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Stress Management and Substance Abuse

Stress is a normal part of everyday life. Life gets busy and, at times, overwhelming, though everyone has a different reaction and way of coping. Some are able to easily deal with what life throws at them, while others are incapacitated and frozen with anxiety.  The key to dealing with stress is to develop a plan for stress management to prepare for those moments when life gets hard to cope with. In the context of staying sober, stress management is essential for avoiding relapse and maintaining the health that you have fought so hard for.

Not only does stress affect your mental wellbeing, filling your mind with doubts and worries, it greatly impacts your physical health.  Someone who is consistently overly stressed tends to have:

  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Insomnia (which leads to more issues)
  • Frequent colds and infections

Stress management is essential for recovering addicts because stress lowers your ability to make good decisions. When your thoughts are clouded with anxieties and worries, you are unable to rightly discern what is wisest.  You are more prone to make a bad decision such as, “I can handle one drink. It’ll help take the edge off of what I’m feeling”.  In a peaceful state of mind, you are well aware that though that drink would help in the moment, it has harmful long-term effects.  Remember the long road you’ve walked and how far you have come to overcome and persevere through addiction.

So how do you develop a stress management plan? First, recognize things and patterns in your life that cause you the most amount of stress.  Is it a specific person? A circumstance? Too many commitments? Taking inventory of those triggers will allow you to avoid or better adapt to those situations or people. Recognize that filtering out some harmful, stress-inducing aspects of your life will ultimately allow you to successfully walk out a life of sobriety.

Finally, do not be afraid to talk to someone if you are struggling with stress and anxiety in your life.  You do not have to do this alone. Often, stress leads to isolation, which will only fuel negativity and racing thoughts.  Sometimes talking with someone about what you are feeling will not make it seem so daunting.

Call our office today at (888) 507-1355 to speak with a trained treatment specialist. They will be able to connect you with resources about aftercare, and answer any questions or concerns you may have.