Monthly Archives: November 2016

coping skills in recovery from addiction

Underestimated Coping Skills in Sobriety

In this giant rat race, we are constantly breaking our backs for currency or financial interest. However, all the gold and silver on this planet couldn’t teach you how to be a better person. Patience is of so much value in this world that constantly tests us just for kicks. Things never go the exact way we have them panned out in our mind, but how could they? Life is the one calling the shots- not us. Let’s be honest here. We all have our patience and sobriety tested from time to time. It has happened before and will happen again whether invited or not.

However, the most crucial part of the test is how we end up reacting to it. It’s important to learn various coping skills in sobriety so as to avoid letting that fuse burn out and causing somebody to go postal like Michael Douglas in Falling Down. Being prepared and having just a couple of the tools available on your belt will help push alcoholic thinking back.  

Sometimes we can withstand the largest pains and hardly flinch at the damage done. Then other times it’s the simplest thing that throws us over the edge of acceptance and back into the pits of addiction. Harboring specific coping skills in sobriety is the key difference between recovery and white knuckling abstinence for some. With endless possibilities, some of those coping skills in sobriety range from:


Express Yourself

Some of the best free therapy one can find is a pen and some notebook paper. It may be hard for some to get into, but scribbling down thoughts onto paper is an extremely beneficial thing for those of us who have wandered over to the sobriety side of the road. Really, it’s a good hobby for anybody to pick up because it gives us an opportunity to reflect our thoughts, emotions, and expressions of any sort.

For many, there are things we want to say and are just not able to articulate them correctly or even process them as a dialect. It’s often found that writing out the things circling our minds is the most productive way to communicate with ourselves even. Now, this doesn’t mean we have to stop conversing with ourselves- I talk to myself on a regular basis.  However, this side of things can give a different approach as you view the things visually that you’ve been romanticizing or going over and over in your head.

woman journaling

Drawing a Line

Then there’s the aspect of taking that pen and paper and turning some of these thought out words into doodles. For many people in recovery, particularly myself, art is a hobby or something to pick up that can ease frustration and relax a person. In a sense, it is like a form of meditation for many as they lose themselves in the art process and use it as a coping skill in sobriety. The great aspect about art is that it is a form of expression that releases the creative right sided part of our brains and doesn’t have to just stop with a pen and paper. Throw some colors and other random objects in there and you have a recipe for serene entertainment. Alas, not all people can get their rocks off with a little bit of self-reflection expression- it just doesn’t do it for them. Some need a more introspective approach for practicing coping skills in sobriety.

Coping with Others to Cope with Self

Just the act of becoming sober allows us to see things in a brighter, clearer perspective. Once we have started to look at things this more optimistic manner, then we start trying to pay it forward- or at least that’s the idea. Everybody needs a little bit of help here and there- just as we did in our recoveries. After all, the coping skills in sobriety that saved us didn’t all appear in a dream.

A wise man once said that life is like a table filled with all sorts of different drinking glasses. Our job on this planet is to keep those glasses of water full so that others can be happy. Yet at the same time, we have to keep our pitcher full to do so. Therein lays a wonderful ingredient to the masterful recipe of life. In my own experience, I know I feel warmest and most content when making somebody else happy. This is a very much underestimated coping skill in sobriety that can bring out a little sunshine in the cloudiest of days. The good makes you forget about the bad, a simpleton rhetoric that stays true to the end.

It Feels Good to Feel Good

One favorable method used often to cope with the world’s teeth gritting tribulations is exercise. I’m sure most who are reading this have heard of a “runner’s high”. This is not a figment or some extravagant myth. After you get your heart rate up and running for a little bit of time, this is when the endorphins will begin to release. This is the point where we start obtaining that feeling like when we used to get while getting high. It’s a rush in its own sense, but much healthier of a rush that is the body’s natural production of endorphins providing such. Exercise has always been a huge stress reliever and a way to let loose from the reigns of life for a little bit. Go ahead, pick the right tunes and try to give it a shot. Most would be surprised at how much weight these things will take off your shoulders if you can master just a few of these coping skills in sobriety.  

