There is an interesting phenomenon that can occur with some people when they become sober. After they undergo detox and the drugs are out of their system, they find themselves spilling over with a new found enthusiasm for life. They begin to feel better physically. Maybe they’re in a halfway house or twelve step fellowship where they’re quickly making new friends. Maybe they’re gainfully employed and supporting themselves for the first time in ages, which brings them a great deal of pride. Regardless of the particulars, for the most part they feel great, perhaps unreasonably so, and early sobriety does not seem like that much of a struggle. People in Recovery communities refer to this phenomenon as “the pink cloud”, and it is rarely sustainable.
Just because a person gets sober does not mean that there life is going to be without challenges. Difficult situations and emotions are bound to arise. Whether it’s the stress losing a job, or dealing with the emotional baggage that comes with a break up, eventually the newly sober person is going to come face to face with a situation that knocks them off of their “Pink cloud”. If they wish to be successful in their recovery, the person must find ways to deal with these tough situations in a healthy and effective way, instead of reverting to old self destructive behaviors. Here are some tips for people in recovery to cope with stressful situations:
Communicate with the people in your Recovery Network
A phrase commonly used in recovery fellowships is “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” Addicts oft struggle with self-esteem, whether its to high or too low. When one feels confident in there sobriety and something comes up to knock this out of whack, admitting that they’re struggling can be an incredibly scary and humbling proposition. But that’s the beauty of having a network of people around who are also in recovery, chances are the struggling person has friends that have been in similar difficult situations. If the person is able to muster up the courage to discuss their problems, they’ll probably find solace in the fact others have suffered as they have and might even receive some good advice.
Consider exercise or meditation
Exercise has been shown to have positive effects in relieving stress and anxiety. Similarly, meditation has been shown to help people cope with and reduce stress. Instead of reaching for a drink or a drug, think about signing up for the boot camp at your gym or a class at your local meditation center.
Don’t be afraid to seek Professional Help
Sometimes there are problems that you can’t solve with your own resources, or that you aren’t comfortable discussing with people close to you. There is never any shame in seeking out a reputable psychiatrist or therapist to help you deal with difficult situations or emotions, or just to lend an objective, discreet, nonjudgmental ear.