What Are Some Healthy Coping Skills?

mental health coping skills

For people in recovery, coping skills can be a significant challenge. Unfortunately, when you were in active addiction, these skills may have been in short supply.

After all, when you were sad, you probably got high or drunk. When you were angry, you probably got high or drunk. When you felt lonely, happy, confused, or lost…you probably got high or drunk, if it was an option. When you get sober, you learn that you don’t have the best coping skills. Discovering new ones will be a lifelong process. But there are some you can try on for size right away. So what are some good ones to practice?

New Coping Skills To Try On For Size

Not every coping skill works for every emotion. Here are some ones to try on for size. If they don’t work for you, you can always try another one, instead. Keep what you need and leave the rest.

  • When you’re angry: Go for a walk or a jog. If you don’t like that type of exercise, choose something like bicycling, surfing, or shadowboxing. Exercise can release calming hormones that also provide a mood boost.
  • When you’re sad: Permit yourself to cry. Then, listen to sad music for 10 minutes, and let it all out. Or, pick up the phone and call somebody in your recovery network to talk it out.
  • When you’re lonely: Send somebody a text message or get yourself to a 12-step meeting, pronto. People are the cure for loneliness. Yes, you can feel lonely in a room full of people. But, if you share that pain, it often is lessened.
  • When you’re happy/excited/proud: Believe it or not, your coping skills for celebrating may not be the best! Many people use good news as a reason to use substances. Instead, make a date with a friend or your sponsor to go out for ice cream. Share your good news with friends in recovery. Happiness multiplies when it’s shared.
  • When you feel like getting high/drunk: Call somebody who doesn’t, and make arrangements to get to a 12-step meeting. Share about how you feel, don’t hold it inside. The feeling will pass, but keeping it secret can be dangerous to your mental health.

Consider Sober Living

Are you or somebody you love interested in a living situation that offers structure and aftercare? Sober living may be the right decision for you. Learn more about your options by calling us at 760-216-2077.

People in recovery learn quickly that they need each other. After all, the power of the 12 steps lies in not having to figure everything out on your own. Friendship and socializing are natural human needs. When you were getting high or drinking, you may have had trouble being a good friend. Or maybe your friendships were unhealthy in another way; for many people who had drinking or substance-using buddies, the friendship becomes more about the high than about healthy boundaries.

New People, Places, and Things

When people get sober, they’re told to give up old people, places, and things. This means that to stay healthy and focused on recovery, change is vital. For example, it’s not safe or healthy to continue to be friends with anyone you got high or drunk with. While they may care about you or have been a considerable part of your life, letting them go will help you stay sane and sober. It’s also essential to stay away from old haunts and other things that remind you of using drugs or alcohol.

Once you’ve had some time sober, especially when you’re in treatment, you’re going to learn more about yourself and your unhealthy relationships. Many people in recovery struggled with relationships, even before they began using substances.

Healthy relationships, especially platonic friendships, are a stepping board to a healthier life in recovery. Making other friends who are honest, open-minded, and willing to stay sober can help you develop a strong support network.

Staying Sober And Growing With Friends

For most people in recovery, new people, places, and things are necessary for staying sober. The new places may be 12-step meetings or other sober activities. New people are other people who are staying sober one day at a tie. The things that change will be new, healthy activities and other changes that enhance your life. Friends in recovery can help you find new interests.

In recovery, your sponsor is a significant relationship. This person can guide you through the 12 steps and teach you to stay sober a day at a time.

You’ll also make new friends the longer you stay sober. Try to hang around with people who have been sober longer than you. If you’re friends with only new people like yourself, you may struggle if they relapse. On the other hand, having a good mix of friends in recovery can help you stay strong and give you experience to draw on when you’re feeling vulnerable.

Sober Living Can Help

If you or somebody you love is looking for a structured living situation that supports a new lifestyle in recovery, sober living can be a great option. When you live in a sober living home, you’ll meet and be around people who are focused on recovery and their new way of life. You’ll gain a community and also have the supports in place you need to stay sober.

Learn more about our sober living options by calling us at 760-216-2077.

All humans who get quality sleep remember their dreams from time to time. For people new to recovery, dreams can be pretty intense and vivid. As your body adjusts to life without substances, you may have a lot more dreams than usual or remember them more clearly. Some people can describe in vivid detail dreams where they feel panic, loss, or fear. For people with addiction, common themes are relapsing or using their substance of choice.

Dreams like these can be startling, so it’s important to understand what these dreams mean and how to respond to them.

Why Are You Having Dreams About Using Substances?

