When you first enter recovery, you may feel like there is a hole in your life—something missing. After all, drugs and alcohol can feel all-consuming. When you turn away from them, it feels like you’ve lost something major. You’ll feel like you need to find a new way to occupy your time—and to deal with stress.
Certainly, alcohol can be seen as a source of stress relief, but stress doesn’t go away just because you enter rehab. A big part of the recovery process, then, is finding a suitable replacement for alcohol—another, altogether healthier way to cope with everyday anxieties.
Here are just a few methods you might employ:
- Get active! There’s no better way to burn through stress than to get up and get active. Enroll in a spin class. Take a morning jog. Play some pick-up basketball. Or simply start going for evening walks with your best friend, spouse, or neighbor.
- Talk it out. Sometimes the best medicine for stress is to just give voice to the things that are bothering you. Reach out to a friend for support, or else find a local support group. Make sure you keep going to therapy, too.
- Do something you love. Fight stress with pleasure. Drawing, singing, playing an instrument, reading a book, cooking—whatever your passion is, devote more time to it.
- Connect with nature. Go outside. Take a gratitude walk. Sit on a park bench and read. Do something to get some sunshine and fresh air.
- Make sure you get enough sleep at night. Investing in those eight hours will provide your body with the strength it needs to manage and mitigate stress.
There are plenty of ways to combat stress—without the need for addictive substances.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help. Accessed February 9, 2016.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD: National Center of PTSD. Accessed February 21, 2016,
- Smokefree.org, Coping With Stress Without Smoking. Accessed February 29, 2016.