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Coping Strategies in Recovery That Aren’t Drugs or Alcohol

Coping Strategies in Recovery That Aren’t Drugs or Alcohol

Whether you are having a bad day or a bad month, it is natural to feel down and out sometimes.

Everyone has struggles, but how you choose to get through it can have a big impact on both your physical and mental health.

What Are Coping Strategies?

Coping strategies are techniques that people use to deal with their problems. They can range from healthy to toxic and are often used to deal with poor mental health like stress and anxiety. There are several different types of coping strategies out there and some people may not even realize what strategies they are using.

The Connection Between Coping Strategies & Addiction

Poor mental health and addiction are often connected. Several people who become addicted to drugs or alcohol did so because they originally used the substances as a way to cope with their issues. While drugs and alcohol may temporarily numb the pain, this continued pattern of behavior can eventually lead to addiction. Without formal help like our dual diagnosis rehab program in Broward County, the person may be doomed to see both problems get worse.

Positive Coping Strategies in Recovery

In early recovery especially, you are bound to face quite a few addiction cravings that may even have you questioning your sobriety. Instead of letting these cravings get the best of you, try these coping strategies in recovery.

Taking a Time Out

Sometimes the best coping strategy in recovery is to step away from the situation. Especially if you are surrounded by people, places, or things that are addiction triggers for you, getting away can drastically reduce the severity of your cravings.


Especially if you have been through a mental health program, you understand that your negative thought patterns can be fuel for your addiction problems. Instead of indulging this negativity or turning to drugs or alcohol to numb them, take a moment to reflect. When you take time for self-reflection, you are able to analyze irrational thoughts, create more realistic expectations, and examine your emotions. All of these can help you cope with the thoughts behind your addiction cravings and move past them. Journaling can be especially helpful in the reflection process as it helps people manage anxiety, cope with depression, reduce stress, and process emotions.1


A lot of former addicts turned to drugs or alcohol in times of stress. When you start to feel stressed in recovery and feel those addiction cravings coming to the surface, focus on trying to relax. Taking a bath, sitting in candlelight, listening to soothing music, and meditating are all healthy coping strategies in recovery to decrease stress and help you relax.

Distract Yourself

Sometimes you just need to get your mind off of whatever is bothering you. In terms of addiction recovery, this often means distracting yourself from rising drug cravings. A good way to go about this may be turning on the T.V. or diving into a good book. Even indulging in a silly task like using a fidget spinner repetitively may be able to help.

Reaching Out to Others

Whether you were in residential treatment or an intensive outpatient program for addiction, you should have been taught the importance of having a good support system in recovery. Not only is it helpful to know that others are going through similar struggles, but reaching out to these people instead of turning drugs or alcohol is a good coping mechanism in recovery. A little bit of venting can do your mental health good; just be careful not to get too hung up on the negativity.


While exercise can have several benefits for both your physical and mental health, it can also act as a healthy coping strategy in recovery. Especially in early recovery, when drug triggers are common and you constantly feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster, exercise can help. It has been proven to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase energy.2

Practice Self Love

Low self-esteem and addiction are often connected,3 so it is important to make practicing self-love a new coping strategy in recovery when you are feeling down about yourself. Give yourself regular words of affirmation. Try to focus on the future and your progress instead of the past. If feeling worthless makes you want to drink or get high, then improving your self-worth through self-love practices can help lessen this craving.

At Banyan Treatment Centers Pompano, we provide everything from opioids to alcohol abuse treatment. If you or someone you love has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, do not wait to get help or both your physical and mental health could suffer.

To speak to an admissions specialist or to learn more about our programs, reach out to us today at 888-280-4763.


  1. University of Rochester Medical Center - Journaling for Mental Health
  2. NCBI - Exercise for Mental Health
  3. NCBI - The Role of Self-esteem in Tendency towards Drugs, Theft and Prostitution
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.