If you’re dreaming about getting high or drinking while in recovery from a substance use disorder, it’s important to know that it’s perfectly normal. Of course, dreaming about your substance of choice will make you feel uncomfortable. Remember, yes, you’re sober now.

Addiction and getting high or drunk was once a big part of your life. So big that these activities basically took over. It’s normal to dream about these situations because many dreams are built on memories of people, places, and things.

Your mind may also be trying to work through emotions that have to do with your addiction. After all, experts say that our dreams have a lot to do with problem-solving, even if they distress us. Your mind is aware that you want to stay sober, but may feel you struggling with that desire sometimes.

When Drug Dreams Are A Trigger to Use

If you dream that you used your substance of choice, you may wake up with a craving or feel triggered to use. This feeling can be scary, but if it happens, it’s time to go through the tools you’ve learned. Give your sponsor a call or send them a text. Or get straight to a 12-step meeting.  If you feel triggered to use, you have a choice today. Just remember, this too shall pass. Keep doing the next right thing, and you can stay sober.

It’s normal to have a craving, dream, or intense feeling related to substance use every once in a while. However, you don’t have to act on it. Instead, work the steps and reach out to your network if you’re feeling vulnerable.

Consider Sober Living

Many people new to recovery find that sober living helps them branch out in recovery while beginning to reclaim independence. In addition, a sober living situation can help you by providing community and a shared sense of purpose.

Are you interested in learning more about your sober living options? Give us a call at 760-216-2077, and we’re happy to help answer any questions.

Everyone deals with sadness from time to time. It’s a part of life as much as joy. Sadness is a normal emotion that everyone has to cope with. For people new in recovery, sadness may feel foreign or threatening. Nobody wants to feel “bad”! But sadness is necessary because life isn’t perfect, and we all experience some sort of loss from time to time. So allowing yourself to feel sadness is just as important as letting yourself feel joyful.

What is Sadness?

Sadness can be a complex emotion; you may feel it in response to a memory. Or you could feel it in reaction to something that happened in the present. For example, watching television news filled with tragedies or a dramatic film can cause anyone to feel sad, at least for a few minutes.

For many people, sadness comes when they feel like something is lost. For example, saying goodbye to your old lifestyle may make you feel sad for a time. Likewise, losing a loved one can be very hard to cope with. But sadness passes, and we come to appreciate the memories, and we come to appreciate the good times in our lives alongside the bad.

Ways to Cope With Sadness in Recovery

In recovery, sadness may feel like a “negative” emotion, but the truth is it is normal and healthy to experience. It can be uncomfortable to feel sad, especially when mourning or grieving. However, what you choose to do while you’re feeling sad makes all the difference in your recovery. So, what are some healthy ways to cope with sadness?

  • Allow yourself to feel the sadness. It’s okay to cry, punch pillows, or listen to sad music to help you let it all out. You won’t be sad forever, so it’s okay to let yourself feel this way.
  • Reach out to somebody. This is especially true when you feel like isolating. Let them know what’s going on and how you feel.
  • Journal about your feelings. Write it all down, no matter how “ugly” it feels. Share it with your sponsor if you need to.
  • Give yourself time to be alone, then go to a 12-step meeting. Everyone in recovery feels sad sometimes; it’s good to remember that you’re never alone.
  • Get help if you’re sad “for no reason” or feel like life is meaningless. You may have more going on than sadness - you may need to get a screening for depression.

Consider Sober Living

People who live in sober homes can live their lives with more clarity and dedication to their goals. Being around others with similar priorities is important! Learn more about how you can find a sober living home by reaching out to us.

Everyone needs friends and people who support their sobriety. When you first get sober, you’ll meet many people with the same goals as yours. However, hanging out with only newly sober people isn’t necessarily healthy. To stay sober, you need to have more than just a few friends in your network. You also need people who have experience staying sober longer-term and a sponsor to help you work the steps. But how do you go about building your network?

Getting Started Building a Support Network

When you first get sober, you may feel intimidated talking to people with more time sober than you. However, it’s essential to build a network in recovery that is as robust as possible.

When you first get sober, you will probably go to detox, where you will be among your peers. You may want to exchange contact information with them – this is fine, but don’t make them the first person you contact when you walk out the door.

Instead, focus on the speakers at the meeting, who tend to have more time sober. If something one of them says speaks to you, ask them for their contact information at the meeting.

Many people who go to detox don’t continue to treatment. Relapse is a part of many peoples’ stories; this is why you shouldn’t reach out to somebody with fragile sobriety if you feel like you’re in a bad spot.

If you have outside speakers come to a 12-step meeting in treatment, this is an excellent place to network. Try to get contact information from people who have been sober for a year or more.

