Look around any drug and alcohol addiction recovery. Most of the people have struggled because they used harmful coping mechanisms to deal with negative feelings, thoughts, or emotions. We all struggle with painful emotions or unwanted thoughts. Situations occur that are out of our control or at least are undesirable. We react in a way we believe will alleviate the negative feelings. These reactions are called coping mechanisms.
Importance of Coping Mechanisms
Your brain wants to feel good. When negative emotions occur, regardless of where they originated, your mind demands you act in some way. By choosing a coping mechanism, you will acknowledge the problem and actively seek to do something to get rid of the problem. If you are a person who tries to avoid negativity at all costs, you may deny there is a problem. You may do something to avoid dealing with the issue, like sleep, drink, or refuse to acknowledge the issue. In either case, bad feelings are pushed aside for a time. The brain can then return to feeling good. This reaction helps you maintain good mental health and emotional well-being. Unfortunately, if the coping mechanism you use is not healthy, the problem will reoccur, and may even become worse. A lot of times, professional help is needed to achieve recovery. Luckily help is available all over the country including a well know Texas alcohol detox program for those dealing with alcoholism.
Almost Like an Addiction
Women in treatment and men in a men’s addiction treatment program all understand addiction. What they may not realize is that their harmful coping mechanisms have become almost addiction-like. When you first decide on the way to deal with a stressful situation, it may be unfamiliar. The choice you make is deliberate, however. If the method seems to make things better, even if that is only a hypothetical result, you probably continued to use it. In time, your brain finds it difficult not to turn to that method of coping with negativity in your life. It becomes automatic. In this way, the method you turn to most becomes very much like an addiction. To break a negative pattern, you need to recognize it for what it is and make a conscious effort to change it.
Negative vs. Positive
Choosing positive coping mechanisms means finding a way to deal with adverse events that make you feel better and address the problem. These methods include:
- Using humor to see the funny side of an issue
- Seeking emotional support from an outside source such as friends, family, or a counselor
- Learning relaxation techniques
- Exercise to relieve stress
These methods help to clear your mind and enable you to view the issue from a different angle. Then, you can begin problem-solving.
Harmful coping methods may appear to alleviate an issue, but they only mask the problem for a time. The issue remains and often becomes worse because you haven’t dealt with it. If the harmful method involves escape methods like drinking or taking drugs, you add more problems to the original issue. When you sober up, you are still facing the original issue. However, you will also be facing the troubles that may have occurred with the drinking or drug use. Other than drugs and drinking, some harmful coping mechanisms include denial, self-blame, and even self-harm.
Behavioral Therapy Can Help
If you believe your addiction has been a result of poor coping mechanisms, talk with someone at the men’s or women’s addiction treatment program. There, you can discover how cognitive therapy can help you change your negative thought patterns. Then, you can make better choices in the type of coping mechanisms you use from this point outward.