8 Coping Skills for Addiction Recovery to Know

When you enter recovery, the more tools you have in your corner, the better off you will be. This includes your coping skills for addiction.

Wait, what exactly is a coping skill?

A coping skill, when it comes to anything in life, is your ability to cope with all that comes your way.

For example, if you encounter a speed bump, will you stop in the middle of the road and not go any further? Or, will you muster your strength and figure out a way to get over it?

The method you use to get over that speed bump is a coping skill. In other words, you took that negative impact of the speed bump and turned it into something good – you kept going.


The Importance of Coping Skills for Addiction

When it comes to coping skills for addiction recovery, these are the tools you will use when triggers, temptations, memories, stress, and struggles come your way.

When you would normally turn toward drugs or alcohol, you will use the coping skills to remain moving forward in a positive manner.

Coping skills for addiction can vary widely depending on who you are and where you are in your journey.

Whether you are in addiction treatment, outpatient recovery, or living in a sober living house, coping skills are essential.

Here are 8 tools that you will want to have in your possession as you move through your successful addiction recovery.


1. Keep a Daily Journal – Including a Gratitude List

Keeping your thoughts and emotions bottled inside without sharing them in some way, shape, or form, is a recipe for disaster. You have to release these feelings in order to remain healthy.

Sometimes, however, speaking them just isn’t appropriate or possible. This is where the benefits of keeping a daily journal come in.

Set aside time each day to write down your thoughts, how you are feeling, etc. Share your journey – and be real and honest.

A good practice is to also include a daily gratitude list during this time. Write down a thing or two that you are thankful for each day.

Keeping this daily journal doesn’t just give you a place to spray your thoughts, but it also gives you something that you can go back and read when you are feeling weak.

You can see where you came from and how you have grown throughout the whole process.

And those gratitude lists?

They can be a great reminder of all the things that are so good in your life.


2. Remain Social – Do Not Isolate Yourself

Staying social is one of the most important coping skills for addiction. While you want to surround yourself with sober friends, you don’t need to isolate yourself.

Forcing yourself to be social even when you feel like you don’t want to be can be very beneficial. It is easy for those in recovery to become recluse – and that can lead you down a very dangerous road.

When we have people in our lives, they hold us accountable.

3. Exercise

Exercise, whether you like it or not, is very important to recovery. Using it as a coping skill for addiction can come in handy when life gets tough.

It reduces stress and increases our ability to handle stressful situations – and life, in general – better.

Find something you like to do, such as:

  •  Hiking
  • Running
  • Bicycling,
  • Weight lifting
  • Adult league sports, and so on

Get out there and do what you can to get your blood flowing. The more you move, the better you will feel.

See, exercising releases endorphins in our brain that makes us feel good. In addition, it gets our heart pumping the blood through our body which can be a very invigorating experience.


4. Learn to Meditate

Deep breathing is a coping skill that you have likely heard of – and that is because it just makes sense.

When we get too stressed, too worked up, or too anxious, taking the time to breathe deeply and slow our body down can reduce all those negative emotions.

Learn to meditate, practice Yoga or Tai Chi, or simply breathe.


5. Work on Your Emotional Regulation Skills

Your emotional well-being is crucial for a successful recovery.

Once you finish treatment, you cannot just walk out into life and forget everything you had been working on.

Having a therapist in your life is a great benefit.

And, visiting your therapist regularly is a very important coping skill for addiction.

Your therapist will help you to continue working on your emotional regulation skills.

He or she will also present you with even more coping skills for addiction that can help you throughout your recovery journey.


6. Develop Stress Management Techniques

Stress is a part of life.

It can also be a ticking bomb for someone who is in addiction recovery.

In other words, you must keep your stress well managed.

How can you do this?

With the use of stress management techniques.

Employ some skills that will personally help you reduce the stress in your daily life so that you can maintain a positive focus on your recovery.

7. Find an Enjoyable Hobby – and Practice It

Sometimes it is just important to focus your attention on one positive thing to keep your mind from focusing on things it shouldn’t.

For this very reason, you need to find an enjoyable hobby.

There are so many things you can choose from, such as building model cars to painting the great outdoors.

Choose a hobby that will keep your interest and allow you to stay on a positive track. After all, you know what they say about idle minds…


8. Become a Sponsor or Mentor to Others

Doing good feels good. Choose to become a sponsor or mentor to someone else who is newly sober.

This puts you in a leadership position and keeps you accountable.

When people are watching – especially someone who sees you as a role model – it makes it easier to make positive choices.



Coping skills are necessary for everything in life – especially addiction recovery.

The more coping skills for addiction you have, the more successful your recovery will be.

You never know what life may throw at you, but as long as you have a plan, you will come out on top.


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