Resiliency and recovery go hand in hand.
In order to maintain your sobriety over time, you have to be able to bounce back—and grow —from challenges and setbacks. That’s what it means to be resilient.
Or as the American Psychological Association puts it:
Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.
There are times when the recovery journey might seem like nothing but an ongoing lesson in adversity. There are cravings—often intense cravings—for the drugs or alcohol at the center of your substance use disorder. Twelve-step meetings, therapy, meetings with your sponsor (or the person you are sponsoring) all require a time commitment that isn’t always easy to work into the schedule with all of your other responsibilities. There are relationships that need mending, talks to be had, apologies to deliver, and rejections to endure.
Any and all of these things can start to chip away at your resolve to stay sober. But if you have developed resiliency, you will be better able to withstand the adversity that comes your way.
Ways to Build Resiliency
Sometimes we think personality traits or talents are innate—something you either have or you don’t, from birth. So if you don’t think of yourself as a resilient person, you may think there is simply nothing to be done about that. But fortunately, resilience is absolutely a characteristic you can develop and strengthen over time.
People who are resilient tend to have some things in common. Indicators of resilience include:
- Maintaining positive relationships and building a strong support system of friends and family
- Developing a positive attitude as well as a positive self-image
- Working to build good problem-solving and communication skills
- Setting—and achieving—goals grounded in realistic plans
- Effectively managing emotions and impulses
Reading that list, you may have discovered that some (or even all) of those things already apply to you. But there’s a good chance that some of them are areas that you could work on.
For example, many people who struggle with drugs or alcohol develop a bad self-image. Maybe you think of yourself as weak because you allowed yourself to become addicted. You might know in your mind that substance use disorders are not about willpower, but you might feel badly about yourself regardless. To be more resilient, you will need to work on developing a better self-image.
Getting regular therapy is a wonderful way to start that process. In therapy, you can learn strategies for dealing with negative self-talk and low self-esteem. Over time, you can improve the way you think about yourself. Doing so will improve your overall resilience, too.
Resilience in the Face of Relapse
Every person in recovery knows that the danger of relapse is always present. Even so, if it happens to you, it can be devastating and threaten to undo all the things you have accomplished during your recovery. But the more resilient you are, the less likely it is that you will let a relapse completely derail you.
Instead, a resilient individual will recognize a relapse for what it is: a setback rather than the end of the recovery story. A person who has developed their resilience will know they need to get back into treatment to reclaim their sobriety and get back on the recovery path.
We Are Ready to Help With Resilience
At Safe Harbor Recovery Center, we know that you may arrive at our facility at one of the lowest points in your life, feeling as though resilience is the last word that would describe you. But through compassionate, personalized, evidence-based care, we will help you see that you can put substance use behind you and can develop the skills, strategies, and characteristics—including resilience—that will serve you well on your recovery journey.
We will also address any co-occurring mental health disorders that may be contributing to things like a negative self-image. Working through mental health issues is a key to becoming more resilient—and to staying sober over the long haul.
When you are ready to reclaim your life through recovery and resilience, Safe Harbor Recovery Center is ready to help.