Struggling to Cope with Life Itself?

No more white knuckling it. No more grinding your teeth. No more clenching your fist. There are healthy ways cope with life out there if we take the time to recognize them. Getting high or drunk off a handful of chemicals never solves any of our problems in the end. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 888-481-1993 or visit Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.

how to avoid drug cravings

Top 10 Ways to Overcome Drug Cravings

Imagine yourself walking down the sidewalk. Maybe you’re texting on your smart phone or maybe you’re smoking a cigarette and just casually whistling a tune. Maybe you just broke up with your girlfriend and are walking as quickly as you can back to your car because the thought of her makes you want to burst into tears, but you decided to wear flip flops that day and are now tripping all up and down the sidewalk as you race to your vehicle. Either way, at some point or another it will likely hit you. It will catch you off guard and you will need to have some tools in place to distract yourself from trouble brewing. I’m referring of course to getting clean and sober and having the drug cravings come knocking on your door. For those of us that threw away the life of misery that active addiction was, we prefer sticking with the greener grass nine times out of ten. Nobody in their right mind wants to endure the suffering that addiction and alcoholism bring when we are not keeping a relationship with ourselves or a higher power. The inside of our thick skulls quickly become chaos and so the idea is to do everything in our power to prevent returning to that place of despair.

Don’t Give Up the Fight

Upon getting clean and sober, the idea is to return our sanity and have the weight of addiction or alcoholism lifted. Mind you, that it is never cured, the irrational mindset can creep in, but more so the obsession is vanquished. Even somebody with ten plus years clean will still reminisce of various substances from their past life, but the difference being is they can rationally separate it into good and bad ideas. That rational mindset can think about it and leave it and be all the same. For a lot of people in recovery, drug cravings happen regularly. It can be an old song we used to use to, a specific smell, a familiar place or sense of déjà vu, or even just a bad day. In the end, it doesn’t matter what it is because as addicts and alcoholics, we usually take any excuse we can get to numb away from reality. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to combat this longing for something we really don’t want. One way is to have a cigarette. Now I’m not condoning cigarette smoking, for that is at the reader’s discretion. However, studies do show that those who have quit smoking end up going for a cigarette first when they’ve had a bad day and start turning to that alcoholic thinking. The cigarette is the first vice to relieve that stress and release those endorphins that we are so prone to wanting. If the shoe fits then wear it, if not- then throw it away.

Moving onto the next is the idea of just walking away. It’s that simple. Wherever you are or whatever it is that is providing this drug addled discomfort, remove yourself from the situation. Use the power or choice to leave the discomfort behind. This also brings us to the next tool which is one that is similar and regularly practiced in the world of Anonymous programs anyway. Meditation is a form of removing yourself from a situation but not in the physical sense. Using the power of meditation can bring about an acceptance and serenity in you that will help to push the chemical hunger back to rest. Give this method a good chance, for it is one that has saved myself numerous times. Another tidbit and wonderful thing about taking yourself somewhere else mentally is that you can do it anywhere in the world. Practice and you will see progress. Another key idea behind meditation is that it relaxes you. Sometimes soothing the body physically and mentally in a bathtub or shower will work. Some people like to lie in the sun and let the natural sun rays cook away the drug hankerings. Whatever your pleasure, relax the mind and body and the thoughts will follow.

stressed man thinking

The next method is maybe taking a look at the specific drug craving and trying to play it out without justifying- which we all do so well. Think about what it is that getting high or drunk would do. What would happen? The ramifications are usually pretty dramatic, not always at first, but if you believe yourself to be a pure drug addict/alcoholic- you know how that story will turn out. Play the tape over and over and the ending never changes. Think about it because this correlates with the next solution which is remembering thoroughly of the pain and torment that our addiction brings us when we are active. We start thinking of all the great moments we had and are quick to forget about the countless immeasurable misery that was laid upon our own doings. We mustn’t forget where we were at the beginning of our journey into recovery. Another method to go hand and hand with these two is to talk to somebody about your thoughts. You just played the tape out, remembered the awful times, and so now it’s for somebody else to confirm your insanity and remind you why you are where you are.

