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Developing Coping Strategies

At the AToN Center, one of my roles is to conduct a “Psychology Group” with our residents. During one of these groups I engaged our residents in a brainstorming session to develop their coping strategies for cravings.

I stood at the dry erase board, had the residents yell out different things they would do rather than use and I furiously scribbled them down. Within about 5 minutes we developed an extensive list which included…

Walking, running, driving, yoga, walking the dog, throwing a ball against a wall, shooting basketball hoops, asking for a hug, calling a friend, calling another friend, calling a sponsor, calling a family member, calling a crisis line, deep breathing, meditating, preying, relaxation techniques, screaming into a pillow, crying, taking a shower, hot tub, sauna, swim, playing video games, solitaire, a crossword, doing Sudoku, eating a cheeseburger, eating an apple, drinking a glass of water, getting a massage, doing the dishes, laundry, cleaning out the car, starting a campfire, roasting marshmallows, listening to music, watching a funny movie, watching a sad movie, distraction techniques, cooking, shopping, reading, etc. etc. etc.

This wasn’t even the whole list. The point to the exercise is that there are options. Many, many options for coping, other than using drugs and alcohol. Take a little time and use your imagination.
 
Chad K. Cox, PsyD
AToN Center 888-535-1516