Making Friends in Recovery

Most people in recovery like to surround themselves with others who have the same values and goals. Here are some ways to make new friends in recovery:

  • Go to a 12-step meeting early and leave late. Help set up chairs or clean up after the meeting. Talk to people and learn their names.
  • Get phone numbers of speakers and other people whose recovery is attractive to you.
  • Consider going to 90 meetings in 90 days when you first leave treatment. This will help you truly begin to get to know people.
  • Go out after the meeting with others. When meetings are early in the evening, some groups will go out to dinner afterward. Make it a point to spend some time socializing with the group.
  • Go to events like picnics or conventions. You’ll meet people from all walks of life.
  • Consider sober living. Sober living is often a perfect way to stay grounded in recovery while transitioning to the real world. They usually provide structure as well as social outings, often resulting in a lifelong friendship.
  • Find and use a 12-step sponsor. Your sponsor can also introduce you to others in recovery. They can help you work the steps and build a support network.

Learn More About Sober Living

Sober living is a great way to start building your new life in recovery while in the presence of others who are doing the same! Learn more about our programs by calling 760-216-2077.



Addiction is a progressive disease and has a way of consuming everything you care about until, sooner or later—there’s nothing left but a desire to use more. While some people realize what’s happening and get help early, most of us don’t wake up to what is happening until we’re totally at the mercy of the addiction. By this time, everything else is going or long gone.

Once you make the decision to get help, the path to rebuilding your life needs to be a holistic process. You need to commit to changing everything in your life that contributed to your addiction. This is how you make sure your life is filled with a new, healthier focus, new habits, and peers that support your recovery and healing.

A Good Start is Changing the Way You Take Care of Yourself

You need to eat healthy, nutritious food, exercise regularly, and get good sleep. Think of it as making a living amends to your body for years of abuse. Your body has worked hard to keep going despite the poison you’ve been ingesting and other unhealthy habits most addicts share. You can become your body’s friend by eating nutritious food at regular intervals, taking vitamin supplements, and getting plenty of good exercise.

If you can develop a new, fun hobby such as biking, jogging, or working out at the gym, you’ll be having fun while giving your body the exercise it needs. These are all activities you can enjoy with others who are recovering or just into a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that exercise relieves stress, raises the endorphin level to help you feel good, and helps you to get restful sleep.

Connect With Others Who Are Into Recovery and Healthy Living

People who spend time together tend to have a profound influence on each other, whether healthy or unhealthy.

You’ll meet new people by attending support group meetings and seeking out healthy activities that people enjoy together, such as cooking, yoga and sports. You can take a class to learn a new skill or hone one you had before addiction took over your life.

Practicing Gratitude and Helping Others

These two activities, finding things to be grateful for and actively being of service to others are great for your recovery. By helping others, we can both forget our own troubles and learn to value ourselves again. By being grateful for what we have, we learn to see life in a more balanced perspective.

As you continue to grow into healthier habits and a changed lifestyle, don’t beat yourself up if you struggle occasionally. It’s all part of the process. Do the best you can, a day at a time. Before you know it, you will be thriving in recovery. Your loved ones will notice and comment on it as well.


Recovery is always a journey, not a destination. However, many people find that they want to remain in a supportive and structured environment after treatment.

Our San Diego sober living home can help you maintain your recovery and continue to work your program as you start to take back your life. Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about how we can help!

Betrayal is not just about infidelity, or lying, or stealing.

You can betray someone’s trust in you by becoming a drastically different person than the person he or she fell in love with.

It could be that you broke your word numerous times; or only lied once but it was a biggie. Maybe you did have an affair. Or perhaps you just weren’t there when they needed you most. Maybe you ran up huge debts from gambling or another addiction that they didn’t even know you had. There are innumerable ways one person can betray another.

At some point you come to your senses and realize that you’ve made a huge mistake or series of mistakes and you desperately want to save your relationship. The first thing you need to understand and accept is that it won’t be easy. Once trust is broken, especially after a series of betrayals, it takes time and commitment to earn somebody’s trust back. Your loved one may never trust you completely.

Don’t Make Excuses for Your Behavior

Take responsibility for your mistake(s). If you imply the betrayal was due to forces beyond your control he or she won’t have a reason to trust you again. If there was an outside factor that impaired your judgment and/or subsequent behavior you need to eliminate it from your life if you want to be trustworthy in your relationship.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Of course you should apologize without trying to minimize the betrayal. However, words won’t go far towards helping someone to trust you again, especially if the betrayal involved lying. You need to prove that you are stable, reliable and trustworthy. This can take months or even years, depending on how shattered your relationship is and what you did to betray your loved one.

