Coping Skills

- May 14, 2022

Most addicts come into treatment with little or no coping skills. They are unable to manage their emotions and often end up with excessive anxiety and fear.  Coping skills can help the addict learn to deal with their negative emotions as they crop up.  This helps to alleviate the anxiety which could lead to a relapse.

Deep breathing is a technique that can be used when the addict feels anxiety.  This helps to calm the body’s flight or fight instinct.  Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life.  How we manage these things is paramount to staying emotionally balanced.  Deep breathing helps to bring us back to a safe place of equilibrium which enables us to function at a normal level of anxiety.

Physical activity is another great way to calm anxiety and stress.  This helps the body to relax and release chemicals which help calm the anxiety.  One may go to the gym or some other form of structured activity.  The activity can be simple such as going for a walk or a run, watering plants, cleaning chores, cooking or any other form of preferred activity.  Not everyone likes traditional physical activity such as working out.  One can be creative and find other ways to engage their body in a physical activity.

Writing or journaling can be a great stress reliever for some people.  One puts one’s thoughts down on paper and is able to look at them objectively.  This may help these things to be chunked down to a manageable size.  One is able to look at their emotions and start to come up with solutions on how to deal with a particular thought or fear.  It is also recommended to make a gratitude list, listing all the things one is grateful for in their lives.  This type of list may really lift the spirits of the writer and free them from the anxiety which they are currently feeling.

For the addict involved in a 12 Step program one may attend a 12 Step meeting.  This is usually a tremendous stress reliever.  One may also call friends in the program and talk about how they are feeling.  This too is a great stress reliever. We my have new light shed on the particular thing that we are anxious about.  Sometimes we may realize that our anxiety is based on illusion and not reality.  This illusion may be something such as getting an incurable disease.  The truth of the matter is that you are healthy with no signs of the dreaded disease.  You are also not putting yourself at risk for contracting a transmittable disease.  For covid we wear masks when necessary and may stay away from large groups of people.  We use hand sanitizer when necessary. We stay away from persons who are infected with Covid and quarantine ourselves if we are exposed to the disease.  We get vaccinated and boosted as recommended if we are in agreement with this.  If not, we wear our masks while out at all times to prevent infection or to transmit the disease if we are asymptomatic.

Prayer and meditation are also great stress relievers.  We may recite the Serenity Prayer which is a great help to all people.  We become willing to accept things as life on life’s terms.  We become able to see what we can change to alleviate our anxiety and fear.  We also may be able to ascertain things we cannot change at the present moment.  All things considered prayer and meditation helps to calm the restless mind and body.  Stress, anxiety and fear are part of life.  It’s how we manage them that makes the difference.

Written by Phillip