Everyone experiences a certain level of stress in their daily lives – some stress is actually good for us. It can be helpful to feel a bit of pressure for increased performance or productivity. But stress that goes unmanaged can become a chronic problem. It can lead to negative feelings (anxiety, irritability, fear), thinking (self-criticism, fear of failure) and behaviours (impulsiveness, isolation, changes in appetite). For people in recovery, dealing with daily stresses without the use of alcohol or drugs can be challenging, so it is vital that he or she have a solid recovery program to help overcome everyday issues and problems that cause stress.
Being in recovery myself, I needed to find ways to overcome stress before it overcame me. I found that managing my time and making a schedule for myself (always allowing some time for relaxation and fun) really helps keep me from becoming overwhelmed. Talking things out with people who support my recovery is very cathartic and helps to reduce my stress level. Physical exercise is also a great way to separate from the cause of the stress, both mentally and physically. And I always make sure to eat and sleep properly – it seems to help me keep my emotions more in check.
Even though we are clean and sober, negative things are going to happen to cause us stress. It’s how we deal with it that is important and will help strengthen our recovery.