skills for sobriety, it’s important to evaluate the programs offered at a treatment facility. Whether opting for residential or outpatient treatment, you want a program that provides individualized treatment plans to address each person’s specific challenges, strengths, and goals. This personalized approach ensures that you receive the support and coping skills training tailored to your situation. Family therapy sessions can help you to develop coping skills as they help improve communication, rebuild relationships, and provide a supportive environment. Building coping skills also comes from classes in treatment that focus on practical tools, strategies, and information to enhance your ability to cope with triggers and cravings.

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