Healthy Ways to Cope with Addiction Recovery

Recovering from addiction is not easy. Coping with the negative feelings and emotions that come up during recovery can be difficult. On top of this, a lot of recovering addicts feel strong cravings to relapse on drugs and alcohol. Fortunately, there are many ways you can cope with addiction recovery in a healthy way. These include honesty, eating healthy, exercise, lowering stress, avoiding risky situations, avoiding risky places, attending a local support group, holistic rehab, and picking up a new hobby. Let’s take a look at some healthy ways to cope with the negative feelings and cravings that come with addiction recovery.


Honesty is crucial for anyone seeking to overcome their addiction. Often times, addiction carries with it a large web of lies. You may lie to others about your behavior while you are abusing addictive substances, you may lie to those close to you to cover up the consequences of addiction, and you may even lie to yourself in order to maintain addiction. Being honest about the things that are bothering you, including addiction, can be a very cathartic and rewarding experience. Opening up to someone close to you about your addiction can help you feel less alone and provide you with support for beating addiction. If you are honest with yourself and others, it is easier to cope with recovery.

Eating Healthy

Food and hunger are deeply tied to our psychology. In general, not eating well can make you feel worse and push you towards relapse. Having a consistent schedule for meals helps you get better sleep and feel better psychologically. A lot of addictive substances, like opiates, can negatively affect your appetite and lead to issues with diet and eating behavior. Whether it is remembering to eat breakfast every day or having a meal before bed, eating healthily and regularly can make recovery a lot easier. Getting all of the nutrients you need and having a consistent eating schedule is a great way to cope with addiction recovery.


Diet and exercise go hand-in-hand. Exercising regularly, whether it is once a day or once a week, has many psychological benefits that aid in the process of addiction recovery. This includes a heightened sense of confidence and self-esteem, a better overall mood, a way to cope with stress, a greater sense of energy, reduced symptoms of depression, and an improvement in overall health. Along with the psychological benefits of exercise, exercise can produce feelings of euphoria and of course, contribute to your overall physical health. Regular exercise doesn’t have to be extreme, taking a walk or a hike is enough to get your heart rate up and help you feel accomplished.

Managing Stress

Healthy Ways to Cope in Addiction Recovery

Healthy Ways to Cope in Addiction Recovery: If you can relax without getting drunk or high, you can avoid the buildup of tension that leads to relapse. (Photo by Fernando Brasil on Good Free Photos)

Stress is a major factor in causing and maintaining addictions. Many turn to drugs and alcohol in order to cope with their stress and the addictions formed can increase this stress. Relaxation is why many abuse addictive substances, and learning to relax without any sort of substance is very useful in dealing with addiction recovery. If you can relax without getting drunk or high, you can avoid the buildup of tension that leads to relapse. Learning to relax can also help you enjoy life for what it is while sober. A few relaxation techniques include taking a walk, just sitting or lying down after a long day, reading a good book, putting on your favorite movie, meditation, listening to music, or playing with your pet. Everyone has their own way to unwind, and learning to relax without abusing drugs or alcohol will help you recover.

Avoiding Risky Social Situations

Risky social situations can be the initial reason for addiction and lead to relapse. This may be abusing drugs or alcohol to celebrate with others or abusing substances with friends who have similar habits. If you are recovering from addiction and find yourself in a social situation where you can relapse, you may be tempted. Avoid social situations in which you may be tempted to relapse, and let your friends know what you are dealing with so they can support you. This one is easier said than done, but you won’t regret it and it will help immensely in recovery.

Avoiding Risky Locations

In the same way that risky social situations can cause addiction and relapse, risky places can bring about addiction and relapse. For recovering alcoholics, a bar that serves alcohol may be a risky place that encourages relapse. For recovering drug addicts, a house or club where people use addictive substances can be a risky location. Risky locations and social situations go hand in hand, and avoiding these places may involve changing your life in a major way. For example, avoiding the bar you drink at can change your social life, but you can still enjoy the company of friends elsewhere. Recovering from addiction may involve changing your life, and a life without addiction is a good one.

Support Groups

Support groups come up frequently when discussing recovery. 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous can be very helpful in establishing a support group and staying sober. These groups offer a place for people recovering from addiction to share stories, encourage each other, or just socialize with others who are dealing with the same struggles. Support groups have been scientifically proven to help in the treatment of addiction. These groups can also be more informal than organized institutions, such as close friends and family supporting your recovery. These support groups are also important in maintaining sobriety and preventing relapse in the long-term. Holistic rehab is another powerful option for those recovering from addiction.


One technique for coping with addiction that isn’t mentioned often is hobbies. Like exercise, picking up a new hobby can give you a way to distract yourself from the same boredom that may cause you to relapse. Along with combatting boredom, an interesting hobby can give you a new lease on life, give you satisfaction, and provide you with joy outside the context of abusing drugs or alcohol. There is a whole world of exciting and rewarding things to do out there, and many hobbies come with communities of fellow enthusiasts. New hobbies can be something as tame as scrapbooking or bird watching, or it could be something as exciting as skydiving or martial arts. Expressing yourself through arts such as music, writing, painting, filmmaking, or dance is a great way to cope with recovery and improve your life in general.

Featured Photo by Ethan Hoover on Unsplash