Substance Use Recovery: Making Changes, Coping with Uncertainty & Being Honest with Yourself

 In Colorado Spirit

Many thanks to Colorado Spirit team member, Ally Burdick, for writing this week’s post.

As a follow-up to our post in May 2021 , the Colorado Spirit Team at AllHealth Network wanted to dive back into the topic of substance use with a focus on the theme of recovery in recognition of September being National Recovery Month. We could not agree more with this year’s theme message“Recovery is for everyone: Every person, every family, every community”.

Substance Use as a Quick Releases for Stress

As we return to the workplace or school or continue our daily routines, COVID-19 still impacts our lives. We are all finding different ways to stay motivated, productive, and optimistic. It is normal to feel uneasy, stressed, or overwhelmed with all the transitions and uncertainty we are experiencing. As humans, we might be seeking quick releases for this stress. Basically, we try to numb out. We all do this, and, if you are numbing more than you find helpful, we want to share a few tips and considerations for changing substance use habits.

Being Honest with Yourself

Being honest about what you are thinking and feeling could be the first step towards creating a game plan. Be clear on the goals you set for yourself and avoid any grey areas that could threaten your health and stability. Examples might be setting a limit for the number of drinks you consume or the number of days you drink or creating a concrete strategy when your urges to drink alcohol or use substances are intense.

Preparing for Uncertainty

Preparing for change can be helpful because change can sneak into all facets of life. Making adjustments in substance use can take a toll on friendships, family and intimate relationships, work, and home life. The journey of change can feel intimidating and uneasy. However, perseverance and seeking the appropriate supports can lighten the overwhelming feeling change can bring about. This article gives some suggestions of strategies to prepare for change around substance use.

Truthfully, we all need help from others at some point or another, and there’s no shame in asking. Communicating with those around you about the changes you are making and ways they can help, can be beneficial. We know this is easier said than done. At the same time, you might be surprised about the ways others offer to help. You might also discover there are people in your life that are not in a place to be supportive and you can adjust your plans accordingly.

Recovery is for everyone: Every person, every family, every community

If you are looking to support a friend or loved one, here are some tips for assisting someone else.

  • Directly ask them how you can support them. Asking can reinforce how sincere you are about supporting them.
  • Encourage your loved one to seek professional treatment and support them as much as possible. Go to appointments with them if they are comfortable with that. You can also discuss their treatment plan and identify how you can help.
    Checking out the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Helpline page or calling SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP  (4357) can be one way to locate different treatment options.
  • Help your loved one build good coping skills and build a supportive environment. Modeling active listening, problem-solving, and verbalizing needs and emotions can produce an entirely different dynamic.
  • Don’t overlook your own wellness. It is easy to do this when we are focused on others, but in order to really show up for our friends and loved ones, we need to be in our best possible space. Finding support online can be tricky, but this link from Mental Health America (MHA) provides several online and easily accessible support groups for an array of different needs.

Keep Hope Alive

From hope, motivation is born, and manifesting motivation is the first component to making change. Help instill hope in your loved ones and within yourself by listening to inspiring stories, positive affirmations, and focusing on the future. Remember the power hope can bring throughout the process.

If speaking to someone would help, please reach out. AllHealth Network provides several ways to support you.

  • To speak with someone in the Colorado Spirit Program about stress related to the pandemic, please call 720-707-6789 or visit our webpage at allhealthnetwork.org/Colorado-Spirit
  • For information about other services at AllHealth Network or to get connected with ongoing behavioral health support, please call 303-730-8858. AllHealth Network is continuing to provide service via telehealth or by phone and our Crisis Walk-in Center remains open 24/7.

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and are in need of immediate assistance, please call the Colorado Crisis Hotline at 1-844-493-8255 (TALK) or text TALK to 38255.

How do you know if you’re experiencing a mental health crisis? Click here to learn about mental health crisis warning signs to look out for from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Be sure to follow us on Facebook to receive information about our free groups and get notifications when we post coping tips, mindfulness suggestions, and more.

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