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Dealing With Abnormal Stress

Stress is a part of life, and to some degree, it is a healthy thing to experience in moderation.

Everyone goes through bad as well as good moments in life. Everyone has positive and negatives experiences, yet for those with an addiction, those negative moments are amplified.

More often than not, an individual gets into drugs and alcohol to escape those negative feelings and emotions. However, as that individual falls into the throes of addiction, avoiding negativity is nearly impossible.


The Stages of Change

Rock bottom is a popular catchphrase in the world of addiction, and while the theory of rock bottom looks good on paper, rock bottom doesn’t play out well in action.

Just because someone has hit rock bottom, doesn’t always mean they are ready for recovery. You see, there is a difference between contemplating sobriety and becoming sober.

Becoming sober requires you to deal with many physical and emotional problems first, and by nature, addiction hinders your desire to put in the effort.

To truly recover from addiction it is essential that you develop new coping mechanisms to support a sober lifestyle.

The first step in recovery is to understand what the Transtheoretical Model is. The Transtheoretical model is also known as the stages of change. Knowing which stage you are in when it comes to your sobriety and readiness to change is key.

There are six stages in the Transtheoretical model. Those stages are as follows:

  1. Precontemplation:

You are aware a problem exists and have considered the possibility of implementing change.

Typically when at this stage you do not intend to take action anytime soon, however, you are aware that your addiction is problematic and has negative consequences.

  1. Contemplation:

When you are here, you are ready to take action soon. In this stage, people tend to start weighing the pros and cons of continuing their addiction.

  1. Preparation:

When you are here, it means you are getting ready to change your behavior in the next month and start making a plan on how you intend to get sober.

  1. Action:

Taking action is arguably the hardest stage when it comes to addiction. Action is where you start to modify your behavior and replace unhealthy actions such as excessive alcohol or drug use with positive coping mechanisms.

  1. Maintenance:

This stage is where you have experienced some success and have sustained your sobriety for more than six months. During this stage, you intend to maintain your sobriety and actively work to prevent a relapse from occurring.

  1. Termination:

In this stage, you have no desire to return to your addiction and have determined that you will not relapse.

Coping with Stress

Stress can interfere with your ability to overcome an addiction. This interference is why it is essential to develop healthy life skills to support your sobriety early on in your recovery.

Dealing with stressors in a healthy, productive, and positive way is one way to ensure you will have long-lasting results. Some healthy coping mechanisms include but are not limited to:

  1. Attend Regular AA Meetings

  2. Meditation & Yoga

  3. Listening to Music, Podcasts or News

  4. Playing with Pets

  5. Deep Breathing

  6. Doing Something Crafty

  7. Phone a Friend

  8. Painting your Nails

  9. Taking a Hot Bubble Bath

  10. Journaling

  11. Taking a Power Nap

  12. Play a Game

  13. Check Out a Comedy Show

These coping mechanisms may seem insignificant or not nearly as great as indulging your addiction, however over time they can become automatic and just as satisfying.

Part of the solution is also to remain positive while in recovery.


The Danger of Negative Thinking

Negativity tends to cause people around you to suffer, and when you are locked in a negative mindset, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A self-fulfilling prophecy is when people change their behavior in light of their prediction. A self-fulfilling prophecy can lead to unconsciously creating conditions that allow the event to happen.

For instance, you might feel that something is so difficult that you worry excessively about doing that particular task. The worry alone makes the task much more difficult to complete and thus becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you have a positive attitude towards a task at hand, the task would be a lot easier to complete.

When negative thinking overtakes your life, it generates a lot of anger and resentment.

Negative thinking can cause you to be pessimistic about the future.

Feeling uncertain or negative about your future is exceptionally dangerous for those in recovery because it tends to increase the risk of relapse because it tends to prevent you from finding happiness in your sobriety.

It might be tricky to identify negative thinking patterns; however, once you identify them, you can take steps to change them for the better.

Here are three common negative thinking patterns and what you can do to combat them:

  1. Negative Rumination.

It is healthy to self-reflect, but when it’s excessive, repetitive, and negative, you can get mentally stuck in a rut.

In turn, this can cause more anxiety and problems than you need, so to combat negative rumination you will want to catch it before it starts to get negative or repetitive.

When you notice yourself ruminating, take a moment and pause to break the cycle. You may want to get up and do something else, involve yourself in a healthy activity like going for a walk, reading a book, or watching TV.

Taking your negative thinking and turning it to focus on problem-solving is a much healthier way of handling negative thoughts.

  1. Overthinking It.

Overthinking is when you cannot make up your mind regarding different options and outcomes you might have. You might obsess over making a perfect choice and focus on avoiding mistakes or risks.

The problem with overthinking is you cannot control the future. To combat overthinking you might want to limit the time you spend thinking about a particular decision.

Give yourself a deadline to make a decision. Also, don’t be so hard on yourself. Remember that you are human and if a mistake is made, it isn’t the end of the world.

  1. Cynical Hostility.

This attitude is characterized by having an angry mistrust of people. You perceive others as a threat. You believe they are just out to get you no matter what. You expect them to let you down, deceive you, or otherwise cause you harm.

To combat this, you might want to get some distance between your judgmental thoughts and the situation at hand. Learn to reserve your judgment and have evidence before you label people.

Notice how your behavior might be pushing others away and take time to ensure that you are giving people a positive vibe.


Positivity in Recovery

Finding happiness in recovery means staying positive in the face of negativity. Positivity is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself while in recovery.

