Top 10 Ways To Manage Stress In Sobriety
Everyone has moments when they get stressed out. Yet, stress can be a make it or break situation for certain people. More specifically, a person like me. A person who is a recovering addict.
If you are in addiction recovery then you know that being extremely stressed out can lead you back to a place that you don’t want to be.
I am going to share with you the best ways for me to personally manage stress in sobriety but, first I want to hit on a few key points.
Please note: The information contained in this guest article is not medical or therapeutic advice and if you are concerned about your health, please seek professional support from a doctor or hospital right away.
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Stress in Addiction
In active addiction, stress is just another reason to numb yourself.
Got fired from work? Get high.
Fighting with your significant other? Get blackout drunk.
Evicted from your apartment? Do every drug you can get your hands on.
It’s a relentless pattern and as an addict, we use until we don’t think about what was stressing us out in the first place.
Yet, the problem with doing that is that the original stressor or bad situation or unwanted feeling never goes away. Eventually, you will have to face that initial problem.
If you are now living a sober life, you know that it is what we call the wreckage of the past. You are not a magician and you can’t make issues magically disappear. All you do is push it down and leave it to pop up later when you don’t want it to. Plus, chances are it’s going to come back at you much worse then it would have been if you would have just dealt with it when you had the chance.
Stressors Will Always Be There
Be realistic. There is always going to be stuff that stresses you out. Whether you are new to sobriety or have been in recovery for years. It doesn’t mean you won’t experience stress.
It could be something as simple as your kid diving you insane to meeting a deadline at work. But even something that small can put you in a world of hurt. The goal is to manage stress in recovery so it doesn’t cause you to fall off the wagon.
Now, I am going to share with you how I cope with the undeniable stress that has come into my sober life. By using these strategies, stress is just something that happens and something that I can successfully manage.
Related: How to Recognize Addiction
Personally, I love to write. Writing is the perfect way to let it all out. Get all of the thoughts, bad things, good things, and just anything out of your head. It’s a release. A way to be in control of your thoughts and examine your thought patterns.
If you need a recovery journal, I highly recommend the Get Your Shine On addiction recovery journal. It’s a guided journal that I use and has everything from brain dumps to journal prompts. Plus, it’s free. You can click here to see for yourself.
The truth is that when you are active, you relieve stress. Exercising releases natural chemicals in your body that make you feel good.
Think about all the ways you can stay active. Exercise can include dancing, swimming, or anything that keeps you moving. It doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym and do a thousand push-ups.
But if you are extremely stressed out or PO’d about something, there is nothing better then cranking some music and beating the crap out of a punching bag. (yes, I do this)
Related: Set the Intention to Exercise in 3 Simple Steps
If you are lacking sleep, your body is going to feel drained, you will be irritable, and feel stress over the slightest things.
Or have you ever been in a situation where you feel emotionally, mentally, and physically drained? Does the issue just seem to suck the life out of you? The best remedy is to sleep it off.
Sleep is our body and brain’s way of recuperating. Make sure you get enough of it.
Don’t hibernate. Don’t hide in the house doing whatever it is you do. The sunshine and fresh air will do you good.
You know how kids go stir crazy when the weather is crappy and they need out? As an adult, you will feel the same and become stressed just because. Plus, it’s boredom and as recovering addicts, boredom and feeling stress leads our minds to places they need not be.
Bottom line, get outside and have some fun.
Eliminate the toxicity
This one is common sense. Yet, it is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult thing to do. Which is eliminate any and all toxic behavior, people, places from our lives.
If a person causes you grief and stress and you keep them around, you can’t expect to feel any better. Eliminate it and move on. It may be hard but it will be well worth it.
Oils and Herbs
I am personally not a big essential oils person but, in sobriety I have taken up growing my own herbs and vegetables. The smells are intoxicating so I began to do my research.
There are essential oils and herb that have calming effects, others for sleep, some for
relaxation, and even oils recommended for those in addiction recovery. Who would have ever thought?
Related: Homemade Lavender Oatmeal Goats Milk Soap
I am a huge advocate of therapy. Recovering from addiction does not end when you leave rehab. In fact, that’s where it just begins. That is the time when you have to start repairing, healing, growing, changing, and working to have the best sober life ever.
Sometimes family and friends just don’t get it. Even if your friends are your sober support, it is extremely helpful to have someone else to talk to.
A professional that can give you an outside opinion on your recovery, your sobriety, and the steps you are taking to improve. Not to mention, a therapist doesn’t know you on a personal level so there outside perspective is completely unbiased.
Too much caffeine increases your heart rate, can cause high blood pressure, and make you jittery. Caffeine has actually been proven to increase stress levels for all of these reasons and more.
Recovering addicts have a tendency to drink a lot of coffee and smoke a lot of cigarettes. Especially, at meetings. It seems to be a recovering addict’s vice, myself included.
The funny thing is once I cut down on my caffeine intake each day, I actually had more energy and decreased my stress levels. From one recovering addict to another, you need to give it a try.
Have A Routine
This one was a huge way for me to manage stress in sobriety. In addiction, we are the wild ones. The ones who lived life in the fast lane, without a care in the world. Routines and schedules were boring. After all, who wants to do the same damn thing day in and day out? Not you, not me. Right?
I got severely stressed out around 5 years sober. I had my sober living blog that I kept tweeking to get right, I write for other addiction recovery sites, I work part-time outside the home, I have two little ones, and am taking classes to further my education in addiction recovery.
Well, let me tell you something. Having two kids with you 24/7 is stressful enough at times. Then, add in running your own online business without a plan. Next, throw in the chaos of everyday living without no schedule to stick to it and just going with the flow. After several months I was pulling my hair out. Among other things. It was insanity.
So I started a routine, a schedule. Things aren’t monotonous and boring what so ever. My life is great and falling into place more than ever. Thanks to creating and sticking to a routine, I now have my shit together.
One less thing to stress about.
Know Your Limits
The very last thing is that you have to be aware of yourself, your feelings, and your limitations. Don’t take on too much. Don’t overwork yourself. Don’t do something that you already know you don’t want to do.
I’m not saying not to dream big. What I am saying is that set goals, know what you need to do to reach them and do that. Set boundaries and be aware of your limitations. Don’t drive yourself insane trying to be superwoman. After all, you did that already by overcoming your addiction.
Manage Stress in Sobriety
There is always going to be stress in your life. You have to find healthy ways to mange stress in sobriety so that you don’t fall back into addiction. These are 10 sure fire ways that work for me. I guarantee that some of them will work for you, if not all.
If you are serious about thriving in sober living then, take these tips to heart. Stress is one of the biggest, most common, and most overlooked triggers in addiction recovery.
About the Guest Author
My name is Natasha and I am the founder of Unjunkiefied.com which is a complete guide for kick-ass sober living.
I have been writing about sober living and addiction recovery for the past 5 years. Personally, I am a recovering addict who turned my life around after being at rock bottom. I was a heroin addict for over 10 years.
My goal with Unjunkiefied and writing it to turn my mess into a message. Currently, I mentor several women in recovery and am continuing my education in the addiction recovery field. Remember, your past does not define your future. You may have to make a few adjustments along the way but, you can have a kick-ass sober life.
Additional Addiction Resources
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3/5/2020 09:04:19 pm
Hi Lia, yes I have read this book by Gabor Maté! It's definitely a great read and interesting perspective on addiction. Thanks so much for your comment.
6/19/2019 11:20:24 am
Thanks so much for publishing this. I appreciate it.
3/5/2020 09:05:20 pm
Hi Natasha, thanks so much for reading this article on addiction. I hope the book by Gabor Maté was an interesting read for you!
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