June 9, 2006, Newsletter Issue #86: Stress Management

Tip of the Week

Many people use drugs to mask underlying problems in their lives -- problems that are still there once they have become drug-free. One common trigger for relapse is having inadequate skills for managing stress and anxiety.

In therapy and in working with supportive others, addicts can learn these skills. They include:

-- Dealing with uncomfortable feelings and situations when they occur, instead of letting stress build up. Often, this can be as simple as acknowledging them: "I'm unhappy that I have to work late, and I feel tired."

-- Taking pleasure in everyday life. This can include planning good meals, time for exercise, and time for hobbies or activities the person finds relaxing and renewing.

-- Attitude of Gratitude

-- Identifying support people with whom you can talk out stressful situations.

-- Planning your responses to high-stress situations (such as being offered a drink or a hit of a drug).

-- Recognizing and planning responses to stressful feelings (loneliness, anger, boredom).

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