Show Your Family Member How Much You Love Them

Again, telling somebody you love them won’t be very convincing once you’ve betrayed their trust. There are many ways to show another how much you value your relationship with him or her. You could start with a few simple actions, such as

  • Spending time together
  • Listening to your loved one
  • Thinking of his or her needs
  • Taking genuine pleasure in his or her companionship
  • Being patient while your loved one heals

Other actions which can convince your loved one you are trustworthy include

  • Stability and reliability
  • Keeping your word
  • Being there

It Takes Time 

Depending on your situation, it could take years to convince your loved one that it’s safe to love you again. You must commit to taking the right actions on a daily basis for months, years, or however long it takes.

Don’t demand that your loved one trust you again. Give them time to heal. By showing your loved one that you’re committed to your relationship and are doing all you can to show that love and commitment, he or she will gradually begin to heal.

Your loved one’s healing journey will begin with hope as they experience your actions daily. Gradually whatever hope you give them will become faith in your commitment to your mutual love and to the relationship. At some point they will be able to trust you again.

While your relationship will never be the same as it was prior to the betrayal, it can become better and stronger due to your mutual commitment and shared struggle to weather a major storm.

Counseling Can Help You Both to Begin Your Healing Journey

Honest communication in a safe environment is a very good way for both you and your loved one to begin to understand how the other feels. When you communicate with a licensed therapist present, you’ll have the security of knowing that there’s an experienced and impartial mediator involved who will help you both to work through underlying issues that may have contributed to your broken relationship.

It Takes Work to Maintain a Healthy Relationship With Another Person

If you could talk honestly with someone who has been in a committed relationship for decades, they would invariably admit to having had had their share of trouble. People are not perfect and there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship. What you would likely read in their expression is an absence of anger or pain. Instead you would see satisfaction and pride in having stayed with the relationship when it was hard to do so, and they’d likely tell you that the struggle was hard but worth the effort.

Contact Our Sober Living to Live in the Solution

Are you or somebody you love interested in a sober living in San Diego? Learn more about the options we offer by calling 760-216-2077.


Do you have trouble accepting yourself? Many people in recovery get sober and begin to have feelings about their past and the present. When you were drinking or using substances, you probably did things that you feel guilty about. You weren’t at your best when you were high. You may have done some ugly things or said things you didn’t mean. However, when you get sober, you’re beginning the process of leaving that person behind one day at a time. Accepting yourself as you are at this moment can help you start to focus on healing and continuing your recovery one day at a time.

Treatment and 12-step programs emphasize progress, not perfection. No one will ever be able to rid themselves of character flaws. But learning and growing are a part of life. Through recovery, you can continue to challenge yourself to live a better and more fulfilling life.

What is Self-Acceptance?

Self-acceptance means you accept yourself for who you are, flaws and all. This can be hard for people when they first get sober. Everyone who gets sober carries some pain from their old lifestyle. As you stay sober for some time, you’ll start to recognize that some of your behavior doesn’t suit you. For example, maybe you’re quick to get angry or feel like you let others walk all over you. You may feel shame when you act out in old behaviors.

Everyone has character flaws that they need to work on. But, these can’t be the focus of your life if you’re going to enjoy your recovery! Rather than “beat yourself up” when you make a mistake, accept responsibility and try to do better next time. You’re only human. Forgive yourself for making a mistake. This can help go a long way toward healing and growth.

Beginning to Accept Yourself

Accepting the fact that you’ll never be perfect can lift a weight off of your shoulders. You’re a human being, after all, just like everyone else. Humans all have flaws and things they need to work on in life.

Here are some ways to begin accepting yourself:

  • Challenge negative self-talk. Do you have a critic in your head who tells you that you’re “not good enough”? Take time to write down an answer explaining why you ARE good enough. Then, the next time you start to think negative thoughts, pull out your answer. (If you don’t know the answer to what makes you “good enough,” call your sponsor or a good friend and ask them to help you counter negative self-talk.)
  • Practice self-care. Self-care is a form of nurturing that you can only provide for yourself. Set aside at least ten minutes a day for self-care. Color in an adult coloring book, go for a jog or take a long bath. You're worth taking care of, and by doing this you're sending your body that message.
  • Stop comparing your outsides with other people’s. When you go to therapy or 23-step meetings, close your eyes when listening to speakers. This will help you relate to others without focusing on the things that make you feel insecure.
  • Aim for progress, not perfection! Every day you’re getting better. Keep a list of small victories, whether it’s hydrating yourself all day or finally getting the courage to speak at an AA meeting. You know yourself best! It’s okay to feel good about how you’re changing, but don’t let yourself slack.

