Build your sobriety toolbox!
Most people are not taught how to properly handle our bodies and minds and their ever changing state from comfort to discomfort. Instead, we strike a balance using the tools around us. These tools can be negative or positive and it is up to us to use the most appropriate to handle these changing states. For instance, some negative tools are alcohol, drugs, over or under eating. Likewise, positive tools include breathing and meditating. Being a teenager is a time of turbulent changes that require a well-stocked toolbox to ensure teens are coping in the healthiest most non-destructive way possible.
What is a sobriety toolbox?
A sobriety toolbox is like any other toolbox. The tools within will be able to help you maintain your sobriety. This toolbox is comprised of coping skills you can use whenever you feel your grip loosening and you are tempted to use.
To create your toolbox you must first create a list of your top ten coping mechanisms. Whether they are breathing, meditation, or exercise it is important to know what works for you. After you’ve created your list make copies and keep them in places you frequent. Remember, this list should be referred to when you come across an addiction trigger that drives you to use. For example, if you feel stressed a good tool for your sobriety tool box would be to try a breathing technique.
Why is this important for teens
Whether they are abusing substances or not this toolbox will help to provide teens with a healthy and productive system of dealing with their life. Too many people suffer from using negative tools to solve or relieve them of their problems. Creating a toolbox like this from an early age helps to instill these positive behaviors. Even those who have abused negative tools can learn to focus on new and healthy tools to positively deal with the issues in their life.
Looking for an idea how to create your sobriety toolbox? Here is an example to use when a feeling of panic is triggered and you need to remain calm.
To keep calm
Use these positive tools when you find yourself facing a full-fledged panic attack
Proper breathing has been known to help reduce stress and anxiety. If you’re caught in a stressful environment and need to quickly cool down the “Equal Breathing Technique” is a proven breathing exercise used by many yoga professionals.
How it’s done: Start by inhaling for a count of four then exhale for another count of four. This should be done all through the nose. Repeat this technique a few times to calm the nervous system, increase focus and reduce stress.
2. Essential Oil
The use of essential oils or aromatherapy to relax is a proven tool to positively reduce stress. Your sobriety toolbox can consist of both a physical and mental tools that aid you in withstanding triggers. Carry around a few essential oils like lavender, rose, bergamot or chamomile to smell when you are feeling stressed.
A mantra is silently repeating a word or phrase to yourself. It quiets the system responsible for your mind wandering, thinking of the past or even planning for the future. Mantras help to calm your mind and are a great way to reduce stress. Some examples of mantras are:
- Let it be
- I say “no” to stress and “yes” to ease
- I will stay calm and carry on
Building a positive sobriety toolbox is the best way for your teens to maintain a successful recovery. These tools will be the healthy behaviors that set them on the course of living a positive and drug-free life.