These last couple processes kind of link up together as well. One of my all time favorite techniques to rid the pesky drug cravings is exercise. Any form of it will release endorphins in the right way, get the blood pumping, and quickly take your head space elsewhere. Exercise in itself is of course, good for the mind and body. Being of healthy mind and body can help to prevent fewer cravings down the road. Then there’s the opposite which is eating food. Some like to indulge in certain foods that help relax them. Often times it is seen being chocolate which studies show releases the same endorphins as certain substances. Whatever your choice of method is, remember that it’s just for today. Everything is only temporary and the yearning for drugs will disappear.

Larger Concerns beside Cravings

Sometimes when we’re deep in the thick of addiction and alcoholism, we get attached to the chaos and drama that unfolds everywhere. We start getting to a point of pitying ourselves and thinking we deserve to be a slave to the drugs and alcohol. Nobody deserves to be slaved underneath chemical dependency. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-866-802-6848 or visit We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.

anonymous programs for addiction

Anonymous Programs for Everyone

Human beings. We are the creatures that evolved, mutated, and/or were born and have more or less ruled over the planet since the dawn of man and woman. Since that estimated time of roughly 200,000 years ago, never have there been two individuals from the past or currently living that have shared the same exact DNA structure. There have been billions upon billions of individuals to roam the earth and share so many similarities physically and mentally that it’s uncanny, but never exactly the same. We all live our one life that we know of and endure the laughter and tears. We get through all the trials and tribulations only to discover that we’re not the only ones and that we all have issues to overcome more or less. Everybody on this planet is dealing with their problems and set of woes. All single persons on this planet have an internal dialogue they battle with. Some people have the angel on one side of their carry and the devil on the other side. Others, like myself, tend to just have that devil pacing from shoulder to shoulder. Despite whether you’re a good person who’s done some bad things or a bad person who’s done some good things, the main question remaining is how do you deal with the voices inside?

Same Differences and Different Similarities

Well it shouldn’t come to a surprise to many that there is an existing program out there called Alcoholics Anonymous that has helped countless thousands and thousands of people struggling with alcoholic thinking. Notice that alcoholism wasn’t mentioned specifically right there. Yes A.A. is typically for alcoholics, but it’s alcoholics and addicts that suffer from a specific type of thinking. So for alcoholic thinking that’s obsessing over alcohol specifically, there is A.A. For the other people who take this addictive mindset of alcoholic thinking and apply it to other “feel goods,” well there are other anonymous programs to help deal with the problems we have gravitated toward.

There is an anonymous program for almost anything that one can think of. It’s unfortunate that there can be so many different types of addictions. Yet in a relative aspect, it’s also fantastic how many of them there are. For one, it’s always comforting to know that you are not alone in this world. To sleep at night knowing the fact that there are others like yourself, and they’re dealing with the same problems we are, with slight variations from person to person. In a cynical standpoint, it’s essentially the very idea of “misery loves company.” No, it is not misery to have an addiction- provided that you are battling it and being proactive at the end of the day. Any form of addiction will wear your soul down to the ground. It doesn’t matter whether you binge drink way too much or you have an obsession with putting the lotion on your skin. These things will weigh tremendously on your shoulders once they become who you are. See, and that’s the thing right there. Alcoholic thinking will steal your soul more or less and trade your morals and values into devilish ways. In today’s day of age, there are different forms of addiction everywhere you turn.

anonymous programs

Everybody just wants to feel good- I mean what’s not to understand about that? So in turn, we all have different things that give us pleasure. Some will turn to sex where as others turn to gambling. There are people who are workaholics and need Workaholics Anonymous or have an obsession with thievery and need Kleptomaniacs and Shoplifters Anonymous. Then some individuals get addicted to playing video games and it is their drug. You see, the thing is that a drug is anything that gives us that feeling we’re chasing. Just anything that produces that high and can change reality or mask it. A buddy of mine once told me that after getting clean from drugs and alcohol, the closest thing he felt to being high was eating tons of carbohydrates. This was a little shocking to me because I didn’t understand at the time how he was replacing his drug addiction with eating. Eating is just one of the other ways we can transfer our alcoholic thinking into more destructive ways. For my buddy, his was eating more food and carbs to make himself feel better. The comforting feeling he got from his food was that of a drug or alcohol addiction. For a form of alcoholic thinking like such, there are anonymous programs such as Overeaters Anonymous or Food Addicts Anonymous. These are real things that people rely on to help balance they’re living patterns into that of something healthy rather than obsessive. Or then there’s the opposite spectrum with food which I categorize under. Some take that addictive mindset and fixate on practically starving themselves through various forms of body dysmorphia such as anorexia or bulimia. On this end of the gamut, we have meetings such Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous or Eating Disorders Anonymous.