You can accept yourself and your weaknesses and still work to change. Recovery is a journey, not a destination.

A bit of self-acceptance will help you stay humble along the way. You know you’re not perfect, but you can still strive for progress. And that's okay!

Sober Living Options

Are you looking for a sober living home in the San Diego area? We offer a great environment with both community and structure to help you maintain your recovery as you live life on its terms. Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about how we can help!

Everyone needs a little hand, now and then. When it comes to addiction and recovery, asking for help is vital. However, sometimes people find it overwhelming to ask for help. It can be humbling or induce anxiety; especially you are first getting sober. For example, you may worry that people will look at you differently if you ask for help. You may be scared they will judge you or abandon you.

Even if you’ve been sober for a while, you may struggle with asking for help. Recovery is about growth and change. You can’t do it alone, and asking for help is part of living life drug-free. With these tips, you may find it’s a little easier to reach out.

Tips for Asking For Help

There are so many times in life where asking for help will benefit you. Whether it’s because you need to find a therapist or need help staying sober for one more day, you’re proactive about your recovery by reaching out to others. Humility can help you get through whatever your struggle is.

Here are some more tips for asking:

  • Be honest about what’s going on. Are you in relapse mode? Do you feel tempted to use substances? If your request is urgent, then say so. Nobody is a mind reader.
  • Be open-minded. When you ask for help, you’re asking for the experience, strength, and hope of another person. The way they decide to help you may not be exactly what you expect.
  • Accept the help you’re offered. If your sponsor invites you camping to help you get your mind off your ex, go with him, even if you’re not used to being outdoors. Trying new things is a part of life in recovery.
  • Don’t expect people to do your heavy lifting, literally or figuratively. If there’s work to do, they can help you with it. But you have to fulfill your part of the bargain, too.
  • Follow through. For example, if you’re in an unhealthy living situation, you may ask for help finding a new one. Make sure you make the phone calls once you’ve had help finding a new place.
  • Share your experience with others. When you tell your success story, you encourage others to ask for the help they need.

Recovery is a Journey

Recovery is always a journey, not a destination. However, many people find that they want to remain in a supportive and structured environment after treatment.

Sober living homes can help you maintain your recovery and continue to work your program as you start to take back your life. Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about how we can help!

If you are new to recovery or even have been around the block a few times, you may have questions about the twelve steps and how to fit meetings into your recovery best. After all, sitting in a room and sharing your innermost feelings can be pretty intimidating. If you’re introverted or shy, you may worry that you won’t be able to get as much out of meetings. However, people from all walks of life, backgrounds, and personality types have gotten clean and sober using the twelves steps. So how can you get the most out of 12-step meetings, no matter what?

Start By Listening at 12-Step Meetings

All meetings are based on the 12 Steps, which are read to the group at the beginning of each meeting. Most 12-step meetings will have “old-timers” who share their experiences every week. “Shut up and listen” may be one of the catchphrases you hear them say. You may think this is rude – but it’s a saying for a reason. It’s not just about respecting the group dynamics, although that is undoubtedly an essential lesson for newcomers.

Listening is an integral part of recovery, especially because you’re learning how to stay sober by following the suggestions of people who have been there before. After all, you’re trying to stay sober a day at a time, and you’ll learn how to do this by listening to people who have been sober for more months or years than you.

Getting Used to 12 Step Meeting Formats

Some groups will have a speaker, while others will focus on readings from books like the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book (also sometimes referred to as the “Bible of AA.” In many cases, newcomers (or newly sober people) are encouraged to listen only, at least for their first few weeks sober so that they can hear from people with more experience in recovery.

Some meetings are distinguished as “newcomer meetings” and are often more open to having newly sober people share. You may talk about the first three steps or general topics such as being open-minded or willing.

If you have questions about the meeting format, try to observe others when you first attend. It’s okay to raise your hand and share or ask a question of the group. Just make sure to be respectful and genuinely listen when others speak. You can gain a lot just by listening. Many people who relapse humble themselves and spend time listening when they’ve returned to their recovery program.

After the Meeting

People usually congregate and socialize after 12-step meetings. This is also an excellent time to get names or phone numbers from people, especially if you need a sponsor. There is also a lot of good, free literature available to pick up if you need help with particular issues.

12-step meetings are both self-help groups and a community. If you’re struggling with something, make sure to talk to the group or with individuals after the meeting.

Considering Sober Living?

Many people in recovery find that they are inspired to do more when surrounded by like-minded people. Getting back to basics, building community, and learning more about yourself in a structured environment are all parts of sober living. Are you interested in learning more? Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.


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