When my husband’s drinking became too much for me, I took the advice of a friend and found an Al-Anon meeting.
I needed to recover from the effects alcoholism had on my life. Al-Anon taught me how to change my behavior and learn healthy coping mechanisms that focused on me and not my alcoholic husband. Al-Anon gave me my life back, and for that I am so grateful.
Before I got into Al-Anon, I didn’t know how to deal with my husband’s drinking. His actions and moods affected me on a daily basis, and I was miserable. When I was feeling sad or lonely, I ate…a lot. I took up smoking, and when I was anxious or nervous, I chain-smoked while pacing up and down the street. When I was angry, I screamed and threw tantrums. If he didn’t follow through on something, I blamed myself and isolated for hours, eating ice cream and watching reality TV shows. These were just some of the unhealthy coping mechanisms I used to deal with his drinking. I had lost myself in his disease of alcoholism, and my life was completely unmanageable.
In Al-Anon, I learned there are many healthy coping mechanisms to aid your recovery and recapture life. For instance, if you are feeling uneasy, scared, or anxious, you can read Al-Anon literature, call a friend, or find a meeting. Or, if you’re feeling unsure or sad, maybe journaling would help. Exercising when angry or getting out in nature could be another healthy coping mechanism to aid your recovery.
One of the best healthy coping mechanisms to aid your recovery is to practice self care. We often forget about ourselves when someone we love is acting out from the disease of addiction. Do something special and healthy for yourself. Take a nice bubble bath, meditate, or be with positive friends.
If you are looking for healthy coping mechanisms to aid your recovery, this list may help:
- Find a meeting, pray, call your sponsor, call a friend in the program, be of service,
read Al-Anon Conference Approved Literature.
- Journal, color, play, laugh, smile, punch a pillow. Do something that doesn’t hurt yourself or anyone else.
- Practice gratitude – write a list of everything you have to be grateful for.
- Meditate, practice deep breathing, or just sit still. Sometimes sitting and doing nothing is ‘doing.’
- Clean out your pantry, a closet, the fridge. Sometimes when we clean the clutter, it helps un-clutter our minds.
- Practice self care: relax, exercise, take hike, or get a massage.
Start a list of healthy coping mechanisms to aid your recovery and keep adding to it. Your list will not only help you – but may help someone else. These practices are helpful whether your loved one has sought out treatment or is still in active addiction.