Stress and addiction go hand-in-hand.  Many people find themselves turning to alcohol and/or drug use as a source of stress relief, however this can be a sign of dependence.  Everybody in this world experiences stress at some degree, but the difference is that when non-addicts experience stress, they can relieve and cope with that stress in a healthy way.  When addicts experience stress, they will turn to alcohol and/or drugs to provide them with a temporary relief. 

When we first enter into recovery, we must re-learn many of our behaviors.  In the past to deal with stress, anger, or anxiety, there was a quick-fix in alcohol and/or drug use.  When we first become sober and no longer have our quick-fix to cope with stress, we must learn healthy management techniques. 

What are some healthy ways to manage and deal with stress?

Techniques to relieve stress externally:

  • Relaxation exercises such as deep breathing and meditation
  • Physical exercise such as cardio or yoga
  • Watching TV
  • Listening to music

Techniques to manage stress internally:

  • Living in present moment
  • Healthy diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Daily spiritual practice
  • Balanced lifestyle

Stress and Relapse Triggers

A main source of relapse directly stems from stress in the addict’s life.  A good way to manage stress symptoms are to identify your own triggers and know how to handle them in a positive way. 

Knowing your relapse triggers should be a part of your recovery plan.  Calling a trusted friend or AA sponsor, reading addiction recovery material, or working out can help relieve the stress that comes with your triggers.  Anticipate your triggers and create a plan to deal with them in a healthy way.

Stress is inevitable, and everybody will deal with high-stress situations in their lifetime.  Reaching for alcohol or drugs may seem like a quick way to find relief, however the source of the stress will still be there when you come down from your high or when you sober up.

At Stonewall Institute Treatment Center, we teach positive stress management techniques and will help change your way of thinking.  Call or visit us today to get started.