Anxiety is expected in the early stages of recovery. When you think about it, it’s not surprising that addiction and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Some anxiety is a typical withdrawal symptom as your brain adjusts to functioning without drugs or alcohol. You’re also making significant changes in your living situation, relationships, and career during this time. These things can add up to some severe worries that manifest as anxiety.
The key to dealing with addiction and anxiety is to learn more about how factors in your life influence each one. Learning how to use effective coping mechanisms for anxiety also helps you prevent relapse and feel more confident as you navigate changes in your life.
Learn When to Use Your Anxiety Coping Skills
In your addiction treatment, you’ll learn all about how certain things trigger your cravings. The same is true about anxiety. Although symptoms of anxiety can pop up without any apparent cause, they often stem from something happening within you or your environment.
Anxiety recovery involves learning which things serve as triggers for your symptoms. Recognizing when or why you feel this way helps you implement your coping strategies sooner. Here are a few common triggers for anxiety symptoms:
- Dealing with loneliness
- Going to an unfamiliar place
- Exposing yourself to a known fear such as heights
- Being in new social situations
- Interviewing for a job
- Having too much caffeine or sugar
Explore New Coping Mechanisms for Anxiety
Before now, you might have been turning to drugs or alcohol to help drown out the symptoms of anxiety. Addicts in recovery need to find healthier ways to deal with their symptoms or prevent them from happening altogether. Look at this as an opportunity to learn more about what calms you and makes you happy.
Some of the best coping skills for recovery are fun to do. Going for a hike, learning a new skill, and playing sports are great distractions from anxiety. An active lifestyle in recovery can help you burn off stress hormones that strengthen symptoms.
Combine Addiction and Anxiety Treatment
You’ll also learn strategies that work well for both addiction and anxiety in your therapy sessions. Talking or journaling about your worries gets them off your mind and helps you view them from a more rational angle. Grounding techniques such as mindful meditation also help you retrain your brain to live in the here and now.
Set Up Reminders to Use Your Coping Skills for Recovery
At first, using your anxiety coping skills may not be easy. Severe anxiety symptoms might cause you to lose focus and forget to apply what you learned in therapy. This is where you can lean on your sober coach and new friends to help you get through difficult moments. Try to make it a habit to contact someone in your support network if your anxiety starts to feel overwhelming. Calling someone or visiting a sober neighbor gives you a way to calm yourself down before you succumb to temptation and have a relapse.
You can also set up reminders around your house. A motivational quote on a post-it note that you put on your mirror can help you deal with early morning anxiety as you get ready for the day. Putting your journal and a pen next to your bed can serve as a late-night reminder to put your worries down on paper and close the book on them so that you can rest.
Make Anxiety Recovery Easier With a Multi-Phase Plan
Thinking about too much at once is a common cause of anxiety. For addicts in recovery, staring down the road to complete independence can look like a never-ending journey at first. If you catch yourself worrying about whether or not you’ll ever be able to live independently without relapsing, then try to take it easier on yourself.
Following a multi-phase plan allows you to dip your toe into recovery without feeling all of the pressure of trying to do it alone. Instead of trying to jump right into having a full-time career immediately, you can spend more time in therapy and life skills classes during your initial phase of recovery. Later, you can focus on finding a job or going back to school with the help of a case manager. When you’re ready to do things alone, all of the previous steps will have you prepared and confident about entering the final recovery phase.
There isn’t a magical cure for anxiety. Instead, a combination of self-care techniques and support from a caring community can get you through the worst of those anxious moments. As you manage your anxiety symptoms, remember that being strong also means knowing when to reach out for help. Make sure to maintain your sober connections. Whether you need to talk it out or distract yourself with a game of paintball, there’s strength in numbers for overcoming anxiety and preventing relapse.
Momentum Recovery offers three distinct phases of recovery. We encourage our clients to work their way through each phase of the program as it’s proven to have the most significant impact on their long-term recovery.