Parents want to support their loved ones in their recovery as much as possible. Willing parents take the time to learn about their loved one’s addiction and everything it takes to recover. Quickly, parents learn that relapse prevention and recovery management is really about stress management. Everything and anything in the world can be a stressor for addiction because addiction is a disease of pleasure.
Stress doesn’t feel good. People aren’t typically excited to be stressed. People loathe stress, of any kind. Work stress, financial stress, emotional stress, spiritual stress, even physical stress. Though many researchers and scientists cite stress as a leading cause of death, it’s the many ways that stress affects the brain and the body, as well as the spirit, that is really the problem with stress. Stress is a natural reaction. We have stress responses in the body because stress cannot be avoided. Stress is such a natural part of life that the human body was evolved to adapt to it. However, many people have trouble adapting. People don’t know how to manage their stress.
For addicts and alcoholics in recovery, managing stress is essential. Stress triggers the brain with negativity, which then triggers the addicted brain to find positivity. The addicted brain associates positivity with one thing: pleasure. Drugs and alcohol create a sensation of euphoria in the reward center of the brain which sends strong signals of pleasure through the rest of the brain. That euphoria becomes the guiding light for the rest of the brain until the brain only wants to experience all the time. Thus, in recovery, when something is experienced as stress, it triggers the brain to want to cope with euphoria, or pleasure.
Helping your loved one manage their stress doesn’t include taking their stress away or taking care of stress for them. It means empowering them to use their own coping skills to change the way they are perceiving stress. Stress is made more stressful the more we stress about it. Reduce stress by encouraging your loved one to take a few deep breaths and practice just five minutes of mindfulness in order to take a step back and look at the stress objectively. First, ask them how they think the least stressful approach to managing this stress might look. Then, ask them if they think they are capable of taking that approach. Once they are able to recognize their stress as manageable they immediately feel less stressed.
Design For Change is changing lives one step at a time. Our residential treatment programs offer refuge from addiction by providing the hope of recovery. Clients are finding freedom through our clinically innovative program and focus on completion of the 12 steps. For information, call us today: (877) 267-3646