Living in a world with so much uncertainty, all the differing creatures of this planet must pick and choose their battles wisely. How we prioritize what’s important to us is individualized but it all stems from hope of some sort. Hope is what drives the introverted caterpillar to transform out its cocoon. It’s what excitedly rushes the dog to the door as you walk in with 13 bags of groceries trying not to step on his/her toes. Hope is why anyone of us wake up each day, rolls out of bed, and put 2 feet back on the ground.
It’s that same hope that gets any ludicrous addict or deranged alcoholic into recovery. There’s always room for the hope of a new day, hope of a new world, and hope of a new life. It’s one of the best ways to cope in this world; hope and cope. Whether in early recovery or a seasoned veteran to the disease, we all use the power of hope to cope. It just seems strange because the two words rhyme. Hope is a positive mindset that embellishes the concept of coping mechanism by making struggle easier to surpass with cheery thought. Some people proceed better in life with something to look forward to.
Coping mechanisms like such are imperative in early sobriety. Mastering specific early recovery coping strategies like hopefulness can ultimately be the difference between recovery and white knuckled abstinence for some. With hope in mind as an example, some of those early recovery coping strategies should work on changing the structure of your life for that of recovery. This can include:
- Setting Boundaries More Often
- Practicing Prayer/Meditation
- Picking Up New Conducive Hobbies
- Creating a Strong Network of Close People
- Increasing Self Esteem Through Esteemable Acts
Coping Skills Because Doping Kills
Moving further into our early recovery coping strategies and hopping ‘write’ into it, writing is another one of the best gifts we can bestow ourselves. Some of the best free therapy one can find is a pen and some notebook paper. It may be hard for some to get into, but scribbling down thoughts onto paper is an extremely beneficial thing for those of us who have wandered over to the sobriety side of the road. Really, it’s a good hobby for anybody to pick up because it gives us an opportunity to reflect our thoughts, emotions, and expressions of any sort.
For many, there are things we want to say and are just not able to articulate them correctly or even process them as dialect. It’s often found that writing out the things circling our minds is the most productive way to communicate with ourselves even. Now this doesn’t mean we have to stop conversing with ourselves- I talk to myself on a regular basis. However, this side of things can give a different approach as you view the things visually that you’ve been romanticizing or going over and over in your head.
Then there’s the aspect of taking that pen and paper and turning some of these thought out words into doodles. For many people in recovery, particularly myself, art is a hobby or something to pick up that can ease frustration and relax a person. It a sense, it is like a form of meditation for many as they lose themselves to the art process and use it as an early recovery coping strategy.
The great aspect about art is that it is a form of expression that releases the creative right sided part of our brains and doesn’t have to just stop with a pen and paper. Throw some colors and other random objects in there and you have a recipe for serene entertainment. Alas, not all people can get their rocks off with a little bit of self reflection expression- it just doesn’t do it for them. Some need a more introspective approach for practicing early recovery coping strategies.
Planning a Strategic Recovery
Just the act of becoming sober allows us to see things in a brighter, clearer perspective. Once we start to look at things in this more optimistic manner, dealing with life on life’s terms won’t seem like such a hassle. That hope that we cope with will come in second nature.
Much of the time, keeping this positive frame of mind will have to do with our environment. This environment will be dependent on who and what is allowed into it. Recovery is your own personal ecosystem that will need constant grooming even when your addiction convinces you everything is on par and up to code. Beware, because the mind likes to play tricks and addiction is quite the jester once boredom begins to thrive.
Limited resources are a huge indication of boredom, and boredom elicits escape. The need for escape is addiction foaming at the mouth waiting for you to slip up. These are the things we must pay attention to as far as our early recovery coping strategies go. It kind of goes back to the old saying of “idle hands are for the devil’s workshop”. For those with alcoholic thinking specifically, boredom only puts us in our heads mono e mono with the monster that is our addiction. Developing early recovery coping strategies that adapt to the environment around you is the best way to not be caught off guard. Getting caught off guard can mean unwarranted surprises. Such surprises can often deter our path of early sobriety toward relapse, and we wouldn’t want that. With hope in mind, the goal should be sobriety from here on out.