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Apex Recovery Blog

7 Substance Abuse Coping Strategies for Alcohol Rehabilitation

a pinned card on a board reading "road to recovery"

Drug and alcohol addiction has destroyed lives in our country for far too long.

Getting on the road to recovery is one of the hardest things an addict can do. When you’re in the thick of a debilitating addiction, it can seem like you’ll never get out from under it. Even when you’ve checked into a great rehab facility and are surrounded by helpful professionals and loved ones, addiction can still have its grip on you.

Part of successful alcohol rehabilitation is learning how to cope with the emotions, cravings, and everything else that comes with being addicted to substances. Coping strategies won’t cure you, but they’ll help you overcome the darker periods so that you can get back on your feet.

In this post, we’re going to look at 7 coping strategies for substance abuse that you can try. Recovery has no one-size-fits-all approach, so try a few of these strategies and see what works for you.

1. Mindfulness & Meditation

When you’re dealing with the psychological trauma of addiction, your mind flits around like a monkey climbing through branches. It can be extremely difficult to keep your thoughts from going to a dark place, which will inevitably lead you back to alcohol. Fortunately, by practicing mindfulness and meditation, you can gain a little bit of control over your mind to calm it and quell those feelings.

Although meditation is closely associated with eastern religions, traditions across the world have always used some form of it as a healing practice. You don’t have to get on the path to enlightenment to find some benefit in mindfulness.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, close your eyes and start focusing on your breath. Pay special attention to how your body is feeling moment to moment and follow your breath until thoughts start to fall away. Eventually, when you practice this over and over, you’ll be able to immediately get to a place of calm and serenity.

2. Excercise Regularly

All substances, but alcohol, in particular, take a huge toll on your body when used to excess. When you stop drinking and go through withdrawal, you’ll feel the effects that the alcohol has had on you directly. Exercise can help you overcome this period of detoxing during inpatient rehab, but it can also do wonders when you’re not feeling quite yourself.

When you’re feeling stressed, depressed, or anxious, one of the best things you can do is go for a run or a workout. The endorphins released when you exercise are proven to trigger a positive feeling in your body, which is what runners call “runner’s high”. Regular exercise will help your body handle stress better in general, which can help you cope with alcohol cravings and other intense situations that come during recovery.

3. A Healthier Social Life

Battling substance abuse dramatically alters your social life. One of the unfortunate aspects of recovery is the realization that some people around you aren’t always around for your best interest. If you go back to the same old social circles, you’re going to be a lot more tempted to drink than if you stick with people that have helped you and shown concern during this difficult time.

Create a healthier social life by attending group meetings and meeting loved ones for coffee instead of drinks. Having people that care about you around to talk to during times of need is such an important coping mechanism. You never have to go it alone, but you have to let people help you.

4. Taking Therapy

You’ll find out when you enter a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center that therapy is an integral part of recovery. If you’re internalizing your feelings or feel like you’re fighting your addiction alone, talking to a therapist can help you realize the truth. Addiction creates a cloud of misperception and confusion around you that doesn’t immediately clear up when you stop drinking.

Often, you need a therapist to help you see things more clearly. They’ll be a much-needed listener and someone that can get to the root of your alcohol problem. You should continue with therapy even after your inpatient or outpatient rehab sessions.

5. Writing

Every time you’re feeling down, try putting pen to paper in order to exorcise the pain of the moment. Journalling prevents you from internalizing your negative feelings. Even the simple act of writing something down is better than swallowing your pain and letting it grow and fester.

It can also help you make sense of what you’re feeling. Look back on your journals from a difficult day or week and you’ll be able to see what was troubling you and stop that from happening again. Your mind plays tricks on you constantly, especially when you’re coming out of an addiction, so by writing your thoughts down, you can look at thoughts from a different perspective.

6. Positive Self-Talk

Another way to train your mind is positive self-talk. As we said, when you’re in the throes of addiction, your mind is rattling away with far too much self-hate and self-consciousness that it’s hard to love yourself. Listening to what your negative self-talk tells you, like “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t do this without a drink”, is only going to lead you back down that same road.

Positive self-talk is when you actively try to rewire your self-esteem. Use positive terms when you’re thinking about yourself and your place in the world, and you’ll really start to see a difference in your overall mood.

7. New Hobbies

Coping with addiction is about filling the space in your mind that caused you to drink with something new and exciting. Picking up a new hobby has helped guide many addicts through difficult times. The less time you spend alone, thinking about your situation, the less likely you are to relapse.

It could be painting, picking up an instrument, playing sports, or doing jigsaw puzzles. If you find enjoyment in it, then it’s worth doing. 

Alcohol Rehabilitation Is All About Coping

These are 7 extremely helpful coping mechanisms as you go through alcohol rehabilitation. When you’ve got coping mechanisms on top of amazing care, wonderful things can happen. At Apex Recovery Rehab, we’d love to be the one to help you get on the path to sobriety. 

If you’re looking for San Diego-area alcohol rehabilitation facilities for yourself or a loved one, Apex has a variety of treatment programs, a loving and professional staff, and 3 state-of-the-art facilities that you can recover at. Visit our site to learn more about our programs, staff, and facilities, and when you’re ready to turn your life around, contact us to find out how we can help.

Call Our Toll-Free Hotline 24/7 at 877.881.2689