One of the most likely reasons why individuals return to addiction after a period of sobriety is the feeling of not being able to cope. One of the main attractions of alcohol or drug abuse is that it allows the individual to hide from his or her problems, so when becoming sober it might not take much for them to start to feel overwhelmed. This is why it is so important that those in early recovery develop resilience in order to have the strength to remain sober.
What is Resilience?
Resilience refers to the ability to deal with the tough challenges that come one’s way in life. It means that when bad things begin to happen, you have the ability to keep doing the right things until the storm passes. Those with poor resilience tend to fall apart when life starts to get tough, putting them at high risk of relapse.
One of the mistakes many make when giving up alcohol or drugs is that they expect life to be always smooth sailing afterward. This is just not how the world works. All humans have to face the ups and downs associated with being alive, and nobody gets a ‘free pass’ from this. This is why the goal of any effective recovery programme is not to help you to create a trouble-free existence but to give you the tools needed to deal with problems as these arise.
How to Develop Resilience
There is nothing magical about resilience and it is not something that only certain ‘lucky’ people get to benefit from. This is a personality trait that can be developed over time, so it is vital that you begin this work right away to protect your sobriety.
One of the keys to developing resilience is to develop the right attitude towards problems. Rather than seeing things going wrong as an attack on your personhood, it is much healthier to see these events as an opportunity to grow. The reality is that humans do not tend to develop much when things are going well, it is only when they are challenged that they are forced to begin making improvements. If you can think of the tough times more like ‘growth times’ then it will improve your resilience.
In order to develop resilience, you need to be more accepting of your humanity. This means being able to deal with having imperfections and not using this as an excuse to beat yourself up. If you make mistakes, the best thing to do is to learn from the event and be sure to not allow it to happen again. It is important to keep chipping away at your imperfections, but the goal is progress and not becoming a saint overnight. Guilt does not help you and it does not help anyone who has been negatively impacted by what you did.
Exercise Every Day and Eat a Healthy Diet
If you are physically unhealthy, it will have a huge impact on your resilience. You do not have to become a fitness fanatic, but it is important that you exercise every day. Even going for a 30-minute walk is going to be better than nothing. It is also vital that you look at your diet to make sure it is balanced and that you are not consuming too many calories. It is common for people to turn to comfort eating upon becoming sober, but this can have a negative impact on their resilience.
Join a Recovery Group
A recovery group can improve your resilience in a number of ways. Just belonging to this type of fellowship means that you are going to be supported. It should also mean that you would be around resilient people, so these individuals can inspire you to develop this attribute too. If you feel that your resilience is low at the moment then it might be a good idea to attend more meetings than usual.