We’ve all experienced stress in some way or another: an intense amount of pressure can build up within us, causing us to experience backaches, stomachaches, headaches, frustration issues and more. In fact, previous studies have explored the issue of stress and have found that the political climate, along with work expectations and financial issues, are among some of the most common factors of stress in today’s society. Even in addiction recovery, stress can pile on – with so much to do, expectations to perceivably meet and hopes to fulfill, it’s no wonder we’re stressed! Not only this, but there are some things we may be doing subconsciously that is adding to our stress without us knowing it:
Choosing to Avoid Treatment
If stress continues without appropriate intervening, symptoms of mental illness can either emerge or worsen. When we put off the inevitable, we’re essentially forcing our mind, body, and spirit to continue to withstand the immense damage that’s being caused by addiction. The “high” may seem to work for a short period of time – but internally, we’re crying out for help. If you continue putting off seeking treatment, you’re likely finding that it’s hard to keep telling “lies” about how you’ll seek help, how you’ll get better – and the cycle just continues.
Without realizing it, substances such as illicit drugs, prescription medications, and alcohol can become part of our daily lives in an attempt to lessen the intensity of stress. Some people might even say that they didn’t realize they’d be on the path of substance abuse until they were prescribed a particular medication for anxiety, depression or other health concerns – but over time, the relaxation provided by these medications was convincing enough for them to pursue a path of addiction. Of course, the problem with this is that once addiction has settled in, it’s hard to leave – and the stress of having to maintain finances for continuous substance supply, in addition to being unable to do things you previously enjoyed unless you have substances, can hold you back in daily life.
Not only can substance abuse hurt a person financially, but it can also open up more doors for mental illness and other types of substance abuse. Abusing alcohol to relieve stress can also lead to the development of alcoholism, which only further perpetuates stress as it becomes a harsh cycle that’s hard to break.
Withholding Self-Care Activities
Most Americans tend to treat self-care as a luxury – we skimp on meals, we avoid going to sleep at a bedtime that would really help us rejuvenate, and we allow ourselves to slump into these unhealthy pattern of routine when what we really need is a boost. When our stress levels have peaked, it seems like everything is a problem – and that can really spark us to have relationship problems, workplace issues, self-medication concerns and a general feeling of unhappiness with our daily lives. Rather than treating ourselves – and others – poorly because we’re stressed, there are a number of things we can do in addiction recovery to improve our outlook on life and our internal wellbeing:
All too often, we suppress feelings or events of our lives because we fear they’re too painful to face. We bury them deep down inside of us, and we fear that others won’t understand the struggles that we’re going through. 12-Step programs, SMART, and Refuge meetings can provide us with proper structure and support to push forward and meet our recovery goals – and by relying on others, we’re better able to build a stronger sense of community, too.
12-Step programs are centered on building a stronger, loving relationship with God or another Higher Power. In fact, previous studies have shown that the greater participation in 12-Step programs, the less the chance of relapse – in addition to this, the greater the chance of abstinence and success in recovery. Additionally, SMART and Refuge meetings have become very popular 12-Step alternative recovery communities and are a good way to “find your tribe.”
All too often, stress can take us away from the present moment and can cause us to live in the past or future; when we do this, however, we’re neglecting ourselves from the opportunity to grow with who we are, where we’re currently at. We’re too busy focusing on something else to focus on our personal healing and growth – and mindfulness can help us regain some of that back so that we can experience complete transformations.
There are a number of holistic approaches that center around mindfulness, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic services, yoga, meditation and more. Even in therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help clients in addiction recovery to identify thoughts that haven’t been helping them so that they can work towards thoughts that improve their mental state of wellbeing.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to seek help. At Burning Tree Ranch, we specialize in long-term care that produces real results, especially for those who have experienced a relapse. Here you will find a team of qualified and compassionate professionals, ready to help each client through a customized treatment program that addresses all aspects of addiction, including the identification of co-occurring disorders. We know that the journey towards recovery doesn’t end with the conclusion of an inpatient program, which is why we provide extensive aftercare programs to best support our clients during their transition into lasting sobriety. We also know that addiction affects the whole family, and therefore loved ones are encouraged to participate in the recovery process and take advantage of all our support resources. For more information, call us today at 512-285-5900.