Develop new coping skills

I can control the thoughts

in my head.

Perhaps the most difficult

new skill to acquire

“What are my motives?”

If my motives are good,

the right choice is easy.

We lost our chemical coping skills

We lost our chemical coping skills when we quit using

Not unexpectedly the process of developing new non-chemical coping skills takes time, often weeks or even months.

 

If we can identify the problems we  know we will face in recovery, we can prepare for them in advance.

The craving for your drug of choice will certainly happen.  Have a plan in your head for what to do when it does.

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Learn what you must avoid to stay sober

Avoid anything which stresses you out

Any overwhelming emotion, especially anxiety, shame, or depression can trip us up.

Plan ahead

In the days to come you will surely meet your drug of choice.  It is guaranteed.  Plan now for  what you’ll do.

 

Old playgrounds, playmates, and playthings will challenge us to use again.  Have an answer ready in your head for when they do.

 

You will eventually be caught in a place where others are using.  What will you do?

Recognize negative thoughts and deal with them

Keep things in perspective

“Don't sweat the small stuff...and it's all small stuff.”

Richard Carlson >>

Balance work and play

My job is no longer the most important thing in my life.

The most important thing in my life is my recovery.

I will lose anything I place above my recovery.

Develop new life priorities

Developing new habits takes at least three weeks

For the alcoholic/addict it may take longer because of our stinking thinking.  But learning new habits isessential to our survival.

 

Be honest—it’s the spiritual principle behind the First Step

It feels so good not to worry about your lies coming back to bite you.  It’s especially important to be absolutely honest with your sponsor.

 

I must let go of the old habits that were killing me

I must cease being a victim.  I must learn to deal with resentments on the fly.  I must recognize that I am responsible for the consequences of my actions.  I must take ownership of my mistakes.

 

Take care of your body

We poisoned it, abused it, and misused it.  That has to stop.  We need exercise of some kind on a regular basis.  We need adequate rest.  We must eat healthy food.  Remember to avoid becoming too hungry, too angry, too lonely, or too tired.

 

Learn to recognize when your body is stressed out

Remember, it’s not about what happens in the world so much as how you respond to it.

 

If I control my breathing, I can control my thoughts

Take a deep breath, count to ten, remove yourself from the situation if you can. 

 

You don’t have to be right all the time

Give others the chance to be wrong.  Remember, if I am right, everybody else in the room must then be wrong.  Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy?

When someone confronts you, try to see the situation from their point to view.

 

Commune with Nature

Find a green space where you can relax every day:  a garden, a tree outside your window at work, Nature in any form. 

 

Learn how to meditate >>

and use it whenever you need to.

 

Mindfulness >>

can help you center yourself in any situation. 

 

Read the Big Book >>

or some other spiritual text, especially first thing in the morning.

 

Develop a hobby

What pastime have you always wanted to do but never had the time?  Learn how to play the guitar, plant a garden, take up photography.  Feed your creative spirit.

 

Call your sponsor  regularly

or another alcoholic.  Helping another person always gets you out of your own head.

 

Make a gratitude list >>

It’s the treatment of choice for self-pity.

 

Find ways to balance work and relaxation

No longer should your job be the most important thing in your life.

Plan your escape route

At some time, you will find yourself in a situation where others are using, for example at a wedding. 

 

There will always be a table where no one is drinking—sit there.  Walk around with a soda in your hand with a lime it. 

 

Drive your own car, so if you start Jones-ing, you are not dependent on someone else to get away.

If you have a diagnosis of mental illness, for example depression, bipolar disease, or PTSD, then you must treat that illness as well. 

 

You must treat both problems at the same time.  Failure to do so  will result in relapse and death. 

 

The old idea that you must do recovery without any drugs does not apply here.

My thoughts are only thoughts

Ideas that show up on the view screen of my mind.  I am not responsible for the first thought that pops into my head, but I am responsible for what I do with that thought. 

 

If I learn to recognize the negative thoughts when they occur, I no longer have to respond to them.

 

It takes nearly constant surveillance

of my thoughts, but with practice, I can remove the negativity from my mind.  Habits such as judging others, thinking I am better than others, awfulizing, making a mountain out of a molehill, and assuming (making an ass out of you and me) will no longer bother me.  

 

When I let such negativities run around inside my head, I am giving them power over me.  I am giving them “rent free space in my head.”

Find a quiet green place where you can relax every day:  a garden, a tree outside your window at work,

Nature in any form. 

The Problem is Addiction

The Answer is Recovery

Text and original photos copyright 2017-2018 by Linville M. Meadows