family counseling

Coping Skills for People Struggling With Addiction

When a family member is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is devastating for the entire family unit. Many factors can lead a person to turn to drug or alcohol use. From stress and emotional situations to traumatic events to outside pressure, if a person is struggling to handle any of these emotions or situations productively, it can be a factor that leads to drug use. Drugs are addictive chemicals that alter the brain’s state. They trigger the release of dopamine into your system, giving an individual a feeling of euphoria, which often helps ease the burden of difficult emotions. When a person is too dependent on that chemical reaction just to function and feel okay, that is when it becomes a problem.

The first step in family recovery and helping a person learn to cope with drug addiction is seeking substance abuse counseling. Through this process, a licensed professional will work with you and your family to help uncover the root of the problem and what leads to the individual turning to drugs or alcohol. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a common treatment method used. CBT is an evidence-based addiction treatment method that helps to uncover negative thought patterns that led to drug use, allowing the family to address these feelings head-on.

Once a person can get to the root (or roots) of their addiction and work to face those emotions head-on, substance abuse counseling will help them learn various coping skills to teach them more suitable methods of dealing with the emotions, triggers, and cravings. While full counseling sessions are highly recommended, our team has outlined some examples of types of coping skills that a family recovery counselor will help work through to cope with addiction.

Wait to Respond

Take a pause. When something triggers you, take a moment to respond. Breathe deeply, and try to clear your mind. Impulsive decisions are often irrational and destructive.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Part of that pausing should include some meditation and mindfulness. Using mindfulness techniques can allow you to focus on the present while you work through difficult emotions and clear your mind.

Keep Busy

Replacing negative and destructive actions with positive ones will keep your mind occupied and off of negative feelings. Being more productive with your time and discovering new enjoyable activities and hobbies will help you feel good.

Stay Healthy

It is important not only to stay healthy mentally but physically as well. Drugs and alcohol take a toll on your body and physical health. Eating healthy and properly nourishing your body will help you remain on a healthy path.


Exercise is also a great way to stay healthy. Physical activity releases those same endorphins as drugs and can act as a perfect substitute for that euphoric feeling. It also helps rid your body of the chemicals and toxins from drug abuse.


If you struggle with bottling up your feelings and thoughts, get them out on paper. Writing out your feelings is a great way to sort through them and help you overcome them.

Build a Sober Network

Going through recovery on your own is not easy. It is even more difficult if you are constantly around temptations. Be open to new relationships and build a network of sober people that you can trust if you need help.

Attend 12-Step Meetings

A good way to develop a sober network is through 12-step meetings. Attending a program can help guide you through the process of drug recovery.

Find Gratitude

This is one of the most powerful coping skills you can have to help your recovery. Focusing on the positive, who supports you, who loves you, and the things that make you happy will help you remain in a good mindset.

Talk to a Therapist or Counselor

If you are struggling with addiction, having a hard time finding a coping mechanism that works for you, or need somebody to talk through difficult emotions with, seeking addiction counseling will help you. Harmony Harbors offers family recovery counseling to help the entire family deal with substance abuse. Our team works to find coping skills that are most effective for each individual, and provide a platform for judgment-free communication between family members. Talk with us today if you or somebody you care about needs assistance.