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Managing Stress in Early Sobriety

Stress can feel overwhelming in early sobriety. We may still be experiencing uncomfortable symptoms and have yet to fully engage in a recovery program. When faced with stressful situations, we may still consider turning to drugs and alcohol as a way to feel relief. However, there are a variety of ways that we can cope with stress without returning to substance use.

Stress is a major component of relapse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “Science has taught us that stress, cues linked to the drug experience (such as people, places, things, and moods), and exposure to drugs are the most common triggers for relapse.” If we can successfully manage our reaction to stress, we will be able to continue toward a life of peace and serenity in sobriety.

Therapy in addiction treatment is designed to aid us in developing healthy coping mechanisms as a way to manage drug cravings. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, for example, can be extremely beneficial in helping us manage our reaction to stressors without turning to drugs and alcohol. According to the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy, “The initial phase of CBT involves a thorough assessment of the thoughts, actions, and circumstances that influence the amount of stress that you experience.  Based on our life history, we tend to interpret events and respond to them in characteristic ways.  Typically, for people under stress, such interpretations involve a perception of danger or threat combined with a challenge to our ability to cope with the situation. Based on the assessment, the therapist helps the patient develop a strategic plan to help better manage his/her stress.  Such a plan will involve approaches to modify stress-producing thoughts and improve coping capabilities.”

There are also a variety of relaxation exercises that can keep us from reaching a point of feeling overwhelmed by stress. Meditation, for example, can help alleviate many symptoms associates with stress. The Mayo Clinic explains, “Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. And these benefits don’t end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day and may help you manage symptoms of certain medical conditions.” The more we meditate, the better we will become at managing our immediate and often unhealthy reactions to stress, allowing us to engage fully in our treatment and recovery without feeling the need for the fleeting sense of relief from substances.

Your life can become one of serenity and peace of mind in sobriety. You can make the decision to seek help today and embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery from addiction and alcoholism. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, offers a variety of highly effective therapeutic techniques to give you all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431