Coping Skills to Support Recovery
by Nirmala Raniga
After completing a recovery program, individuals are often concerned about how they will cope with life at home. Fortunately, there are simple tools to implement that can help on the road to health and wellbeing.
Whether we are in recovery or not, all of us must be aware of the stresses in life that are within our control. For example, eating nourishing food is important to a healthy lifestyle for everyone, but especially for those who are new to sober living. Ensuring there is good, organic food available to nourish the body, and avoiding foods that are heavy in chemicals, unhealthy fats, and sugar is very important.
The same philosophy applies to social circles. For example, if recovering individuals return to an environment that supports substance abuse—friends and family who may abuse substances—this automatically creates a seemingly insurmountable life stress. A person who is in recovery is often not used to putting him or herself first. So very often, changing the nature of personal relationships is particularly challenging. However, even when it is difficult, individuals who are choosing to live a new life must make a conscious choice to forge nurturing friendships. They should learn to recognize, and perhaps even end, those relationships that will sabotage their efforts.
As people begin a new life, they must make efforts to be honest. The world of addiction is fraught with dishonesty. People are often covering up what they are doing and not telling the truth of their substance issues. They may also use substances to cover up the pain and trauma they feel, instead of being honest about their true emotions. A healthy lifestyle demands truthfulness, first and foremost, with the self. We must connect with our emotions, and feel what we feel, even when it is painful, without the interference of substances to keep those feelings at bay. Additionally, as we interact with others, we must do our best to communicate our needs as honestly as we can. Being honest is a practice – the more we do it, the better we will become.
Cultivating and sustaining a regular meditation practice is also very helpful. As we spend time each day sitting in silence and reconnecting with stillness, we begin to recognize who we really are: pure spirit and divine consciousness. We start to understand that the drama of life is not real or necessary, and we can address stresses that arise more easily.
Yoga asana or yoga pose practice can be an excellent preparation for meditation, particularly when the poses are gentle and restorative. Yoga—which means the union of mind, body, and spirit—is a wonderful way to create balance from within. From this place of balance and calm, we can feel better prepared to face and enjoy life’s many wonderful uncertainties.
One thing that can be neglected in our busy world is the value of sleep. Rest is a critical way for the brain to detoxify and for the body to recharge. But in the hustle and bustle of modern life, sleep can be elusive. By simply aligning ourselves with the rhythms of Nature, we can create a healthy sleep habit. Ideally, we should get to bed by about 10:00 p.m. and rise no later than 6:00 a.m., to get a solid night’s rest. Feeling rested is important to staying mindful and aware, and it helps us to make more conscious choices.
At the Chopra Addiction & Wellness Center, we offer such tools to our guests in an effort to help them cope with life’s stressors and remain healthy and free from substances. Along with healthy, organic meals and therapeutic guidance to help navigate relationships, we teach our guests Primordial Sound Meditation, yoga asana practice, the value of spending time in Nature, and other practices based on the timeless healing wisdom of Ayurveda. These practices can benefit not only those recovering from addiction, but all individuals who seek to cultivate greater peace in their lives. Consequently, we also work with families to create a holistic approach to healthy living.
Coping with life in recovery takes effort, but it is well worth the time and attention. Choosing to live consciously, we can experience all of life’s joys and sorrows, and feel more connected to ourselves and everything around us.