Graduating from a dedicated residential alcohol treatment or drug treatment program and maintaining active sober efforts is an amazing experience. It can be a time filled with earned pride and joy. However, that doesn’t mean that an individual will no longer experience new stresses or challenges that may affect their sobriety as an alumnus. Resilience building is paramount to processing the new stresses that may manifest at any point in a person’s recovery journey all while maintaining their hard-earned sobriety.
Understanding Resilience Building
Resilience is a powerful skill in recovery, either for processing urges and cravings or for simply navigating the stresses that populate daily life. However, it is still important to understand what resilience is to create the most effective and personalized resilience-building strategies.
Resilience is the ability to “bounce back” from stresses or trying times. It can be impossible to predict all of the various stresses that may manifest throughout each individual’s recovery journey. Resilience building is the development of strategies that an individual can use after experiencing stressful events to process these challenges without turning to self-destructive practices. Meanwhile, such strategies can help facilitate the return to a healthy state of normalcy in sobriety. While some personalized recovery strategies may be designed to help an individual prevent the onset of stresses or challenges, resilience building is instead a skill to help those in recovery address stresses that have already manifested and even unexpected challenges at any point.
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Creating a Comprehensive Set of Skills
All parts of recovery will be personalized to each individual’s own needs and goals. There are no strategies that are guaranteed to work, or that will work in the same way for all people. Finding each individual’s best combination of strategies for building resilience is paramount for the effective use of these strategies and a sustainable sober toolkit. Exploring various options, amending others’ strategies for personal use, continued professional support, and other personalization techniques can all help create the most effective strategies for building resilience in recovery, with the best capabilities for preventing relapse and promoting a healthy sober future.
Planning for Challenges and Stress
The first step in developing effective resilience-building techniques is adjusting each person’s mindset and expectations. While graduating from a dedicated treatment program is cause for celebration, that doesn’t mean that an individual has been exposed to all the possible stresses and challenges of continued sobriety. Workplace stresses, anxieties, social stresses, and more can all continue to impact each individual. Those in recovery should still expect new challenges and trials even after they return to their own daily life, rather than assume that they are somehow “free” from new stresses. Embracing the possibility of new stresses each day can help those in recovery better understand the need and role of resilience-building strategies.
Resilience Building and Self-Care
Taking care of oneself is a powerful and important skill throughout all stages of recovery and the development of a healthy daily life. Engaging in personal outlets as a core part of the day can be instrumental for bouncing back from stress. Whether an individual is taking a hike or walks along the beach, engaging in a personal hobby, or even taking a moment to detach from stress with the next episode of their favorite show, taking time for oneself throughout the day is necessary. However, effectively using self-care for effective resilience building means making it an integral part of each day, recognizing that these practices are just as important as consistent mealtimes or other scheduled responsibilities.
Stresses can regularly cause an individual to feel out of control of their own lives, either lacking a feeling of control over the direction of their lives, emotional state, or even behaviors, making slips and relapse incredibly dangerous. Finding something that an individual can control in a given situation is paramount for bolstering resilience. For example, while an individual may not be able to control the thoughts and words of those around them that may be less than supportive of their own sober decisions, they can control how long they participate in such a conversation, choose to walk away, or propose a change in subject.
Making an active decision to eat a healthy snack, log off from work after work hours, or smile in the face of stress can all be ways a person can begin to exercise some degree of control and agency over their situation without feeling compelled to act on more self-destructive notions.
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Establishing Healthy Support Networks
Nobody should ever have to overcome stress on their own, and having effective support networks is necessary throughout addiction recovery. Resilience building through constant communication efforts can ensure that these impactful people are available when stresses arise. Making an effort to curate a safe space, engage in daily phone calls or texts, or even establish regular meetings such as lunches together throughout the week can all help those in recovery overcome unforeseen stresses by connecting with effective, sympathetic supports. Family programs and continued engagement in dedicated outpatient programs can help each individual identify those who are understanding of these challenges and can help facilitate the healthiest lifestyle in sobriety.
Resilience building is necessary throughout recovery, whether you have graduated from a residential alcohol treatment program and are continuing to navigate a sober life or just beginning your journey to sobriety. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand the ongoing journey of recovery and sobriety, and we are committed to helping you build effective strategies for a more resilient and sober future. From our personalized treatment programs and modalities to our community of peers, professionals, and holistic atmosphere of healing, we can help even alumni continue to develop the most effective resilience-building strategies. For more information on how we can support your ongoing success in sobriety, call to speak to a caring, trained staff member today at (866) 390-5070.