It’s easy to get caught up in the throes of life and suddenly feel overwhelmed by all that you need to get done. Perhaps you have a family life, career, and personal life that give you meaning and purpose. But occasionally, come with so many responsibilities that it’s hard to keep up with it all. If you’ve got a history of addiction and substance abuse, you might find that it’s during these times when you feel the urge or craving to drink. You might feel like you need a break, an escape from it all, and wouldn’t a drink feel good, you think to yourself. It’s an easy place to get into. However, stress doesn’t have to lead to relapse. There are some precautionary steps you can take to avoid the pitfalls of an overly busy life so that relapse doesn’t occur.
Take a Day off to Relax
When you notice that you’re experiencing cravings, it could be a good time to take the day off to take care of yourself. The stress you’re feeling is actually calling you to take some time for yourself. If you notice yourself feeling irritable, angry, exhausted, socially detached, and overwhelmed, then it’s easy to lose touch with the meaning and purpose in life. It’s easy to feel bombarded by the to-do list. This is when the need to escape with drugs or alcohol might begin to arise, and this is the time to take a long break – one or two days at the least – to take good care of yourself.
Have a Regular Practice of Relaxation
Taking time off of work can be a great short-term measure. But if you want to know the feelings of relaxation on a more regular basis, develop a practice of meditation, yoga, or deep breathing. Even a practice of mindfulness, the ability to stay present and aware of what’s going on within and around you, can help you develop a sense of relaxation and ease throughout your day. To make it easier to sustain a relaxation practice, you might look for hatha yoga or meditation classes being offered in your neighborhood.
Stay Connected to a Recovery Community
You might have many years of sobriety under your belt, but if you’re beginning to experience cravings, it might be worthwhile to stay connected with those who have recovery at the forefront of their minds. You might help, especially during times of stress, to be reminded of those principles of sobriety that got you sober in the first place.
Talk with Your Therapist, Sponsor, or Drug Counselor
A sponsor, therapist, and drug counselor are three very different positions. A sponsor isn’t going to provide therapy, and a therapist may or may not be able to provide you with what your sponsor can give you. Nonetheless, one of these three professionals can at the very least provide support. He or she can encourage you to make the right choices, reminding you of all that you’ve achieved thus far.
If you’re feeling stress in your life, the above suggestions might prevent a relapse.