Stress Awareness in Recovery

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Shlomo Hoffman
Apr 16, 2021

Stress is something everyone understands. It crops up in all stages of life, every type of occupation and in every family dynamic. If you are in recovery it can be exacerbated by worrying about staying the course and avoiding temptations.

You may be surprised to know that experiencing stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It means that there are stuff and people in your life that you genuinely care about. You are living for something and you really want it to work out. You want your loved ones to be happy, you want your bosses to be satisfied, and sometimes, you even want your favorite sports team to finally get over the hump.

You are alive!

With that out of the way, lets focus on managing that stress. Sometimes you can get so overwhelmed by what needs to get done and what needs to be gotten right that the stress can paralyze you. That’s the bad kind of stress. It breeds on the dark places, the uncertainty and eats away at your confidence.

Know what’s bothering you.

First and foremost, its important to know what it is that is stressing you out so much. No matter where its coming from, if we know what it is we can attack it head on. If it’s the job, we can find ways to soften the rough edges. If it’s a friend, we can set boundaries. If it’s the kids, we can yell at them. Just kidding. But you know what I mean.

And if it is stress coming from maintaining your sobriety, reach out to your sponsor. Or hang out with peers who share your struggles. Or go to that meeting.

Know the enemy and make it your friend!

Take a break!

Stuff piles up. When we burrow into the things challenging us, we forget to breath, appreciate the sunlight, and abandon the moments of life that keep us sane.  You don’t need a full-blown vacation to get a breather. Without packing a suitcase, you can get away from what’s pressing on you. Take a walk with someone you love and talk about things that make you happy. Go to that new coffee shop and take along a book. Or do a crafts project with your little one.

Refresh, recharge, rejuvenate!

Take care of yourself!

Although we tend to think of stress as coming from an emotional place, physical self care contributes greatly to a positive mindset. Eating well equals feeling well. Put away that junk food for today and eat a healthy, nourishing meal. Natural foods, like eggs and vegetables, gives you energy balance and lifts moods. Cookies and potato chips? Not so much.

Get to the gym and exercise! Physical wellbeing and exertion gets your blood flowing and clears your mind. You will be surprised at how the stress levels will drop in relation to time spent on the treadmill and off the couch.

Remember! Stress means you care. For those in recovery, it means you have found something worth fighting for. Manage that stress and focus on the positive energy your successes bring. It will calm you and give you the fuel to keep doing the things that are making your life special.

Stay aware, be mindful and healthy, and keep moving. Every happy moment is precious and brings more in its wake!

Since joining the Avenues Recovery content team, Shlomo has become a thought leader in the addiction field. His popular addiction podcast "Rubber Bands" is a must listen for anyone involved in Substance abuse treatment. He is a Seinfeld junkie, a recovering Twitter fanatic, and a sports expert. He enjoys milk shakes and beautiful views from rooftops.

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