Resiliency is the ability to bounce back when life knocks you down. Many men and women struggling with addiction don’t usually have a lot of resiliency. Instead, they might rely upon a drink when they are emotionally or psychologically triggered. Substances might be their coping mechanism to manage difficult emotions. Or drug use might be their way of covering feelings of loss or emptiness.
But in recovery, a person strives to stay sober, regardless of when they are triggered. This doesn’t mean that a person forces their way through the challenges of life. Instead, having resiliency means that you feel supported in facing your challenges. Or at the very least, you know how to get the support you need. You’re likely not feeling resilient if you feel alone, frightened, anxious, or fearful.
To give you a good idea of what it means to be resilient, here is a list of traits that go along with resiliency:
- Adapting to change easily.
- Feeling in control of your life.
- Bouncing back after a hardship or illness.
- Having close, dependable relationships.
- Remaining optimistic and not giving up, even when things seem hopeless.
- Having the ability to think clearly and logically under pressure.
- Seeing the humor in situations, even when under stress.
- Having self-confidence and feeling strong as a person.
- Believing things happen for a reason.
- Knowing how to handle uncertainty or unpleasant feelings.
- Knowing where to turn for help
- Liking challenges and feeling comfortable taking the lead.
Of course, someone who is in recovery, will have to build their level of resiliency. And it may take time to develop. You might need to first feel what it’s like to be supported by others. You might need to let others help you as you gather a network of support around you. You might need to get stronger inside and heal your family relationships and friendships.
If you want to become more resilient in your recovery, which in turn will help you stay sober, here are some suggestions to consider:
- Identify and write down what your personal strengths are.
- Spend some time being creative.
- Find ways to stay hopeful and positive about the future.
- Gather friends and loved ones around you who are willing to provide their support.
- Work with a recovery mentor.
- Be willing to offer your support to others.
- Develop trust with a handful of close friends or family members.
- Learn to communicate your needs effectively and clearly.
- Seek out knowledge about how to heal and grow.
- Be willing to ask for help.
- Learn how to problem solve.
- Develop the ability to say “No”.
- Laugh as much as you can.
- Stay open to new ideas.
- Find a hobby or activity that you enjoy.
- Learn how to express your emotions in a healthy way.
- Set limits for yourself (avoiding parties to stay sober)
- Stay flexible to life’s changes.
- Know how to calm yourself down when you’re upset.
These are suggestions for building your resiliency. It’s a strength that will grow over time as you continue to stay sober, grow, and heal.