How to Manage Stress Without Substances: Tips for Those in Recovery

Addiction Recovery Journey

Addiction Counselling: How to Manage Stress Without Substances & Tips for Those in Recovery

At  Last Door Recovery Society, we specialize in addiction counselling, helping individuals navigate the stressful journey of recovery. One of the key skills we teach is how to manage stress without resorting to substance use. This article will provide you with some of our top strategies.

Recovery from addiction is an ongoing journey, one that may present stressful situations. However, it is possible to manage stress without resorting to substance use, and this blog post will provide you with helpful tips to do just that. Remember, you are not alone; our team at the Last Door Recovery Society is here to support you every step of the way.

Stress Management in addiction recovery, stressed out middle aged man

Understanding Stress in Recovery

Stress is a common trigger for substance misuse, making it a significant challenge for those in recovery. By understanding how stress impacts you and learning effective management techniques, you can navigate your recovery with more confidence and resilience.

1. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Through addiction counselling, one of the methods we often recommend is the practice of mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness is the practice of bringing one’s attention to the present moment, while meditation is a technique used to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state. Here are some actionable steps to incorporate these practices into your routine:

  • Start with Short Sessions: Begin with just a few minutes of mindfulness or meditation each day. You can gradually increase the time as you get more comfortable with the practice.
  • Use Guided Meditations: There are numerous free apps and online resources that offer guided meditations specifically designed for stress relief and addiction recovery.
  • Practice Mindful Breathing: Take a few moments throughout the day to focus solely on your breath. Inhale deeply, hold for a few seconds, then exhale slowly. This simple technique can help bring your mind back to the present and reduce stress.

2. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

During our addiction counselling sessions, we stress the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Physical health influences mental and emotional well-being. Here’s how you can cultivate a healthy lifestyle to better manage stress in recovery:

  • Eat a Balanced Diet: Incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats into your meals. Avoid processed foods, excessive caffeine, and sugary snacks that can exacerbate stress and mood swings.
  • Get Regular Exercise: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, such as walking, swimming, or biking. Exercise helps reduce stress and improve mood by boosting endorphin levels.
  • Ensure Adequate Sleep: Prioritize a good night’s sleep. Establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, and make your sleeping environment comfortable and conducive to rest.

3. Build a Strong Support Network

Having people who understand and support your recovery journey can be incredibly beneficial. Here are some ways to build your support network:

  • Join a Support Group: Participating in group therapy or a 12-step program can provide invaluable support and encouragement from people who understand what you’re going through.
  • Lean on Loved Ones: Be open about your recovery journey with your friends and family. Their support can be a great source of strength and motivation.
  • Connect with a Mentor or Sponsor: A mentor or sponsor who has gone through recovery can provide guidance and share personal experiences and coping strategies.

Managing Stress for Those Currently Using Substances

If you’re currently using substances and grappling with stressors, we want you to know that addiction counselling can provide the tools and support you need to manage stress healthily. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Acknowledge the Issue: The first step to recovery is acknowledging that substance use is affecting your life. You’re not alone in this journey, and it’s okay to seek help.
  • Seek Professional Help: Reach out to healthcare professionals or a trusted support network who can guide and support you through the recovery process. Last Door Recovery Society is here to help with a range of programs and resources.
  • Begin to Incorporate Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Start practising mindfulness, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and building a support network. Each step you take is a step towards healthier stress management and recovery.

Managing stress in recovery may feel daunting, but remember, you are not alone. There are many effective strategies you can use to handle stress without relying on substances, from mindfulness and meditation to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, building a strong support network, and learning healthy coping skills. At Last Door Recovery Society, we’re here to guide you every step of the way

If the pressures of life and recovery are feeling too overwhelming, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team at Last Door Recovery Society is ready to support you. Give us a call at 604-525-9771, and let’s explore how we can help you on your journey to recovery.


We invite you to learn more about our services by clicking one of the links below or reach to our admissions team for more information.


Additional Resources

You may find these additional resources beneficial:

Mindfulness and Meditation in Addiction Recovery:

  1. Mindfulness-based Addiction Recovery: A promising strategy where mindfulness training, developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, has been used to treat depression, improve performance and happiness, alongside aiding in addiction recovery. (USC)
  2. Natural High Through Mindfulness: A study highlighted that even in the popular 12-step addiction treatment program, the 11th step—seeking conscious contact with a higher power through prayer or meditation—promotes recovery from addiction. (University of Utah)
  3. Mind-Body Principles in Addiction Recovery: Mind-body principles, including concepts such as surrender, meditation, and gratitude, have been a big part of recovery movements like Alcoholics Anonymous since 1937. (Harvard Health)
  4. Benefits of Mindfulness: Mindfulness meditation involves suspending judgment and approaching the world with curiosity, which has various benefits in addiction recovery. (WebMD)
  5. Reducing Stress Through Mindfulness: Mindfulness training can reduce depression, anxiety, and stress, which in turn may benefit individuals in addiction recovery. (University of Washington)

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle:

  1. Dietary Guidelines for Healthy Eating: Emphasizes on a balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and a variety of protein sources. (CDC)
  2. Guidelines & Recommendations for Population Nutrition: These guidelines are designed to help individuals and families consume a nutritionally adequate diet and can be used to develop, implement, and evaluate food, nutrition, and health policies. (CDC)
  3. Lifestyle Approach to Healthy Weight: Encourages a lifestyle with healthy eating patterns, regular physical activity, and stress management for maintaining a healthy weight. (CDC)
  4. Healthy Eating Guidelines by American Heart Association: Provides guidance on making healthy food choices whether at home, grocery store, or restaurants. (AHA)

Importance of Support Networks in Recovery:

  1. Support During Recovery: It’s crucial to have a support system during the recovery from a substance use disorder, as the process can be long and challenging. (NAMI)
  2. Support Groups: Bringing together individuals with similar experiences, support groups provide a platform for sharing personal experiences, feelings, and coping strategies, which can be invaluable in the recovery process. (Mayo Clinic)
  3. Relationship Recovery: Emphasizes that recovering relationships is a critical part of addiction recovery, as relationships significantly impact the quality of life. (Psychology Today)
  4. Recovery as a Developmental Learning Process: The recovery journey is a developmental learning process where support networks can help individuals become confident navigators of their recovery path. (Psychology Today)

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