Substance abuse isn’t something you should take lightly. It occurs when you use alcohol, prescription medicine, and other legal and illegal substances too much or in the wrong way.
Substance abuse differs from addiction.
Many people with substance abuse problems are able to quit or can change their unhealthy behavior.
Addiction, on the other hand, is a disease. It means you can’t stop using even when your condition causes you harm.
Signs of a Substance Use Problem
When you first start taking a substance, you may think you can control how much you use. But over time, you may need more of the drug to get the same feeling or effect. For some people, that can lead beyond abuse to addiction. Signals that you may have a problem with substance abuse include if you:
- Lack interest in things you used to love
- Change your friends a lot
- Stop taking care of yourself
- Spend more time alone than you used to
- Eat more or less than normal
- Sleep at odd hours
- Have problems at work or with family
- Switch quickly from feeling good and bad
- Crave or strongly desire to use the substance
Healthy Coping Skills that Help Drug Recovery
As previously discussed, it’s easy for individuals to turn to negative coping strategies while in recovery. However, to maintain sobriety and to enjoy a happier life and better well-being, there are a few healthier coping skills for substance abuse.
1. Be Honest
Many people bottle emotions and hide the feeling of anxiety or stress.
Instead, it is better to be honest when these types of feelings surface. When a person is open and accepting of these emotions, it is possible to stop, to take a breath, to realize it is normal, and to move on.
2. Meditate and Be Mindful
Many treatment facilities like The Owl’s Nest teach patients how to meditate and focus on the moment.
Deep breathing techniques and various meditation exercises clear a person’s mind of distractions and allow them to observe internal experiences.
When stress and anxiety are lowered, there is a lower chance for relapse.
Mindfulness allows an individual to gain control as well.
Mindfulness is one of the most effective coping skills for substance abuse.
3. Attend Group Therapy Sessions
Being an active member in group therapy links a person with others who are suffering from the same cravings.
Attending meetings or other individual therapy sessions keeps a person on track and helps him or her deal with negative feelings.
If a person struggles with another mental health disorder at the same time, it is essential to meet with a medical health professional as well.
4. Organize a System of Support
It’s extremely important to have a system of support throughout recovery. The process never ends.
Therefore, having healthy relationships with people who understand the needs of a person in recovery can help maintain sobriety in the long term.
Besides friends and family, a network includes other people who are trying to avoid drugs and alcohol.
A system of trustworthy individuals comes in handy when temptations arise.
5. Begin a Journal
Journaling is an excellent way to open up without fear of judgment or criticism.
Putting words to paper allows a person to document emotions, fears, thoughts, and setbacks.
In other words, a person can look back at good times and bad times so that he or she can move on from negative situations.
Also, it is a good way to log how far a person has come on his or her journey to sobriety.
When a drug misuse problem takes hold of a person, he or she may begin ignoring his or her health. In fact, this worsens the cycle of addiction.
What an individual does not eat properly, they will suffer from low levels of energy, which can lead to depression.
Also, removing a regular exercise routine brings a person down.
It’s vital to practice solid self-care as a way to maintain positive ways of coping.
Ultimately, exercise helps to release endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that make a person feel good without synthetic means.
7. Maintain a Routine
Misusing drugs creates chaos in a person’s life.
This often leads to high levels of stress and anxiety.
Therefore, to cope with cravings, it is essential to create a regular daily routine and stick with it.
Of course, it is impossible not to be bombarded with certain surprises or mishaps during the day.
However, having a regular routine provides the necessary structure to life. This makes it easier to enjoy balance and to cope with minor troubles when they occur.
8. Participate in Enjoyable Activities
Uncovering activities and hobbies that make a person happy brings joy to his or her life.
In fact, finishing a project delivers feelings of accomplishment.
As a person’s brain concentrates on these activities, it becomes more difficult to dwell on drugs or alcohol.
Eventually, a person realizes the important things in life.
9. Find Gratitude
One of the biggest and most effective coping mechanisms that a person can learn in recovery is gratitude.
As an individual faces personal struggles, it is helpful to keep in mind that others struggle with the same demons.
In fact, being thankful for what a person has makes it easier to turn away from drugs and alcohol.
Don’t Wait. Get Help Now.
Substance abuse affects every part of your life.
It can hurt you and the people around you.
It can ruin relationships and your financial health.
Abusing drugs can also lead to addiction and cause serious health problems and even death.