Top 10 Coping Skills for Addiction

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Addiction is a disease that can affect all walks of life, ages, and genders. It does not discriminate and can be incredibly challenging to overcome. To help you or a loved one learn healthy coping skills while in recovery, we’ve put together a list of the best 10 coping skills for addiction. 

10 Key Ways To Cope With Addiction

 Reaching for a quick fix, or satiating a perceived need is often how addiction begins. The comfort perceived in the brain from this immediate dopamine hit allows us to believe that we are helping our given situation by partaking in this behavior. In fact, we are setting ourselves up to become more and more addicted.  

Here are 10 coping skills to help you overcome substance abuse:

1.     Learn to stay calm in any situation: Learning to remain calm in any situation is paramount for long-term stress management and hence sobriety.  When we choose to act on life instead of react to it, our circumstances no longer have the power to dictate our behaviors the way they used to. 

2.     Be honest: Being honest with ourselves and others is key to living a sober life.  It is often said that we are only as sick as our secrets, so communicating authentically and being accountable for our actions will perpetuate a healthy sober life.

3.     Journal: Writing out our thoughts and feelings can really help alleviate the stress they may cause.  Incorporating a gratitude list into daily journaling can help set our minds in the right direction.

4.     Practice mindfulness: Being aware of what we are doing, and how we are doing it is a life-long coping mechanism. Often, we go on auto-pilot, not taking any notice of our behaviors or thoughts. Bringing awareness to our thoughts and surroundings can bring us much peace and into the present moment, hence freeing us from spiraling thoughts and ultimately detrimental action.

5.     Exercise and stay active: Moving your body is crucial to continued sobriety.  Not only does exercise increase mood, but staying active can help keep you from falling into bad habits. 

6.     Avoid triggering situations: Putting yourself first, and knowing your boundaries and limits is a key factor in continued sobriety. Saying no sometimes is the most loving thing you can do for yourself. Mindfully keeping away from situations that would cause you to feel triggered is important, no need to put yourself in harm’s way.

7.     Help others: Helping others keeps you accountable to staying sober, and reminds you of how far you have come on your own journey.  

8.     Build a sober network: It is often said that people places and things can be the most triggering to relapse. Building a solid sober network of friends can help you create a new life filled with support and help maintain long-term sobriety.  

9.     Find joy: Finding happiness or joy in everyday life can help you stay sober.  If you find yourself adopting an attitude of gratitude you are less likely to reach for a substance. Find joy in the every day and find hobbies that build joy also!

10.  Create a schedule: Making a regimen can help keep you accountable. Whether it is a commitment to work out a certain number of times weekly, or setting a bedtime, staying on a schedule can help you avoid floating too far in any direction of the course of sobriety and well-being.  

Once an addiction is formed, alcohol, drugs, sex, or just about anything, undoing it takes hard work. It takes time, patience, and perseverance.  Addiction isn’t simply stopping a behavior, but in fact, re-wiring our brains to look for different outlets for relief. This is of course far more easily said than done, but where there is a will, there is a way.  

More than anything, knowing and having some on-hand coping skills can make the addiction recovery process easier and more manageable. 

What Are Addiction Coping Skills?

In order to overcome addiction, it’s clear that we need to heal and create new habits. But what are addiction coping skills actually?  

Coping Skills – Addiction Recovery

The word cope means to “deal effectively with something difficult.” It’s safe to say that life can be trying and in order to partake in it, we will need a skill set to navigate difficult times. Implementing a set of coping skills into life is of course important for all of us, but those who struggle with addiction may have an even harder time.

From a healthy mind will come a healthy body, and a healthy life. So, it is no shock that by working on our mindset, we can free ourselves from addiction. Changing your mind may be the most important of all the coping skills that you can have. Ultimately, we can choose the lens through which we view the world.

What is Drug Abuse?

Drug abuse involves the use of illegal or addictive substances for recreation or self-medication. Some of the most commonly abused drugs include opioids, cocaine, heroine, meth, and prescription medications.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse can be incredibly dangerous, especially once dependency (the body’s chemistry changes to adapt to become reliant on the drug) and addiction sets in. Consuming illicit drugs can also affect your physical health and mental wellbeing, which is why it’s important to develop healthy coping skills and stop using drugs as a coping mechanism.

Addiction treatment is a common way that people who can’t stop themselves from participating in substance abuse can get help and learn coping skills while in treatment.

Anti-Stress Coping Skills to Prevent Relapse

Maintaining stress levels is also paramount to preventing relapse, and maintaining a sober life.  We have seen the incredibly detrimental effect high-stress levels and negative emotions can have on a person.  

Stress can affect us negatively physically as well as mentally. Physically, if high levels of stress are maintained, blood pressure can skyrocket, digestive issues may arise, and sleep is usually affected. All of the physical symptoms of stress ultimately affect the mental landscape as well.  Poor sleep will often lead to a depressed mood, lack of energy, and disinterest in hobbies. From a sullen place like this, it is far easier to fall into the pit of addiction. As it may seem that that dopamine hit is the answer. Before you know it, stress can completely take over your life.  

Maintaining Sobriety From Substance Abuse

Given the way of the world today, stress levels are high, and our minds are often preoccupied, which can lead to using drugs instead of coping skills. It is more important now than ever, to engage in as many coping skills as we possibly can, especially to achieve and maintain sobriety from drug and alcohol abuse.   

Get Addiction Treatment and Coping Skills at Ohio Recovery 

At Ohio Recovery we know how difficult overcoming drug and alcohol use can be. We know that recovery is a complex process and different for everyone, which is why we offer a variety of personalized treatment plans to help learn healthy coping skills to you get back on your feet. 

From PHP (partial hospitalization) to IOP (intensive outpatient) programs, Ohio Recovery can help you on all levels of your journey.  We offer many different therapeutic modalities and customized treatment programs for each of our clients.  

With new coping skills and proper treatment, you can beat drug and alcohol addiction. Reach out to us today at (877) 679-2132 and let us help get you started on your new drug-free life! 

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn