Addiction Treatment

Dealing with Stress in Early Recovery

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Last updated: 05/1/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When you’re in early recovery, you want to eliminate as much stress as possible. But the fact is, no matter what you do, there’s always going to have to be stress to deal with. That’s why when you’re in recovery, you want to be as prepared as possible to handle stress in appropriate ways so it doesn’t jeopardize your sobriety.

Here are some ways to keep your stress in check during early recovery.

Talk It Out

Talking about your stresses helps keep things in perspective by not allowing you to become overwhelmed and keeping yourself realistic about expectations. That’s one of the reasons out patient therapy is so important once you return from inpatient drug and alcohol treatment. It gives you the opportunity to talk about your feelings, what’s going on in your life, and the things that are stressing you out.

If you’re not in any level of treatment, utilize 12 step meetings to find others to talk to about the problems and stresses you’re facing in early recovery.

Exercise

Early Recovery

Exercise reduces stress and improves sleep quality.

An often overlooked aspect of early recovery, working out and exercising is a great way to relieve stress and keep focused on staying healthy. Cardiovascular exercise has shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. And being active and working out does more than help you reduce stress, it also improves the quality of sleep you get, keeping you calm and rested.

Meditate

Even if the idea of sitting cross-legged and humming “om” makes you giggle, meditation is a valuable tool to use for stress reduction. Mindfulness is becoming more popular in addiction and recovery, as it helps you let go of cravings, become more focused on your goals, and less likely to relapse. Don’t limit yourself to traditional meditation, as certain deep breathing exercises and yoga can prove just as effective.

Volunteer

When you’re overwhelmed with your own life, sometimes the best thing to do is give back to others. Volunteering your time and energy to those less fortunate helps you forget about your own struggles, and at the end of the day, it allows you to put things into perspective and take a more positive outlook on your own life. It also creates more gratitude and contentment, as well as feelings of worthiness.

Simplify

If you want to reduce stress, one of the easiest ways is to eliminate it through simplifying your life. Let go of the things you don’t need, from your extra clothing to junk sitting around to collections you no longer want. If there are people in your life holding you back, eliminate them. If stress is still bountiful, start limiting your obligations. It’s completely okay to tell people no, and in early recovery, it’s a word you should use often.

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