Now, these anonymous programs are just like that of Alcoholics Anonymous format but with few alterations- if any. They follow the guidelines of a basic 12 step program and go on to help bring sanity back to addicts and alcoholics of all sorts across the globe. That’s the ugly beauty behind it all. Whatever your addiction is, there is somebody else that has or is currently going through the same struggles. The power of fellowship and synergy is one of the greatest things we can do to battle those demons. Whether it is this, that, or the other, alcoholism runs rampant in many forms. If you’re struggling, chances are there is an anonymous program out there for you.

Synonymous Anonymous’

There are many different types of programs out there to make you feel right at home. Unfortunately, some addictions require a little medical assistance before action can be taken. If you or a loved one has been struggling to make the next step, call 1-866-802-6848 or visit We have trained specialists on standby ready to help you start detoxing as comfortably as possible and send your life in a direction you can proudly stand behind.

do addicts think irrationally

The Irrational Mind of an Addict

If you were to walk up to somebody random on the sidewalk and mention to them that you like to pound down alcohol to the point of oblivion and black out, I’m certain they would look at you as if you were nuts. The thing with the chemically dependent is that addicts and alcoholics don’t think in the same manner or style as that of a “normal person.” No, that doesn’t make them “special” or mean they have to be treated any differently because of a specific ailment. What it does mean is that most people don’t see eye to eye with an addict or alcoholic and what makes them partake in the behaviors they regularly exhibit. The mind of an addict is that of a strong one but also fragile in different ways than that of a normie.

Think about the actions of we, the addicted, and it doesn’t come to much surprise that we often look kind of demented. From an outside perspective, my father would see me living in misery. This perfectly healthy child of his- using drugs and alcohol to the point where they were destroying every aspect of life, but yet I continuously chose said path and made no effort to climb out of the hole I’d dug. Even as the various narcotics pulled this mind of an addict in the direction of being 6 feet under, repeatedly allowed me to hurt loved ones, and constantly left me in a state of despair, these were all irrational reasons to stop using illicit substances. Death wasn’t even a good enough option to change the addictive mindset.

Why Are We Irrational?

Why is our mindset different from other people’s? You may be asking yourself, “Why would dying be worth it just to take another hit?” Addicts themselves sometimes do not understand why. It just is for them. However, there is a verifiable and scientific reason to explain the irrational mind of an addict. It has to do with a two things: the brain and disease.

Addiction is a disease. You may not know this, but diseases can actually be caused by our actions. We are hardwired to find new things to bring us pleasure. Thus, when we experience something that brings the brain pleasure, we want more of that thing. It is simple natural selection. Good things usually make us live longer, thus to live longer we intake things that feel good. However, the way drugs and alcohol work is that they make us feel good but are not necessarily good for us. The brain does not understand that. To it, substances are just something else that makes us feel good. Thus, even if we know binge drinking until we throw up or pass out will make us feel terrible, we cannot control ourselves because our brain thinks more equals good.

There is another reason. The brain is changed after building up a dependency to the substances. The motivation, reward, and memory centers of the brain literally change. For this reason, we may not feel normal unless we have that substance. It is almost like the substance makes our minds incomplete without it. Think of it as brain control. For this reason, people should not always write off addicts as simply choosing the hole they fell into. Not all of these “decisions” are black and white choices. There are lots of variables, controllable and uncontrollable, that go into it.

