Posts Tagged ‘tips on handling stress in recovery’

bad dayToday isn’t going that great but at least I know that it could be worse, I could be drinking. I had to do something pretty scary this morning which involved facing an authority figure plus everyday ‘stuff’ has just been mounting up, I’ve got a constantly whirring mind, a knot in my stomach and I haven’t slept properly for weeks.

A few years ago, contemplating these things would have set me off on a colossal bender. Today things are a bit different, I have a program of recovery and tools that I use when I feel like I’m losing grip on reality.

It might take an hour or even a day of living inside my own head in complete terror before I pick up the tools – but I usually do. Of course I need a reminder sometimes of what those tools are, especially when I just can’t seem to get out of my own way.

If you are new in recovery and find yourself in a funk or are facing something that has got you jacked up, here’s a few things that were recommended to me:

  • Go to a recovery meeting and share about what is going on in your head – just being able to verbalize the ‘chatter’ in our minds can be a huge relief.
  • Talk to another newcomer at a meeting, the best way to get out of self is to help another alcoholic or addict, and helping sometimes can be as simple as listening.
  • Call your sponsor. (If you don’t have one, go to a meeting and share to the group that you need one).
  • Turn it over. Think about the problem/feeling/situation in your mind and mentally turn it over to your Higher Power. When I’m in a place where I’m looking for a specific outcome or I want someone to do what I want, I find it helps to let go of self-will by saying “Let your will be done not mine” or when I’m feeling particularly impatient, ‘In God’s time – not my time’.
  • Work the Step you are on. If you are working the 12 Steps, do some work or thought about the Step you are on at the moment. You could also write in a journal if you have one.
  • Go for a walk or get some exercise.
  • Get out of your head, watch a movie or go to the book store.
  • Keep your side of the street clean. Be honest. It’s easy to tell that white lie or mistruth so that we look good or we’ll get our own way, but the cornerstone of sobriety is the willingness to be honest in every area of our lives. It’s not easy, I was so used to being manipulative, selfish and dishonest that sometimes I’d catch myself lying without realizing I was even doing it and I’d have to stop and say ‘wait a minute, that’s bullshit, this is what is really going on’.
  • Progress not perfection. In early sobriety, sometimes progress meant actually getting out of bed instead of hiding from the world under the covers. Sometimes getting out of bed is all we can do, just don’t beat yourself up over it.
  • Gratitude for what we’ve got. In the grand scheme of things, everyone has problems, whether it’s money, relationships, health or job problems, it’s how we deal with them that matters. Being thankful for the things we have and not worrying about the things we don’t have or want. When I’m in self-pity, I write down 5 things I’m grateful for, even on the worst of days I can come up with that.

Just remember that no matter what, you don’t have to pick up a drink or drug today – we have alternatives. We have tools to deal with it, move on and get up tomorrow with a clear head, knowing we faced our demons and did the best we could and we did it clean and sober.

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