Recovery from addiction is a complex ordeal. It is important to prepare for stress and difficulty throughout the recovery process by planning for seasonal changes, developing an effective plan to rejoin the workforce, or creating personal self-care routines. However, it can be impossible to plan for every possible event that could occur.
After someone has graduated from a recovery program and is navigating the “real world” while employing their own strategies, it is important to prepare for the unexpected. This does not mean that an individual needs to anticipate every possible situation. Rather, it is important to establish a set of skills and strategies that can be used if and when unforeseen circumstances or stressors arise.
Expect the Unexpected
One’s time navigating detox, residential, or sober living facilities in the recovery sphere is an important and transformative experience. However, it is important to acknowledge that it is also a tightly curated recovery environment, and one’s time outside of this sphere can be filled with any number of unforeseen stressors.
An individual may find that many everyday things can become triggers. Things such as a song on the radio or running into an old friend can all cause a great emotional reaction, especially when one is not prepared for it. Acknowledging these possibilities means that an individual needs to accept that there will be unexpected hurdles throughout one’s recovery journey. Their story does not end once they leave the doors of a dedicated recovery facility.
However, it is also important to set realistic expectations for oneself. The “real world” can feel overwhelming for one’s new sober identity, and devising a plan for every single stressful situation conceivable is an exercise in futility. Some stressors may only surface after one has reintroduced themselves back into the “real world.”
This is where complicated social dynamics and relationships may be more prevalent than when one was moving through detox or residential care. Rather than planning for every possible scenario, embracing the idea that there will be unexpected stressors can prompt the development of core coping strategies to navigate these complicated events.
Acknowledge and Accept Your Feelings
Moving through stressors in the moment can be a difficult task, especially if they seem to take a person by surprise. However, it is important to acknowledge one’s feelings throughout these stressors. Doing so is crucial for navigating any kind of stress–even stress that is unexpected or more difficult to cope with than one anticipated.
Being cognizant of anxiousness, depression, or an urge or craving is a powerful testament to mindfulness. This is a practice that can allow an individual to begin exercising agency over the situation. Rather than acting on harmful impulses, being aware of one’s feelings can help a person use their higher decision-making skills to take the safest course of action.
Take Stock of Resources
Being aware of one’s emotional state can allow each individual to select the best coping strategy for the situation. For some, this can be using grounding techniques to maintain agency over their actions. Others may identify that unexpected stress is difficult to cope with and need to employ an escape plan to remove them from the source of stress.
Keeping tabs on the resources available, such as supports who a person can call or engaging in self-care or coping practices, can all help an individual maintain control over their responses to unexpected stress.
Maintain Your Daily Routines
Stress can cause an individual to compromise their practiced routines, making it difficult to tend to responsibilities or engage in self-care routines. However, regardless of the stress one may experience, it is important to maintain these personal emotional, mental, and physical routines.
Using an alarm or pre-established schedule can help a person continue to engage in essential self-care practices regardless of the other stresses of the day. Making time to detach from daily responsibilities and focus wholly on oneself is a core component to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Journal the Experience
Journaling can be a powerful outlet on its own, but it can also be a crucial tool when learning to navigate unforeseen stresses. Even if one crosses an unexpectedly stressful event throughout their day, recording it in one’s journal, phone, or other medium creates a written record of the event surrounding the stress.
This can allow a person to better understand their stressors and the effects they can have, bolstering one’s understanding and preparedness for similar occurrences in the future. Recording what strategies worked, how one felt, and what their concerns were at the time can all help a person adapt their regular coping strategies. They can also begin tackling each situation that comes along in a unique and effective manner.
Unexpected stress can be difficult to deal with, especially if this stress is surrounded by new experiences or coupled with unforeseen elements. At Everlast Recovery Centers, we are prepared to help you better understand your own strengths in recovery and are ready to work with you to create a personalized plan for coping with these difficult, unexpected stresses. Our detox and residential care facilities are equipped to help you not just address addiction, but also begin to understand your own path to recovery. Your time with us is individualized based on your needs, and we are prepared to help you through individual and group therapy, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), education, family programs, and even programs for smoking cessation, in an effort to create a holistic approach to your healthier future. For more information on our programs and how we can help you or someone you care about, call us today at (866) 388-6925.