Coping with addiction on a daily basis

Andrew Paisley, Columnist

Throughout my recovery, I have learned so much about how to handle it, and I know there is so much more I still have left to learn. Each day, we as addicts battle this disease of addiction, and sometimes we have to take it one day at a time. Other times, we may have to take it one hour at a time. There are several things I have learned to use as coping mechanisms to get through each day.

Take it slow.

When they say we have to take it one day at a time, they truly are not kidding. My entire life I was always a future thinker, and I was planning ahead for days to come. In my recovery, I have learned that I do not have to do that. For starters, I cannot guarantee that I will be clean or sober tomorrow.

It is sad to say that, but it really is the truth. As much as I want to be clean and sober every day, we never truly know what is going to happen that could unfortunately cause a relapse. So, take it one day at a time. If a particular day is harder than others, take it one hour at a time. Worry about staying clean and sober for that particular hour or day.

Do not isolate.

I am all for having some alone time, and I rather enjoy having it, but throughout my recovery I have learned that too much isolation can be very dangerous.

I find that when I have a busy day, such as multiple classes, work and/or running errands, I am less likely to think about picking up a drink or using drugs. This is because my brain is occupied by all of my daily tasks, and it really gives me a good feeling when I do not have to deal with triggers or cravings.

Whenever I do spend days in bed or laying down, I get caught up in my head, thinking too much. These thoughts can be very volatile for anyone.

Sometimes I start to think about stressful situations that I could potentially be in, or I get really bored, and these are all things that trigger me to want to pick up again.

Alone time is good for anyone, but do yourself a favor and limit it. I will not say it is easy, because it is not, but you will thank me later.

Get involved.

Go out and do service work for the community, or get involved with Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous Meetings.

Not only does service work keep you busy, and you end up helping so many people, but it gives you a really good feeling when you do it.

I have been involved in the Collegiate Recovery Community at Eastern, and it really makes me happy when I can get out there and help others who are struggling.

Attending meetings are not just bound to help you stay clean and sober, but they help you feel better.

I try to attend as many meetings a week as I can. Unfortunately, I do not always make as many as I should, and that is when I find myself to be very irritable and somewhat depressed.

When I go to meetings, I feel so empowered by the words of other addicts, and it helps a lot.

Just remember, we do recover.

Andrew Paisley is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].