Overcoming a crippling addiction can be a very difficult and rocky journey. Oftentimes, those recovering from addiction may feel the mental symptoms of sobriety, specifically anxiety. Unfortunately, sobriety and anxiety go hand-in-hand and it can be very tough to manage both. This is one of the reasons why many people turn to drugs or alcohol to deal with their anxiety. Luckily, there are effective and safe ways of recovering from anxiety while practicing sobriety.
Sobriety and anxiety can be a potentially dangerous situation due to the chance of relapse. Some people may have urges to turn back to drugs or alcohol to cope with their anxiety. However, this only ends up making the situation worse as time goes on. There are several coping skills to reduce anxiety while staying clear of drugs and alcohol. Practicing these tips can be an excellent way of keeping a clear head while recovering from anxiety.
If you or a loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, Sana Lake is here to help. We offer comprehensive treatment for you and your family. The first step towards sobriety is getting professional and trusted help for you or a loved one. It is time to start your journey towards a better and brighter life.
The Importance of Preventing Relapse During Sobriety
Recovering from anxiety and addiction can both be shaky endeavors. However, there are many ways you or a loved one can reduce anxiety and focus on remaining clean. Unfortunately, many people relapse due to the stress caused by anxiety, cravings, and other reasons. Without the proper tools, a person may have a strong urge to turn to drugs or alcohol again. Using drugs again and returning to old habits after recovery is considered relapsing.
During sobriety, there will be moments where situations trigger your anxiety and urge to use again. Anxiety can be triggered by many different things, big or small. Some of the more common trigger to a person’s anxiety include:
- Trouble sleeping
- New environments and surrounds
- Starting a new career
- Meeting new people
It is completely normal to feel this way but it’s important to have the right coping skills to reduce anxiety. While it may feel like a juggling act to handle both sobriety and anxiety, it is completely possible and achievable with the right techniques. Early recovery can also be shaky but practicing these coping skills to reduce anxiety can make a world a difference for long-term sobriety.
Coping Skills to Reduce Anxiety
Luckily, there are plenty of tips and skills that can be used while recovering from anxiety during sobriety. It is important to try these strategies when you feel anxious or hopeless. No matter what happens, having a set of tools and strategies at your fingertips can mean the difference between staying sober and relapsing. Something as simple as a hobby or a distraction can be a game-changer for sobriety and anxiety. Let’s take a look at some coping methods for your anxiety.
Utilize Healthy Distractions
Sometimes a healthy distraction can be all that’s needed to take your mind off your anxiety for the time being. There are many different tasks and activities that you can do to keep your mind and body active (and away from drug use). Both your sobriety and anxiety can benefit from healthy distractions. One of the reasons why distractions can help you cope with your anxiety is they give off healthy endorphins and rewarding experiences. Reading a good book, writing in a journal, listening to music or a podcast, attending a local play, or drawing are all healthy distractions.
Recovering from anxiety is not easy but having healthy and positive distractions can help you escape and be creative. Exercise is another big help when it comes to sobriety and anxiety. Going out for a jog or hitting the gym can be super beneficial and positive distractions. With all this in mind, it’s crucial to not ignore or avoid your anxiety. You should be aware of your anxiety and be open to talking about it as well.
Talk to Someone
While some may find it embarrassing to speak out about their mental state, it is crucial to recovering from anxiety. Pushing back anxiety in your mind and letting it grow/fester can be a recipe for disaster. This only helps avoid the issue and can become extremely risky when dealing with both sobriety and anxiety. Talk to someone about your feelings and anxieties. No matter how trivial or silly your worries may appear to be, don’t hesitate to open up.
Speaking up about what’s making you anxious helps you recognize it and gives a voice to it. It makes it more manageable while you receive advice. You can speak to a friend, parent, sibling, or even a therapist. Being open and honest about your anxieties can help you cope with them in the process. Don’t be afraid to talk about your sobriety and anxiety struggles, nobody is perfect.
We’ve all heard of meditation but many don’t realize the great effects it can have on a person’s mind and body. Meditation seems simple enough yet can have massive impacts on a person’s sobriety and anxiety. Meditation can be done anywhere with anything (somewhere you feel comfortable) – on the floor, with or without background noise, in the morning or the evening. There are also many different phone apps and resources to help you get started.
Meditation helps a person clear their thoughts and truly focus on their body/mind on a spiritual level. This can help a person cope with anxiety and clear their mind, even just for a minute in their day. It’s highly recommended to get into a routine of meditating every day if you can. This can help you tackle the day with a fresh and clear mind.
Get in the Habit of Exercising
Returning to the topic of healthy distractions, exercise is an extremely powerful tool for recovering from anxiety. Exercise is not only very beneficial for your physical health and well being but it’s also great for the mind. Exercise is proven to reduce stress and make you feel better. Whenever you feel that your anxiety is acting up or those urges are appearing, go for a 20-minute jog.
Additionally, getting your heart pumping can do wonders for both sobriety and anxiety. Create a healthy routine and go at your own pace when you get the chance. There are so many benefits to experience including reduced stress, better sleep, a healthier mind, a strong heart, etc.
Yoga is in this same realm of meditation and can help you cope with life’s stresses and anxieties. Yoga can also include meditation as well. Yoga is a combination of stretching, chants, and other soothing techniques in the process. In the same vein as addiction treatment, there is also a 12-step recovery version of yoga. This mixes the practice of yoga with some of the 12 steps/recovery techniques. Yoga can be a great way to aid in sobriety and anxiety coping skills.
Try Grounding Techniques/Exercises
Sometimes life’s stresses can pile up and take a toll on our bodies and minds. Along with practicing the tips above you can also try grounding exercises. Grounded exercises help a person acknowledge their senses and surroundings so they can think clearly. One of the more commonly used grounding exercises includes counting down from 5 (5-4-3-2-1). This technique can help you with coping and recovering from anxiety.
Let’s take a closer look at this exercise. Starting from 5, you acknowledge five objects or things around you (ones you can see). Moving onto 4, acknowledge four things you can physically touch. Next, focus on three things you can hear (external sounds). Then two things you can smell. Until finally, you focus on something you can taste (a sandwich, water, coffee, orange juice, etc.). This simple exercise can help you stay grounded and out of your head. This can be the turning point of coping with your anxiety and life’s stresses.
Practice Healthy Sleeping and Eating Habits
Recovering from anxiety takes more than the occasional jog and meditation session. A healthy body means a healthy mind in most cases. This is why it’s important to make sure you are eating healthy and getting enough sleep. These two factors have a direct impact on a person’s sobriety and anxiety. Set a strict schedule of well-balanced meals and when you go to sleep. But more than just saying you’ll do something is doing it. For you to truly use these coping skills to reduce anxiety, you must practice discipline.
Start Your Journey at Sana Lake
Recovering from anxiety takes time and effort but it is achievable. Since both sobriety and anxiety are closely related, it’s essential to practice healthy habits to help cope with these. If you or a loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, now is the time to get help. Let Sana Lake help you towards a better, cleaner life today. Contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment options and additional resources.