How to Maintain Sobriety Through Stressful Times

how to stay sober during stressful times

The world is a stressful place, and it’s practically impossible to find a single person on this planet who isn’t worried or anxious from time to time. Unfortunately, stress is one of the biggest factors of alcohol and drug abuse by far. When life gets tough, we often feel alone in our experiences and become desperate for fast relief just to keep going. But substance abuse only makes things tougher in the long run, and many people suffering from addiction end up abusing substances more and more just to try and regain some small level of comfort.

Fortunately, life doesn’t have to be this way. With over 20 million people (over 10 percent of adults) suffering from addiction each year in the United States, you’re not alone in your experiences. Furthermore, with the right addiction treatment program, many people can both obtain sobriety and learn healthy coping skills for addiction recovery that can help them through stressful times.

In the meantime, here are several time-tested techniques you can use to keep stress levels at bay without relying on unhealthy activities for relief:

Use Breathing Techniques

There’s a lot you can do to lower your stress levels in general, and we’ll get to those in just a moment. When your stress levels are spiking in the moment though is when you need the most help, because this is when you are most likely to want to turn to drugs or alcohol for relief, using focused breathing techniques has been shown to help calm you down and bring your stressful thoughts back to a more grounded state. Find somewhere comfortable to sit if possible, and shut your eyes so you don’t have any visual distractions. Take long, deep breathes, focusing on filling your lungs to capacity with air and then slowly releasing it all out. Do this for as long as you need to. Meditation can also help.

Exercise

Even milder physical workouts have been shown to be almost instant stress relievers. Incorporating regular exercise into your weekly schedule will also help lower your stress levels over time as well as keep you occupied. This is especially important, as keeping busy with physical tasks (like working out) will leave you with fewer “empty moments” where you may otherwise feel urges to use substances.

running for how to stay sober

Get Outdoors

According to the American Institute of Stress, getting outside and into nature has also been shown to help reduce stress levels almost instantaneously. Try looking up local parks or nature walks ahead of time so you have a destination in mind the next time you’re starting to feel overly anxious or frazzled. Likewise, spending time outdoors on a regular basis will help lower your general stress levels in the long run.

Avoid Stressful Triggers

Does reading or watching the news get you all stressed out? Do you have an exhausting work schedule or a relationship that may be toxic? Some things that stress you out are easy to avoid, while others may take a firmer stance. Nevertheless, it’s important to take steps in reducing your exposure to these stressful triggers. If a relationship (either personal or professional) may be stressing you out constantly, talking about your issues can sometimes help. If it does not, then it may be time to end the relationship and move forward into less stressful situations.

Practice Gratitude

Sobriety is far from the only thing that will help keep your life in recovery stable. It’s all about attitude. Studies have shown that actively focusing on the people, experiences, and objects you are grateful for every day can help you find joy in the little things. With this, stress levels decrease and general contentment wins over. Focusing on things you are thankful for having in life is also a good practice for whenever you do start feeling anxious or stressed out. Some people even make a list of these things and carry it around with them for such occasions.

Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out

Reaching out to others and talking through the things that are stressing you out can also prove to be quickly relieving. This is one reason why many people in addiction recovery still attend regular support group meetings and keep in touch with their rehab program. Focusing on building a strong support network of family and friends will also give you people you can rely on as an outlet for life’s problems.

If you’re still trying to reach life in recovery, it’s important to know that you don’t have to face addiction alone. Our team of substance abuse professionals at Soba Texas is here to help you through detox and addiction treatment safely and avoid falling back into relapse. In our luxury treatment center, you can start building the healthy, productive life you deserve. Everyday life will still come with stress, but we can help you learn to cope effectively without turning back to drugs. Get in touch with us when you’re ready — change can start today!

A Letter From the Addict to the Addiction

For many, cutting ties with an addiction is similar to breaking up a long-term relationship. Going through detox and addiction treatment is effective, but it’s common to enter sobriety feeling like there are unresolved issues. After all, you’ve spent a significant amount of time entertaining your addiction with drug abuse, and you’ve likely let other relationships fall to the wayside as a result.

Like all unhealthy relationships, it’s time for you to end things with your addiction once and for all. It starts with you confronting your addiction head on. 

A Letter to Addiction

Ongoing counseling and participation in addiction recovery programs is recommended long after your initial treatment ends. However, you may also find it useful to express your feelings via a letter. Your own thoughts and feelings will be unique, but here is an example that you may find helpful:

Dear Addiction;

For a time, it felt like all I needed in the world was you. For much of our time together, I felt happy and free of other desires. My pain seemed to go away, and I didn’t worry about life. I even let my other relationships disintegrate because of how strongly I felt towards you. 

I now know that none of these feelings were genuine and that I was being manipulated throughout our time together. Whenever I felt like you were the key to getting through life, it was nothing more than a lie. For this and many more reasons, it is now time to bid you “goodbye” forever.

You see, I am so much more than just another person risking their life through drug abuse, and I will not be a statistic. As good as I felt when I was with you at times, I felt terrible during others. I missed out on important events and gave up things that once meant a lot to me. I hit some of the lowest points in my life, and I now realize that I am worth more. It is time for me to regain control. I will pursue new opportunities, achieve new goals and adopt a healthy lifestyle. And to do all of this, I need you out of my life. 

That said, I know I cannot blame you entirely for the way things have gone. Just as I am working to regain control in my life, I am also taking responsibility. I chose to start our relationship, and now I am choosing to end it. I know that saying “goodbye” to you for good will take hard work, but I am doing exactly that. 

I will also apologize to those whom I have hurt because of how you influenced me. The relationship between you and I may be at an end, but it is not too late for me to rebuild my relationships with my family members and friends. 

As challenging as this ending may be, I know it is the right thing to do. I look forward to new beginnings, and you and I will never cross paths again. Goodbye. 

Writing Your Own Letter

The letter above is just an example, and yours should be focused on your own experience and feelings. It’s okay to feel sad while writing your letter, but it’s also important to focus on the good things that are about to come. Writing your letter is already a major sign of progress. 

What you do with your completed letter is up to you. Many people choose to keep the letter in a safe place where they can revisit it occasionally for inspiration or to see how far they’ve come since writing it. Others choose to destroy their letters as a sign of being done with their addiction once and for all. 

If you write your letter as part of an addiction treatment group or in a counseling session, you may be able to share it with others. Doing so can help you relate to others suffering from drug abuse and help you realize you are not alone. Your letter can also serve as a source of inspiration for others. 

It’s Not Too Late to Get Help

Grappling with an addiction is not easy, but it is not something you have to keep living with. With the right treatment and addiction recovery plan, you can successfully achieve a life of sobriety. If you are in the San Antonio, TX area, and are looking for the right addiction treatment program, our team at Soba Texas is here for you. We offer comprehensive detox and inpatient treatment for drug abuse, and if you’re reading this, it is not too late to get the help you need. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services!