Coping mechanisms are a part of relapse prevention and are often gained during the treatment process. As an addict/alcoholic enters recovery, they are provided with the insight and knowledge of developing a relapse prevention plan. In early recovery, cravings are common and the first line of defense includes using your knowledge of coping skills to avoid relapse. We’ve crafted a list of 5 effective coping skills for staying sober for everyone that is serious about their recovery. These coping skills for staying sober can help you overcome the mental urges to use drugs or alcohol during vulnerable or difficult times.

5 Techniques for Avoiding Relapse

1. Distraction – keep your mind occupied and wait for the urge to pass. Cravings don’t last forever and can be gone within a few minutes of you staying busy. Whether it’s reading a book, watching television, or going for a jog, such activities will help you keep your mind off the substance abuse.

2. Call Someone – if you’re part of a twelve-step fellowship, call your sponsor or a friend from within the fellowship and let him/her know how you’re feeling. People from your sober support network can provide guidance and advice along with motivation for not picking up your drug of choice, no matter what. Confiding in trusted family members also helps.

3. Relaxation – practicing relaxation techniques such as controlled breathing and meditation help by reducing stress which is a trigger for cravings for a lot of addicts in early recovery. Calmness will help you focus on what’s important in your life which is your sobriety.

4. Self-Awareness – by having a strong understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, you can channel your strengths during urges to overcome these thoughts and feelings. Improving your self-awareness of situations around you will help you better understand the triggers that create cravings.

5. Mindfulness – it’s important to remember that you’re in control of your thoughts and feelings. Staying “in the now” as opposed to projecting your cravings helps with avoiding the impulses to act on those cravings. This technique helps in managing an addicts/alcoholics emotional reaction to stress.


There are many more effective coping skills for staying sober and this is just an overview to help you get started. At USA RECOVERY CENTERS, we have years of experience in helping addicts overcome their substance abuse. Our treatment approach is evidence-based with a solution-focused approach, we offer gender specific groups clinically geared for preparing our clients for self-sufficiently. With a compassionate and caring approach to treating the disease of addiction, you will feel relaxed and at peace as you begin your inner healing process under our guided care. Contact our care coordinators around the clock for a no-cost private assessment from recovery specialists. Let’s begin to develop a personalized plan to help you stay sober for good.