For most recovering addicts, active drug users are prime dangers. Whether or not the users want to clean up, just being with them can restimulate old attitudes and behaviors and, of course, drug craving. Therefore, as much as practical, you should disassociate yourself, physically and mentally, from these people. This is often easier said than done. If it’s a problem for you, lets consider why.
First, maybe you don’t have other friends. Naturally the pull of old associates and old activities is strong if nothing is pulling the other way. So your need is clear; Use the group to make new friends and find new activities.
Second, ending close relationships can be very hard. It takes courage. It can hurt both parties. You may need to tell a person face-to-face: “We can’t continue to hang out together as long as you use drugs.” Get support to cope with the pain of loss. (Maybe the loss will help your friend see the light).
Some people also have hidden motives for continuing to be with users. Are any of these true?
- You want to show off that you’re clean and doing well.
- You still want to be part of the fast life—just not the drug life.
- You’ll prove your are an exception –old friends won’t influence you.
- You want them to influence you, because you want them to share the blame for your getting high.
These attitudes suggest that you need to think more about whom you want to be your reasons for getting clean, and what it really takes to stay clean. Honest self-assessment and reflection with a solid, trusted person you can talk to regularly – a counselor or special friend—might save you from your own hidden motives.
If you do have reason to be with users, remember TIPS
Truth: If the other person needs to know why you can’t spend time together, lay it out. “It’s not personal, but I just can’t be with an active user”. The truth can be told respectfully. And in the end it is the safest, clearest, and kindest message.
Information: You must know one critical fact: A recovering addict can be “reinfected” by an active drug user.
Priorities: The first priority is always to stay clean. Beyond that, what are your priorities? To help? To say goodbye? Keep them simple!
Support: If you are at all shaky, have a positive person with you. It will make a difference to all concerned.
FIND A HOBBY
The more stressful your lifestyle, the more important it is to make some fun. Having hobbies, things you really enjoy doing, can provide much enjoyment and relaxation. Also, on the most trying of days, your favorite hobby is something you can look forward to. So write a story, work a puzzle, maintain a saltwater aquarium, sing in a choir…the possible choices are endless. Find something you enjoy and do it.
Exercise is good for you and it makes you feel better. Do check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program, and be mindful not to overdo it. Regular exercise will provide an outlet for negative emotions such as frustration, anger and irritability, promoting a more positive mood and outlook on life.
— USE INTERNET RESOURCES
Think of your anger management skills as the starting point of an ongoing topic of interest. Just as many people watch the news or keep up with their favorite sports team, you could avail yourself of the endless sea of information on the internet. There are articles and personal stories, forums and chat rooms, free ebooks and dedicated websites. Just throw a few words into a search engine and see what you find. Something interesting always pops up within a few site visits
JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP
Find a group, locally or online. If you can’t find a group, start one. There is strength in numbers, and it will help you to spend some time with likeminded folks. Support ends up working both ways, because you draw strength from giving to others as well as you do when they offer help to you.
TALK IT OUT
If your anger is triggered, walk away and find someone not connected with the situation to vent to. Don’t hang around until you say or do something you will regret. Sometimes just hearing yourself talk about the issue with a good listener is a great anger management technique because it allows you to see the situation from their eyes. A little distance can help you gain perspective. Give yourself a few minutes to think about the issue and the advice your friend has offered. When you can handle yourself calmly, go back to whatever you were doing.
RELAX WITH CONTROLLED BREATHING
One of the most effective methods of relaxation is controlled breathing. When you start to feel your anger building up and taking control of your mind, remove yourself from the situation. Find a quiet place where you can be completely alone, and start by taking a few deep breaths in and out. This should focus you for the next step. Breathe in deeply for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly, pushing the air completely from your lungs. Breath in deeply again, and while breathing out, say the word “peace” in your mind. Repeat this breathing exercise until your anger is gone.
Start your day with an affirmation, something to aim yourself at your goal. Here are some suggestions, but please feel free to create your own. I am sure of my ability to do what is necessary to improve my life. Today is going to be a great day. I will make someone feel better about his or her self today. I am in charge of how I handle my anger. I will greet people with a smile today, and hope that it is contagious. JOURNAL A daily routine of writing about your feelings, the good and bad you experience, can really help you deal with anger. Many people with anger issues have learned over time to l