The road out of addiction is an arduous one. It takes a lot of concerted effort to overcome a substance use disorder and free yourself from the tight hold that drugs or alcohol have over your life.
In many cases, substance use – and subsequently abuse – was a reaction to something else; a coping mechanism that served to free you from the stressors, traumas or other troubling things in your life.
Some version of escapism.
Just as coping may have been a core motivator for how you started in the first place, you as well have to learn new and healthy coping skills to stay away from drugs in the future.
Learning is the operative word because it doesn’t necessarily come naturally. You must rewire and reconfigure your mind in a very real sense.
But why do you have to actively learn coping skills for addiction?
It helps here to define addiction because the answer lies within it.
As the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) puts it, “addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder, because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control. Those changes may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs”.
In other words, drug and alcohol use literally changes how your brain fires. It augments your ability to control yourself and throws things into chaos when you don’t get your fix.
Because those changes last for a long time, it takes dedicated time, attention and often professional help to undo the damage and learn new behaviors.
Best Ways to Understand & Develop Coping Skills for Substance Use Disorders
Among the most effective ways to learn coping skills are these:
Go to Rehab
Rehab can and does truly work wonders for people.
Whether your addiction is on the more severe side or milder, there is no doubt there’s a program out there that can help you.
For those suffering from a long-lasting and serious addiction, a well-rounded inpatient treatment program is what you’d likely require. A place where you would live in and receive 24/7 care and guidance.
The next step down from that is known as outpatient rehab, which can be used as either a transition from an inpatient stay or be started directly after detox for those living with a milder substance use disorder.
Your particular rehab regimen will be tailored to your needs but they all generally revolve around individual and group therapy to help you beat your addiction.
Do CBT Therapy
CBT therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is considered the gold standard when it comes to evidence-based psychotherapy – also known as talk therapy – modalities for treating addiction.
CBT is the combination of cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy and can be summed up like this, “what we think, how we feel and how we behave are all closely connected – and all of these factors have a decisive influence on our well-being”
Cognitive behavioral therapy makes you aware of your negative or inaccurate thought patterns, those which inform your addiction and underlie it, so you can see them more clearly and begin to change how you react to situations.
Attend Support Groups After Rehab
Recovery is a lifelong process and you don’t “finish” when you get out of rehab. It takes continued effort to cement those new coping mechanisms and skills.
Reach Out to Principles Recovery Center Today for More Information Regarding Addiction Recovery
Aftercare comes in many forms but support groups are a fantastic way to stay the course; they’re a place you can go where you’re in the company of people who genuinely understand what you’re going through, plenty of whom have been on the journey for years and can help you stay the course.
If you’re struggling with addiction, reach out to us at Principles Recovery Center and let’s talk about it.