There is a difference between healthy and unhealthy coping skills. The use of drugs or alcohol to avoid uncomfortable emotions is considered an unhealthy coping skill. Learning and practicing healthy coping skills for addiction recovery can help you deal with stressful situations in your life and assist you in avoiding using drugs or alcohol – paving the way for long-term, sustainable sobriety. 1
The cycle of addiction refers to the recurring behavioral and mental patterns of substance abuse and addiction. This cycle can prevent you from attempting recovery and remaining sober. The stages in the cycle of addiction include addiction, withdrawal, and relapse. These will be detailed below.
In the withdrawal stage of substance use, any attempt to quit or stop using will result in withdrawal symptoms. Some withdrawal symptoms may include:
The withdrawal symptoms will be dependent upon the substance used.
In addiction treatment, there are three different types of relapse: emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse.
Emotional relapse often starts before you even begin using drugs or alcohol again. You may not even be thinking about using drugs or alcohol at this stage. However, you may start to feel lonely, restless, and isolated. At this stage of relapse in recovering from drug addiction, you may start to disengage from addiction treatment. The best relapse prevention coping skills involve being able to recognize when you are starting to isolate yourself and bottle up emotions.
In addiction recovery, it is not uncommon for individuals to experience triggers and relapse. A goal of addiction recovery programs is to teach individuals how to identify their triggers and learn coping skills for addiction recovery in order to prevent relapse. Triggers can be both internal and external.
Internal triggers are often more difficult to deal with than external triggers as you cannot avoid internal triggers. Ways of dealing with addiction involve being able to identify and cope with internal triggers. These types of triggers are:
It can be difficult to learn and focus on creating and using coping techniques while trying to recover from addiction. However, it is extremely important in drug addiction recovery, or any addiction recovery program, to invest time and energy into learning recovery coping skills. Ten examples of coping skills for addiction recovery are detailed below.