Maintaining Sobriety in Times of High Stress
Who has experienced stress recently? If you said me, you are not alone. We all face stress daily. Some of this stress can go unrecognized such as trying to rush out the door to be at work on time or it can be a bit more significant, even life changing, that causes us to resort to drugs or alcohol to numb and forget about that stress. Maintaining sobriety can be especially challenging in times of high stress.
But how does one maintain a level of sobriety in times of high stress? We now live in a fast-paced society with increasing demands, while dealing with social isolation, social distancing, telecommutes with changing job duties and responsibilities. There are ways that you can maintain your sobriety in these stressful times.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Sometimes you just have to say no. When we stretch ourselves too thin on time or overexert ourselves mentally or physically, it can increase our stress and chances of relapse. Make sure you are taking much needed down time, practicing self-care, and taking care of yourself. If you are not taking care of yourself then it will be difficult to be of service to others.
There are most certainly healthy benefits from being outdoors, despite the obvious of fresh air, sunlight, and sounds of nature. This may be an opportunity for you to explore a new recreational activity that you have been interested in such as fishing or hiking, or it may be a way for you to get reacquainted with an activity that you used to enjoy. So, dust off those golf clubs and hit the links! You will have a deeper appreciation for the correlation between mental and physical health in doing so.
Identify Healthy Coping Mechanisms and Positive Supports
Make a conscious choice to find things to take your mind off drug and alcohol use, such as calling a friend or relative or going for a walk. Animals can also be therapeutic so consider going to the shelter to adopt a dog to walk with you and help motivate you. Also, consider getting involved with NA or AA meetings and at some point, identifying a sponsor. There are dozens of AA and NA meetings so do not feel obligated to commit to the first one you attend if you do not feel a connection there. It is perfectly acceptable to attend several before finding one to call your group.
Keep in mind that drugs and alcohol, no matter how serious your use is, are surface level problems. Considering collaborating with a therapist that specializes in addictions to help get to the root of the problem and identify ways for you to live the best life that you deserve. Foundations Family Therapy has a therapist that specializes in maintaining sobriety. Meet him here!
Substance abuse, drug overdoses and celebrity suicides seem to be common news headlines these days. It’s so heartbreaking reading about these tragedies knowing that help, hope and healing exist. Perhaps there is some light that comes from such darkness. These tragedies help put the spotlight on mental health, substance abuse and the stigma associated with getting help.
The relationship between mental illness and substance abuse is very strong. In fact, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) reported that, of these people struggling with dual disorders, the majority—55.8%— don’t receive any treatment for either disorder. A mere 7.4% get treatment for both issues. It’s time to end the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Self medicating with drugs and alcohol can lead to further depression, anxiety, and paranoia amongst other conditions. People who have high risk factors like genetics and childhood trauma are sometimes pushed into substance abuse to no fault of their own.
The vicious cycle of addiction, abuse, and self-medication will lead to a downward spiral that often effects all aspects of one’s life. At Foundations Family Therapy, we can help you or a loved one learn to gain freedom from your struggles. Our hope-focused therapists are here to help walk with you in a judgement-free, healing environment. Shannon Haney-Jenkins works with adults, couples and families who are struggling with substance use, medical diagnosis or past trauma.
If you struggle with alcohol or other substances, and it’s interfering with your life, call us. We’re here for you!