One of the most challenging yet worthwhile components of addiction recovery is learning about how we tend to cope with stressful situations and finding ways to apply healthier stress responses to them. For many in addiction recovery, stress is something we’ve always tried to avoid – either by not acknowledging it, by physically leaving the situation, or by numbing the pain with substances.
Why Do We Do This?
Mental Health America (MHA) explains that stress affects our entire body in many different ways. We may experience headaches, feelings of despair, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating and more, which only amplify the stress we have. Heart palpitations and a rise in blood pressure can increase our risks for having a heart attack, and stomachaches may leave us feeling even worse. Stress gives us an increased risk for diabetes and can bring about problems in intimacy with our significant others, too. With all of these problems, why not address stress head-on?
The reality is that without healthy coping mechanisms, we’re bound to carry on ones that we’ve picked up from others. If we grew up in an environment where substances were used to “solve” problems, we’re more likely going to turn towards those when stress comes about – and if our friends or coworkers are easing their stress by drinking, we’re going to take part in the ritual, too.
Avoidance coping occurs when we try to change our behavior to avoid thinking or feeling about something that is uncomfortable. Very Well Mind explains that while this initially seems to work, it actually provokes anxiety in the long-run because we haven’t dealt with the issue at hand. Instead, it comes back around at a later date – and we’re forced to repeat the same unhelpful patterns that we employed before.
Take Back Control
Addiction recovery is an excellent time to start working on your stress responses. By speaking with a therapist, you can actively employ healthy coping mechanisms which will give you more power over your thoughts.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.