Resilience is the ability to adapt to difficult life circumstances or events. Everyone has resilience in some way, shape, or form, and it is a skill that you can develop and make stronger through certain practices.
In early recovery, resilience is particularly important. After leaving rehab, many people find there are certain challenges in sobriety that are difficult to overcome. These setbacks can result in low self-esteem and disappointment, and in some cases, can result in relapse as people turn back to substance misuse as a coping mechanism.
Finding resilience helps you overcome these challenges and continue on your recovery journey. Here are our five tips for finding and building resilience in early recovery.
1. Build Strong Support Networks
Having strong support networks is fundamental to overcoming the challenges life presents. Supportive friends and loved ones can offer us advice on how to deal with difficult situations. They can also encourage us to keep going, stay strong, and assure us that things will be okay.
Developing bonds with others in recovery can be particularly valuable. Seeing how others have overcome their own challenges provides a source of inspiration and helps us find the same resilience in ourselves.
Attending support group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can help you develop these connections. Meetings are free to attend and take place in person across the globe and online, so you can find support wherever you are in the world.
2. View Challenges as an Opportunity to Improve
If you are experiencing a relapse, financial difficulties, or relationship problems, it is easy to feel like you have let yourself down or failed in some way. However, instead of feeling disappointed by setbacks, view them as an opportunity to learn and improve.
We all go through difficult times and act in ways we wish we hadn’t. Rather than feeling bad about yourself, look for ways you can use the experience to grow. Try and see what you would do differently next time or how you can change your attitude and behavior to handle the situation in a more positive way.
Look for skills that will help you overcome these challenges and take steps to develop them – and ask others for support in this. This way, you can leave a difficult situation feeling stronger and better equipped than you were before.
3. Practice Self-Care
When your mental health and overall well-being are good, it is easier to find resilience. It helps you to stay positive, appreciate your strengths, and remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Taking care of yourself can help you maintain good mental health in early recovery. Self-care practices include:
- Eating a nutritious and balanced diet
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining healthy sleep habits
- Yoga and mindfulness exercises
4. Practice Mindfulness Exercises
If you feel unable to cope during early recovery, you may be tempted to turn back to substances as an escape. Mindfulness is a practice that helps you cope with feelings of sadness and stress in healthy ways, so you can remain resilient and continue on your path of recovery.
Mindfulness is the process of letting go of the past and future and focusing on the present. You can develop mindfulness through breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and many other exercises. Being in the present moment helps the challenges you are facing feel smaller and more manageable – it stops you from obsessing over how it might damage your future or what the consequences will be.
Mindfulness is an evidence-based tool for building skills that can help with addiction and relapse, and it is often offered by addiction treatment centers. You can also access mindfulness courses online or through private sessions in most places around the world.
5. Set Yourself Achievable Daily Goals
Setting yourself small, achievable goals each day can help you build your self-esteem and belief in your ability to succeed. These goals could be as simple as going on a run each morning, doing ten minutes of meditation, or attending recovery meetings.
Building your self-esteem helps you find resilience in the face of challenges. When a difficult situation presents itself, you learn to believe in yourself and know that you have the skills to overcome it.