Stresses in life are inevitable. In addiction recovery, stress can easily double. Stress management in addiction recovery is essential in order to help prevent any relapses.
Because people are different, stress manifests differently and can surface physically or emotionally. For example, one person with stress may experience headaches, muscle aches, or an upset stomach. Others may experience stress with anxiety, fatigue, or irritability. The way we choose to manage our stress in addiction recovery is personal, and what works for one person may not work for another. However, if we don’t identify and practice stress management in addiction recovery, our sobriety could be at risk.
Here are a few common techniques for stress management in addiction recovery:
- Practice meditation: Step 11 states, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” This step reminds us not only to have a daily spiritual practice, but also to quiet our minds.
- Sleep well / eat well: We all know we become more emotional when tired and perhaps even grumpy when hungry. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, and stay away from fast food and processed foods that tend to drag one down.
- Exercise: Any type of physical exercise releases the ‘feel good’ chemicals called endorphins. The best part about these little guys is that they are free and LEGAL!
- Share / Talk / Connect: Keeping feelings and thoughts bottled up can be stressful. Work on sharing in a meeting or connecting with someone from the program on a phone call. You’ll feel better once you reason things out with someone who may have felt the same way you are feeling now.
- Breathe deep: According to The American Institute of Stress, “abdominal breathing for 20 to 30 minutes each day will reduce anxiety and reduce stress. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness.”
Life comes with ups and downs. With the right tools, stress management in addiction recovery is possible!
If you or a loved one is suffering from chemical dependency, or if you believe there may be a problem with alcohol or drugs, please seek professional help. Contact us anytime at (877) 977-3268.
The 12 Steps. (n.d.). Retrieved March 16, 2016.