5 Essential Tools for Your Recovery Toolbox

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5 Essential Tools for Your Recovery Toolbox


During early recovery, the addict should develop life skills and coping mechanisms that will help them handle the potentially difficult situations life may throw at them.  For many addicts, they have probably spent the last few years, if not decades, completely engulfed by their addiction.  It’s very possible for a person buried in addiction to neglect, and possibly even forget, basic day-to-day functioning.  Therefore, they must relearn these skills, and most importantly, have them handy to use when situations arise.  

Here are five fundamental tools to keep handy in recovery:


  1. Set Boundaries.  The addict who has recently made the decision to get clean and sober is trying to learn how to live again.  Many times, family members or loved ones aren’t sure how to act.  It may have been many years since they’ve known the person behind the mask of addiction.  Therefore, the addict must clearly define their needs and state their boundaries.  As they relearn themselves and gain more time in sobriety, the addict will be able to identify more of the things that could be potential triggers.  Having clear stated boundaries avoids putting the newly clean and sober person in a situation where they could potentially relapse.
  2. Spiritual Practices.  Many people turn to spiritually based twelve step programs to help them through recovery.  It can be beneficial to believe that something, whatever it may be, is bigger than your addiction and can help you through it.  Mental exercise such as meditation and physical exercise like yoga are great coping mechanisms to use.  They help to regulate breathing and reduce stress at a molecular level.
  3. Avoid High-Risk Situations.  The addict who is newly clean and sober is essentially creating a brand new life for themselves.  This usually means new friends and places to hang out.  It can be dangerous to go back to old situations because there may be external pressure to drink or use drugs.  An addict in early recovery is in a delicate state, and may not be able to withstand the pressure.  Therefore, it is best to avoid the risky situations altogether for a while.
  4. Be Honest.  It is highly likely that the addict has lived behind a wall of lies for quite some time.  By the time they choose to get sober, the dishonesty has probably become second nature.  Addiction causes people to be deceitful due to the way addiction takes over the brain. Learning to be truly honest about things can be challenging.  It is something that takes practice, but has a huge benefit.  As the addict employs more honesty, their self-seeking behavior will slip away.  Complete transparency leaves no room for addiction to hide.
  5. Connect with Yourself.  For many years, the addict has been ashamed of who they are and the things they have done.  When someone is heavily into addiction, the things that they will do to get more drugs or alcohol or their behaviors while under the influence are shameful.  Learning to love yourself again and the new person that you have become is important.  When you’re proud of who you are, there’s no need to lie.