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Living and Thriving Even When There's Stress

man under stress while working

Stress is a fact of life for so many people nowadays. It’s not limited to those in recovery. However, this time of year is especially stressful for people new to recovery and old-timers alike. How can you use stress in a way that helps you?

Ways to Reduce Stress

Stress happens, but avoiding it may seem impossible when you’re in its grip. For many people, feeling stressed and anxious can be a trigger for drinking or drugging. Stress is no reason to get high, but may not know what to do with an urgent-seeming emotion, or maybe you feel anxiety take over and have trouble taking action. Luckily there are ways to reduce the impact of stress in your life.

While you can’t eliminate stress from your life in recovery, there are ways that you can minimize it. For example, if you know that you have to do something that makes you feel stressed out, you can make plans for the aftermath.

For example, maybe you have a large family gathering that you’re planning to attend, and you’re not sure how you’ll cope with any questions. Talking to your sponsor and preparing your answers to challenging conversations can help you feel prepared. If your Aunt Sally wants to ask you about your recovery in front of people you’re not comfortable with, you can go ahead and tell her you’d love to catch up with her later. Or maybe you’re worried somebody will bring you a drink. If so, prepare to have a way of saying “no” that you’re comfortable.

Identifying your triggers and learning ways to react that are healthy is part of recovery. Nobody is perfect, and that’s true about others in your life, too. Learn to respond with empathy and kindness when possible, but don’t go out of your way to make others happy if something makes you feel uncomfortable.

Coping With Stress Through Self-Care

Self-care is a way that you can handle the stress that life throws at you. There’s no way to eliminate most types of stress that people experience, so coping skills are needed to help you get through your tough times. Many people in recovery use self-care to feel a little better.

Meditation, exercise, relaxation exercises, and even doing something as simple as reading or watching a television program all count as self-care. Take some time for yourself and do something that makes you feel better or re-rejuvenated. There are many types of self-care available, so choose what works for you and leave the rest.

Going to a 12-step meeting or calling your sponsor are essential types of self-care in recovery.

Sober Living By the Sea

Many people new to recovery benefit from living in a sober housing situation. In sober living, there are rules as well as recovery adventures. You’re surrounded by people who are sober, working their 12-step programs, and rebuilding their lives in recovery. To learn more about what our programs offer, call us at 760-216-2077.

Stigma is one thing that keeps many people with a substance use disorder from seeking out the help they need. If you used “harder” drugs like cocaine, Oxy or heroin, then you may worry what people will think.

After all, there are a lot of negative images in the media that are associated with these drugs. And you, yourself, know that addiction is not fun and can lead you to do things that make you ashamed.

It can be very humbling to tell a loved one about your addiction, but it can be even harder to say to a stranger. Stigma, however, is something that all people in recovery face one time or another. Knowing how to confront stigma is an integral part of your long-term recovery.

Stigma Due to Past Struggles


The addiction-related stigma that you may face in recovery isn’t always just due to the drugs. You may have crimes like DUI’s or theft in your past. You may not have held a legitimate job for a while. You probably will have to explain these things to your employer, which means being prepared to be honest and open about your recovery and how you have changed.

This will be easier to do as time goes on and you've been clean longer. The best you can do it prove to others that you're a changed man, and explain to people, humbly, that you're in recovery to continue to grow and change.

Addiction isn’t a Moral Failing


Addiction has been identified as a disease that changes the brain, altering both how it works and how a person feels and behaves. The good news is that there is a lot of information on this online (the SAMHSA website is a good start) that you can print out for family, friends, and employers.

Society is slowly but surely understanding that addiction is a disease and that specifically, the opioid epidemic has made an enormous impact on people’s lives from every walk of life. Recovery is possible, but a difficult journey at times.


Be Proud of Your Recovery


You’ve come a long way if you’re clean today. You haven’t had to lie, cheat, steal or go broke by using your drug of choice. Just for today, you’re clean. And your clean time, whatever it is, is a valuable asset in your life.

Just like you have support, others in recovery need your assistance to fight addiction to. Help others out when they are feeling anxious or stressed. Take time to get to know new people, and let them know what has helped you in your life.

As you stay clean longer, you’ll learn more about yourself and get more comfortable telling your story. You’re an essential part of the recovery movement, and your experiences will help others on a similar journey.

Sober Living

Sometimes it's easier to transition to the outside learn and gain confidence in recovery by living in a sober living home. In the presence of peers, you can focus on yourself and learn how to cope with day to day stresses. Please give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.

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