It is easy to dwell on negativity, yet this will do nothing more than drag you down. It is important to remember that negative feelings don’t last forever.

It is always smartest to take a moment out when you’re feeling emotional and not make any irrational decisions. This is where it can be a benefit to sleep on whatever is going on.

You can increase positive thinking and improve your outlook by doing a few key things:

  1. Meditate:

Mindfulness meditation is a useful tool when it comes to staying positive in recovery. It encourages you to take time out to focus on what is important to you.

Practicing mindfulness meditation allows you to focus on the present instead of living in the past or worrying about the future.

  1. Take Responsibility:

Many people dealing with addiction feel as though they are the victim. Taking responsibility for your addiction gives you ownership over it.

By accepting your role in your addiction, you lay the foundation you need to conquer it. For most people suffering from addiction taking responsibility is more empowering than you would think.

  1. Surround Yourself with Other Positive People:

This tends to happen on its own when you are in recovery and attending AA meetings. A good support network will coach you through those bad days.

Having a solid support network is essential to long-term recovery. Hanging out with others who are sober and positive is likely to rub off on you too.

  1. Volunteer:

Giving back is a good way to add positivity to your life. Through volunteering, you can connect with other people and feel good about the work you do.

Getting involved in a positive cause is known to boost your self-confidence while simultaneously making a difference in someone else’s life.

  1. Take Pride in your Health:

Having proper nutrition, enough sleep, and an exercise regime has scientifically been proven to improve to improve your self-worth and boost your mood.

While drugs and alcohol wreak havoc on your body, exercise helps combat the damage caused.  Exercise doesn’t have to be boring either. There are many options. You can try hiking, yoga, swimming, playing sports and so forth.

  1. Indulge your Hobbies:

Having an interest is an excellent way to stay positive. If you don’t have one, make it your mission to find something you might be passionate about.

Creative outlets are therapeutic and fun. Find something that you can lose yourself in and completely enjoy to the fullest.

  1. Practice Optimism:

One of the best ways to stay positive is to take note of your negative thought and actively work to move them in a positive direction. Having positive mantras that you repeat to yourself is an excellent way to stay motivated and focused.

  1. Have Goals:

Setting goals for yourself are an excellent way to motivate and challenge yourself to be better. When you set a goal, make sure it is something you are interested in achieving.

Working towards goals is proven to improve people’s moods and allow you an opportunity to focus on something other than your addiction.

  1. Express Yourself:

Talking things out versus bottling your feelings up helps your process your emotions.

Processing emotions in a healthy way, such as talking out your feelings, give you the tools you need to handle difficult situations and problem solve.

Next time you are feeling overwhelmed or defeated, try talking about it with someone you trust.

  1. Remember the Good:

There are going to be times when things seem like they could be going better. It is important when you are having a hard day to remind yourself of what you are thankful for or what you believe will bring you joy.

Remembering the good helps to put things in perspective.

  1. Stay Reminded:

Keeping a joy journal or gratitude journal where you write down 2-5 things you are grateful for that day will help you remember the good in everyday life.

Realizing that even bad days have good moments helps you recognize your self-worth and leads you to a happier and healthier life.

  1. Get Involved:

Having hobbies, interests, and participating in exercise are all good ways to avoid negativity and depression in your life. This allows you to stay focused on your goals and future instead of your past.


It’s Not All in Your Mind: The Power of Staying Positive

Positivity is the most powerful tool in recovery.

Positivity creates a ripple effect. For instance, positive thinking leads to improved well-being.

Even though positivity cannot fix your problems, it can help make you feel better about them. Positivity is a powerful tool that helps you live life to its fullest.

When in recovery from alcohol or drugs you are going to experience a lot of intense emotions. Some of those emotions are going to be negative or hard to handle, and others will be joyful.

Positivity has its perks. There are plenty of benefits to positivity, including but not limited to:

  1. Boosting your immune system

  2. Reduces stress levels

  3. Reduces inflammation in the body

  4. Gives you more energy

  5. Helps you achieve your goals

  6. Helps you handle stress better

  7. Helps you develop healthy relationships with people

  8. Leads to a healthier and longer life

Phrases like, “always look on the bright side of life,” “every cloud has a silver lining,” and “stay positive,” might be clichés and make you roll your eyes, but there is something to be said for positive thinking.

These statements do much more than illustrating a sense of optimism; they highlight the importance of incorporating positivity into your daily life.

Over the years addiction research has shown that there is hope, even though addiction and alcoholism are chronic illnesses, it is possible to recover and live your life again.

The way you choose to look at things in your life impacts the way in which you experience the world. Having a negative outlook on life will negatively impact your recovery from addiction.

On the other hand, having a positive outlook on life will help positively impact your recovery from addiction.

Getting Help

If you are dealing with a lot of stress while dealing with addiction problems, you can get in touch with the Hotline at our Recovery Center and discuss the problem and possible solutions.

The staff at Chateau Recovery is always available to help you with your questions regarding addiction recovery and treatment.  Call anytime.

Chateau Recovery Center 375 Rainbow Lane
Midway, UT 84049, USA
If you or someone you love has questions concerning the rehabilitation process, call our free helpline Phone: +1 888-971-2986 for more information. Calls are always confidential, private, and secure.

Here is a delightful video that is not only entertaining but also a very strong training for finding ways to reduce stress. Well worth the short time to watch!

How to make stress your friend | Kelly McGonigal

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case.

Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

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