17th February 2018
Making the decision go into recovery also means tossing aside the old coping mechanisms. This also means creating a new, healthier set of tools to help you navigate this new journey. We call this set of tools an Addiction Recovery Tool Box and here is everything you need to know on how to build one.
In addiction, we use drugs or alcohol to cope with emotions, disappointments, setbacks, stress and frustration. When things went wrong, we abused chemicals to numb our feelings so life wouldn’t feel unmanageable. Unfortunately (and paradoxically), extreme unmanageability ultimately resulted from our drug and alcohol use. We initially sought mood and mind-altering chemicals as a solution and they ended up becoming a major problem.
The realization of how to cope with life without the use of drugs or alcohol may be uncomfortable, but it the first step towards healing. Because early recovery is so difficult, it requires certain tools necessary to manage your life. In order to experience an enhanced level of inner peace, self-confidence, and manageability; we recommend putting together a recovery toolbox.
What Is A Recovery Toolbox?
In recovery, it’s important to learn the tools necessary to live and enjoy life without the use of drugs or alcohol. To get these tools, you must take action and make yourself a recovery toolbox.
Of course, we aren’t talking about some rusty old box filled with screwdrivers, hammers, and wrenches. A recovery toolbox is constructed by putting forth the effort to learn new, healthy, empowering coping skills. When you learn these new skills, they go in your recovery toolbox so you can access them later when you need them.
How To Fill Up Your Recovery Toolbox
For quite some time, you became accustomed to turning to drugs or alcohol as your only solution to cope with life. When it comes down to it, you simply need to learn new tools that will benefit you instead of harm you. Here are eight things you can do to start filling up your recovery toolbox:
1. Go to 12-Step meetings. If you have been in recovery for any length of time, you are probably attending 12-Step meetings. If so, bravo! You already have something in your recovery toolbox that you can use. If you haven’t been attending 12-Step meetings, give them a chance. Meeting with other recovering people is not only a very effective tool in staying away from drugs or alcohol, it helps you learn to cope with life by sharing your struggles with others.
2. Get a sponsor. Turning to a sponsor in times of trouble is an awesome tool to put in your recovery toolbox. A sponsor is someone who has already learned how to cope with life without the use of drugs or alcohol by working the 12-Steps. Sponsorship teaches you about trust, friendship, intimacy, and healthy relationships.
3. Carry a “recovery toolbox” in your bag. Grab any satchel, makeup bag (even a ziplock!) and fill it up with items that will help calm you in times of stress, cravings or anxiety. We recommend essential oils (such as Lavender), tea bags, positive quotes or mantras. Anything you can fill this bag with that will bring you back to your center.
4. Journal. Journaling is a great way to express your innermost thoughts and feelings without worrying about how you will be perceived by others. It is an outlet that allows you to release your emotional stressors and get in touch with yourself. Get a really nice journal and start using it. This is the perfect addition to your recovery toolbox.
5. Exercise. You don’t have to run out and join an expensive gym or buy new workout clothes. Just get your body moving. Go for a 30-minute walk or jog around the block a couple times a week. You don’t need to become obsessed with exercising or put pressure on yourself to become a bodybuilder. Take it easy and exercise because you know it is a great release. It gets your endorphins pumping and makes you feel better. You should definitely have some exercise in your recovery toolbox.
6. Consider going to therapy. Talking to a qualified mental health professional can greatly increase your quality of life. By sharing your journey with a therapist or psychologist, you will add untold value to your recovery. Therapy will teach you new coping skills.
7. Join a group with people who share similar interests. Whether it is a book club, hiking group, craft circle, or hobby meetups, getting together with people who share your interests is a great way to make social connections. Making new friends and engaging in something that interests you will propel your recovery into the next dimension.
8. Learn how to meditate. Meditation is a must-have for your recovery toolbox. You may initially feel intimidated by the thought of meditating, but it is really nothing more than sitting in silence with yourself and breathing. Meditation quiets the mind and centers you. It is a great way to cope with the stresses of life and it brings balance to your universe.
Find Your Own Tools To Add To Your Recovery Toolbox
We’ve given you eight tools for your recovery toolbox to help you along your recovery journey. This should get you off to a good start. As time goes on, you will find out what works for you and you can add to your toolbox as you go. You might find that spending time with your pet belongs in your recovery toolbox. You may discover that gardening is a great coping skill for you to rely on. Church or spiritual gatherings may also help you.
Remember, recovery is a process. So is filling up your toolbox. Enjoy the process!