What are some sustainable copping methods to deal with depression/ addiction

I am currently three years into recovery from an opiate addiction. At first I felt amazing, but this was also because my life situation was better. Now that I am three years in and have gone through some trauma while in recovery I find it so much harder to deal with my depression while sober
Asked by Lana

Hi there! I wanted to thank you for reaching out for support through BetterHelp. It takes a lot of courage to seek help, and you should be proud of yourself for doing so! I wanted to preface this by saying that I am answering this question based on the information you have provided. If we were meeting for a therapy session, I would want to ask clarifying questions to gather more information about your situation. However, I am only given the information above. I apologize if I have misunderstood anything.

First of all, I wanted to encourage you for your sobriety. It is such a significant milestone to be sober for three years - that is amazing! I know you must have put so much work into this (and still are putting in the work). I am sorry to hear that you have experienced trauma during the recovery process, and I would definitely want to know more about the trauma if we were meeting. I do want to acknowledge that, and I can imagine the trauma makes it harder (especially while in recovery from addiction). I also want to let you know that it is very normal for things to be fresh and new at the beginning of recovery. I am sure it has gotten harder as time has gone by and you have experienced different life stressors come up. It is true that addiction can be a way to cope with life stressors, so you are certainly figuring out what other healthy coping skills work for you so that you can maintain recovery. I would definitely try to keep in mind that you have done hard things (such as conquering addiction), and you can continue to get through hard things! Sometimes, it can help to try to remember positive mantras as a way to cope with depression, anxiety, or other things like these.

It sounds like you are interested in learning about different coping skills for addiction and depression. Often times, coping skills can work for both addiction and depression (and anxiety, other mental illnesses, etc..). I would first encourage you to think about hobbies or interests that you may have had in the past (or now). Are there things that you enjoyed doing in the past that you may have stopped doing as much lately? Try to write out a list of those things, and then see if those could be helpful and if you would be able to do these right now. I would also encourage you to try journaling as a coping skill. Journaling can be so therapeutic, because it allows you to get out your thoughts and feelings onto paper (or typing). Try not to judge yourself and just allow it to flow freely. You can also work with a therapist to make connections between the things you are journaling about. Other ideas of coping skills include: exercising, going for walks, listening to calming music, cooking a nice meal, taking a warm bath, praying, meditating, playing a sport, window shopping, going for a ride, taking deep breaths ... the list goes on and on. Try to maybe pick one or two coping skills you would be interested in trying over the next week. Then, see how these coping skills affect your depression levels. Try to pin down the ones that help your depression the most, and then try to incorporate those more into your routine.

I would also encourage you to reach out to your support systems when possible. It could help to look into different groups in your area to be able to meet new friends - particularly focused on those who also may be in recovery. It could help to have people in your circle who can relate and understand addiction/recovery. I would also encourage you to consider starting therapy to work through the trauma, addiction, and depression pieces. There are options of individual and group therapy - I think either one could be beneficial for you, from what you have shared.

I want to thank you again for reaching out for support and I wish you the best on your journey :)