Twelve Ways to Keep Your Cool When Sobriety Gets Hard

It is not uncommon to become angry and lose your cool, especially when sobriety gets hard. Keep reading to learn why sobriety can get hard, why you might become angry, and tips to help you keep your cool.

If you or your loved one need a safe space to recover from addiction, contact Myrtle Beach Recovery to learn more about our short- and long-term recovery programs.

Why is Sobriety So Hard?

You might think it is a simple matter to avoid the drugs or alcohol that took you to such an undesirable place in life. But it only seems simple to those who have never experienced the strong grip that addiction has on your ability to do what you know is best. Many factors contribute to the difficulty of getting sober and staying sober. These include:

  • Loneliness. Deciding on sobriety is often a decision to be alone. With the commitment to walk a new path, you maty find yourself on it alone in the beginning.
  • Expectations. It is natural to have unrealistic expectations of the difficulty of sobriety. You soon learn that your goal is not a one-time achievement but a lifelong pursuit.
  • Shortcuts. We’re used to finding shortcuts to make hard things easier and quicker. Sobriety offers no shortcuts. Instead, you go through all the stages, experience all the emotions, and all the stress.
  • Confidence. Addictions have their unique way of robbing you of confidence and self-esteem. Both are essential to sobriety and will slowly rebuild as you move slowly on the sobriety path.

Why Do People Lose Their Cool?

Getting sober isn’t the only reason people get angry. Everyone has their triggers and can lose control of their emotions. However, the difficulty of sobriety after an addiction presents its challenges to keeping your cool. You might experience anger due to:

  • Loss of anesthesia. Anesthesia comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “without sensation.” Drugs and alcohol numb you to pain and hurtful emotions. Sobriety exposes your raw emotions and pushes you to experience them. This often causes angry outbursts until you learn to cope in a healthy way.
  • Loss of control. Until children learn better, they lose their cool and throw tantrums when they don’t get the toy off the store shelf. Drugs and alcohol are the toys on the shelf for the addict, and you are accustomed to getting these when you want them. Irritability and anger occur when you feel like you’ve lost this control and the answer to getting what you want is “no.”
  • Loss of perspective. When sobriety gets hard, you can lose perspective on the past. The life of addiction can suddenly not seem so bad. You are now following rules that you didn’t follow before. You can become resentful and angry when you think your present life is worse than your past life of addiction.

How Can You Keep Your Cool When Sobriety Gets Hard?

Here are twelve ways to help you keep your cool when sobriety gets hard.

  1. Build supportive, positive, and healthy relationships with others. The transition from toxic to healthy relationships presents a challenge but is crucial to successful addiction recovery. You can learn and benefit from relationships built on honesty, respect, trust, and open communication.
  2. Use your energy to take positive action each day, such as doing a favor for someone. Taking deliberate action builds confidence and self-esteem, and it makes the world a better place. Small things such as writing a letter to further a cause that you care about can make an enormous difference in the cause and your life.
  3. Get regular exercise. Eliminating drugs and alcohol changes your body chemistry and can leave you feeling nervous, depressed, and stressed. Exercise releases powerful endorphins that are natural chemicals that elevate mood, reduce stress, and increase your energy.
  4. Eat a regular, balanced, healthy diet. Feeding your body the proper nutrients throughout the day enables your body and brain to function normally. Sobriety gets hard, and you can prepare for it by eating a healthy diet.
  5. Meet regularly with a support group. Sharing your experience and learning from others helps you cope with your fears. You also benefit from knowing you may help others.
  6. Avoid people, places, and situations that invite temptation. Constantly facing temptation increases the chance of relapse. Surround yourself with the people, places, and activities that support your addiction-free life.
  7. Get sufficient sleep. Disrupted sleep patterns make sobriety especially difficult. Studies show that getting quality sleep is one of the most important things you can do in addiction recovery.
  8. Spend time outdoors. The benefits of spending time outdoors include improved focus, better sleep, and reduced stress.
  9. Seek counseling to discover your anger triggers. Managing your triggers with the help of a professional counselor can help you keep your cool more consistently when sobriety gets hard.
  10. Repeat a helpful word or phrase, such as “Relax” or “Everything’s ok,” when you feel like you’re losing your cool. Develop the habit of taking a deep breath when you’re about to lose your cool. Then repeat a calming word or phrase to yourself.
  11. Keep a daily journal. Studies have shown that keeping a daily journal helps you cope with emotions. Expressing your feelings on paper enables you to discover your triggers and improve your ability to keep your cool.
  12. Celebrate your victory over anger each time you conquer it. Nobody controls their emotions perfectly each day during recovery. It is important to celebrate those times you walk away or bite your tongue when you’re about to lose your cool when sobriety gets hard.

Consider Myrtle Beach Recovery

If you or your loved one need a safe space to recover from addiction, contact Myrtle Beach Recovery to learn more about our short- and long-term recovery programs.