How to Get Through a Bad Day in Recovery

Everyone has good days and bad days. The trouble with having a bad day in recovery is that it can lead to a very long series of bad days. Life can pile on sometimes and when you’re in recovery, those times can make relapsing look pretty good. You just want to give up because what’s the point anyway? When you have a day like this, you have to do what you can to get through it sober.

The first thing is to recognize when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. This sounds obvious, but when you’re in the middle of an avalanche of bad, it feels like reality is against you. Reality doesn’t care one way or the other; you just feel stressed and overwhelmed. Like every other feeling, this one will go away. Taking a moment to recognize the difference between a feeling and reality won’t immediately make the feeling go away, but it will give you a chance to breathe.

Notice where you feel the emotion–is your breathing constricted? Is your jaw tense? Making the feeling physical makes it easier to manage. It’s no longer an ethereal presence but a sensation you can control to some extent. You can take a deep breath or relax your jaw.

When you are no longer in panic mode, or under the weight of total despair, you can think a little more clearly about your situation. Is there something you have to do that you are anxious about? What is the smallest possible step you can take toward completing it? If you do the smallest possible thing, you usually start to feel better. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You probably know someone willing to give you a hand in some capacity.

If it’s not some particular task oppressing you, but more of a general malaise, think about what is under your immediate control. Maybe you can make your bed or wash the dishes. Just taking a shower and putting on clean clothes can make you feel better about life.

Get out of the house and go to a meeting. Tell people what you’re going through and let them support you the way others supported them. You don’t even have to talk if you don’t want to. Just go and listen. If you can’t go to a meeting, go for a walk. Get some exercise. You’ll feel better.

Warren Buffett has a saying for when he’s mad at someone, “I can always tell a man to go to hell tomorrow[…] You haven’t missed the opportunity.” Then, of course, he almost always decides not to. Similarly, you can always relapse later; that option doesn’t go away, but don’t make that decision in your darkest moment. You will feel better later and you will be glad you stuck it out.

Daylight Recovery Services takes a holistic approach to substance abuse and co-occurring disorder treatment to address the physical, psychological, and spiritual facets of addiction and recovery. We ensure clients emerge from our facility with the proper tools and confidence in their ability to lead a healthy, enjoyable life. If you or someone you love is ready to break free of the bondage of addiction, contact one of our recovery experts today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.