Three Bold Self-Soothing Techniques to Help You Stay Strong During Recovery

When you are planning to start an addiction-treatment program, you are bravely facing your addiction and making the commitment to do something about it. That's one of the most important steps of all. One of the good things about an addiction-treatment center is that you have support around you all the time and whenever you need it. Private counseling, group therapy, and 12-step meetings can all offer invaluable support. However, you have a formidable foe in the addiction, and it's important to be proactive about caring for yourself when temptation gets strong. These self-soothing techniques can help you stay strong when temptation comes knocking on your door.

Write Out Your Feelings

Keep a journal by your bedside and try to write out your feelings when you get upset. It may also help you to write in the diary at other times as well. When you have a private journal where you can write about what you're thinking and feeling, you can better process complex emotions.

Reach Out to Someone You Love

Call a loved one and open up about exactly how you're feeling. While this may not feel like "self" soothing, you actually are doing something wonderful for yourself. When you reach out, you may be making yourself vulnerable to someone else, but you are also empowering yourself in ways that can help you stay sober and face your problems head on.

Delight Your Senses

A powerful way to nurture yourself is to delight in the simple pleasures in life that tending to our senses can provide. Consider the following ways to soothe yourself within the realms of the senses.

  • Sight—Go online and look at beautiful photographs, paintings, and other imagery that gives you a lift. Better yet, if you have access to a garden or outdoor scenery that is lovely, go and savor it.

  • Hearing—Make a list of music that can immediately give you a lift. Some upbeat songs to listen to during recovery may include "Here Comes The Sun" by The Beatles, "If You Want to Sing Out" by Cat Stevens, and "Express Yourself" by Madonna. "Serenity" by Olivia Newton-John, which is the Serenity Prayer set to music, may also be a good choice since the Serenity Prayer is the prayer repeated at all 12-step meetings.

  • Smell—Few things are lovelier than smelling your favorite scents. Consider getting some scented candles or scented oil warmers. Choose scents that instantly take you back to a stress-free time or that make you feel happy because you simply love the way they smell.

Finally, keep in mind that you should speak to your therapist about any self-soothing techniques before you try them yourself. Since your counselor knows about your unique needs and has your best interests at heart, you can work with your therapist to develop additional coping strategies, too. Facing your feelings and coping with life will continue to get easier as you work with counselors and go through the program.