Stress during recovery
When individuals recover from drug or alcohol abuse, often challenges arise that cause them stress. Stress during recovery might manifest itself financially (paying for recovery or time away from work for recovery), in relationships (certain people wanting to help you recover and others wanting you to continue in old behaviors with them and also ending negative relationships in order to recover), emotionally (struggling with letting go of addictions can be emotional and stressful) and in many other ways. Stress can cause diseases, anxiety, depression, and increase addictions. Stress can damage relationships and contribute to unhappiness. Learning about reducing stress, especially during recovery, can improve not just your recovery– but also your life.
The website stressrelaxationguide.org indicates that there are two kinds of stress: external and internal. They indicate that external stress is what happens in an individual’s surroundings, and internal stress (also referred to as tension) is what individuals feel. In other words, tension is how you respond to external stress. It is important to realize that external stress is mostly unavoidable. If individuals have to deal with people or go to work every day, the only way they can avoid external stress is by avoiding life. On the other hand, individuals have control over their internal stress, or amounts of tension.
In discussing stress management, it is key to note that the intent of stress management is to reduce tension, not external stress. That is to say, stress management is learning how to cope with external stress and reducing the negative effects of external stress. Learning relaxation techniques will also help significantly with responding in positive ways to external stress. Again, the website stressrelaxationguide.org indicates a few ways that many individuals create more tension in their lives in responding to external stress. These include:
- Going over and over resentments mentally
- Trying to control things that can’t be controlled
- Dwelling on the past or the future
- Focusing on fears
Most tension that individuals experience can be caused by some combination of the above examples. For example, the website points out that guilt is due to dwelling on the past, feeling resentment, and having fear.
Dealing well with stress may be one of the main things individuals need in recovery in order to be happier. If individuals internalize stress and create tension in their lives, they will have emotional and physical consequences and recovery will be more difficult. Tension makes it hard to appreciate recovery and begin to enjoy one’s life. Tension can destroy relationships and force you too feel closed and not open to recovery. Finding peace through stress management is key to successful recovery.