Not Completely Cuckoo

At some point or another, we all take a step back and analyze our motives in some form or another. Sitting back and reflecting on some of our more questionable decisions made or acting on something we have committed to internally, we tell ourselves that whatever the poison chosen- our actions decided upon are okay to follow through with. We- and when I say we, yes I do mean you and I. WE are all human beings that make ghastly mistakes on a regular basis. We deal with the aftermath of a situation accordingly but most of our questionable choices are downsized in our heads. C’mon, we are all guilty in a position at some point where we minimalize our dealings from time to time.  What matters though is being self-aware and being able to recognize why it is we do the things that we do. One of the biggest things in this life that is a gift and a curse is the power of choice. Everything we do is a product of some form of resolution, minus involuntary actions like breathing. So when internal conflict arises inside, we pick a side. Yet so many outside social factors affect our direction we head in. It is generally safe to say that most people do not like negativity. Most struggle to admit when they are wrong and don’t like to accept responsibility with downbeat connotations attached. People often get most offended about the things they believe they know best.

how is your mindset

The reality of it is that, in a very cynical perspective, mistakes are required and were not meant to know everything. Life is but a collection of mistakes and learning and budding from them hopefully.  In the meantime, we continually do things we are not always proud of and have to second guess from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up, though; it’s all necessary in some form or another for mental growth. However, trying to find a balance is the key to such stages of wisdom. When your different sided beliefs clash, it can be uncomfortable. Therefore, our minds tell us to side one way or another to relieve this. Playing mind games and convincing ourselves of a particular reality that is often exaggerated, distorted, or ignored. We want to believe what we want to believe but must keep in mind that OUR voice is not THE voice. Often times, the mind of an addict allows the irrational thought process to step in and convince our memory that things were different. Human beings are tricky beings and will sometimes allow emotional thought processes to dictate the way we think something happened. This is especially true for addicts and alcoholics that lived in a state of numbness for years. When we were hibernating in that state of zombified ecstasy, we were numbing away and shutting down all of the emotions our bodies were trying to experience.  Whether we like it or not, we are adaptive creatures that rule with these emotions. Emotion is tricky because not only does it rule over our gray matter in the attic, but emotion is a thought process that can be felt physically. It is important when boiling down to big decisions that we keep our personal belief system and emotions separate to the best of our ability.  All it takes is one good mood swing and all our certainties and principles go right down the drain. Hold onto those morals, and if that’s too tough- find somebody to help hold you accountable.

In the end, when it comes to the irrational mind of an addict, it’s of sound advice to get to know yourself. Logic and rational thought processes tend to go together sometimes. The thing is that not everybody follows the same logic and if we spend all of our time trying to act in accordance with somebody else’s logic, then that in itself is irrational. The trick for we, the chemically inflicted, is to remain open to others and self. It is through the power of learning that any of us really decipher which of our actions are justifiable or not.  

Getting help is so important for the addicted. But how? We need our loved ones to give us the logic that we just do not have. Since we tend to be irrational, and addiction changes the brain so that is does not function normally, we have to accept that our thinking is not always rational. For this reason, our loved ones should come around us and set us straight. Or if you know someone who is addicted, the most loving thing you can do is to plan an intervention to get them the treatment they need. An intervention can be one of the most important weapons in our arsenal against addiction. If done right, it can have great results, but if done wrong, it could do just the opposite.

Along with this, consider seeking family therapy. This will help build understanding of addiction within the family as a whole. It will also help keep us, the addict, honest and accountable. It will help to facilitate honest and open dialogue. Although it may seem awkward or even unnecessary, it is important since addiction is a chronic disease, meaning it can always come back. Having a team that joins around you in therapy can help keep you on track, and treating the whole family is an important part of that process (since we know addiction affects everyone around us as well).

Help = Rational Thought Process

You may be thinking to yourself that it’s not worth the effort, but don’t be fooled. Making it through the detoxification process is one of the most rational things you can do. All the drugs will end up bringing is certified misery and torture to your mind, body, and soul. If you or a loved one has been struggling to make the next step, call 1-866-802-6848 or visit We have trained specialists on standby ready to help you start detoxing as comfortably as possible and send your life in a direction you can proudly stand behind.