Worst Coping Skills for Addiction

worst coping skills for addiction

When you think of unhealthy coping skills, drug and alcohol abuse may come to mind. While smoking, drinking, and using substances like drugs and alcohol are unhealthy coping mechanisms on their own, other forms of behavior can also contribute to these problems. Our luxury drug and alcohol rehab in South Florida knows that being in addiction recovery is difficult and recovering addicts need to be mindful of their surroundings, who they spend time with, and how they spend their time. We’re sharing some of the worst coping skills for addiction and what people in recovery should do instead. 

Bad Addiction Coping Skills for Addiction Recovery and What to Do Instead

Many things can drive a person to use drugs or alcohol. Stress, peer pressure, mental illness, and trauma are only a few. Many people use substance abuse as a coping mechanism for these challenges. However, this form of self-destructive behavior only offers empty promises of relief and instead causes more issues. Developing coping skills in recovery is crucial to long-lasting sobriety. If you are currently in addiction recovery, below are a few unhealthy coping skills for drug addiction and alcoholism that you should avoid and some alternative things you can do.

Putting off important issues

We’re all busy and we have important things happening in our lives. Facing these responsibilities can be both stressful and challenging. Managing a family, finances, home, career, and health can be overwhelming. However, avoiding these responsibilities is not the answer. Putting off our obligations and procrastinating to get things done sets us up for failure in the future. While you may feel temporary relief when you don’t complete that last task, it’ll cause more stress when you’re faced with it last minute. 

Instead: The best thing you can do to avoid the stress of last-minute items and piled-up to-do lists is to organize yourself and avoid being spread out too thin. Buy a planner, set alerts on your phone, download organization apps, or use any method to keep your responsibilities organized and keep them all in one place. Not only can this prevent missing something important, but it’ll also prevent you from biting off more than you can chew.

Spending money 

Ever heard of retail therapy? Well, it’s not your friend. Many people attempt to fix their problems or fill the gaps in their lives by spending money on things they don’t need. However, financial problems are often either the cause or the effect of addiction. Emotional overspending can seem like a guilty pleasure, but it can become a big problem. People who overspend with no regard for the repercussions are called shopaholics for a reason. This is a type of addiction that offers a temporary high that quickly needs to be reignited when the charm of the purchase wears off. 

Instead: Instead of purchasing things, try to enjoy making things and giving to others. If you like handbags, learn how to sew your own. Learn how to make things that you can even sell. Overspending is also rooted in selfishness, as harsh as that sounds. And while you may not be selfish for other things, you may be taking money out of your child’s college fund or your retirement fund to feed your spending habits. Instead, you can also volunteer at a shelter or organization to receive the joy of giving back to others. 

Spending time with people who drink or do drugs 

While it’s important to have a solid support system of friends and family, you should avoid spending time with people who drink or use drugs if you’re recovering from addiction. Frequently spending time with people who drink alcohol or use drugs can wear away your discipline and increase your chances of relapse.

Instead: Although you don’t have to cut these people out of your life, you should be honest about your recovery and ask to spend time together doing things that don’t involve drugs or alcohol. True friends will be understanding and will want to cause as little temptation as possible. If you find that these “friends” are unwilling to work with you or are not understanding your recovery, then you should politely break away from them. 

Our high-end rehab offers residential substance abuse treatment that helps individuals with severe drug or alcohol addictions focus on their recovery. We can help you or a loved one get sober and take the necessary steps to long-term sobriety. 

Too much work and no play 

People coping with addiction may also begin to work longer hours to keep themselves busy. This is one of the worst coping skills for recovering addicts, and it’s all too common. While it’s great to get back into the work field after drug or alcohol addiction treatment, balance is also important. Too much work can cause severe stress and take a toll on your mental health. You may consider drinking or using drugs again to ease the tension.

Instead: If you want to keep yourself busy, take up new hobbies instead. Do something fun that takes your mind away from work. No deadlines, meetings, business calls, coworkers, paperwork, just fun. Hobbies can also provide great mental relief from the actual workweek. 


It’s common for people in recovery to turn to food as a way to cope with drug and alcohol cravings. Certain foods actually tend to produce a similar dopamine spike and feeling of pleasure as drugs, particularly sugary foods. There’s even plenty of research suggesting the addictiveness of sugar in comparison to that of cocaine. So, not only can certain foods become alternatives for drugs and alcohol, but overeating can also lead to problems, such as eating disorders.

Instead: Instead of using food to cope with drug cravings, stress, or boredom in recovery, it’s better to exercise, spend time with other people, or take up a new hobby to fill your time. If you’re truly struggling with your eating habits, however, speak to a doctor about options for treatment or care.

Withdrawing from people

Recovery comes with many emotional and mental challenges, especially shame and guilt concerning one’s past behavior. In cases when kids, separation, and divorce are involved, the emotional weight can be especially heavy on one’s shoulders. When factoring this, along with cutting ties with people who encouraged substance abuse in the past, can leave one pretty lonely.

Instead: Instead of withdrawing from people, building new, healthy relationships and making amends with people you may have hurt during active addiction can help you build a strong support system.

Ignoring your mental health

While experiencing moments of stress and anxiety is normal, constantly feeling this way can indicate a more serious problem. Addiction is often tied to poor mental health and mental illness. If you’re frequently feeling depressed, anxious, or worried, do not ignore it.

Instead: Instead of coping with drug addiction or alcoholism on your own, ask for help. At Seaside Palm Beach, we offer luxury mental health treatment that addresses various mental disorders. Receiving therapy or mental health care can help you drop poor coping skills for addiction and replace them with healthier ones.

If you’re battling the stages of addiction or mental illness, do not wait to get help. Call Seaside now at 561-677-9374 to talk to one of our team members about our luxury addiction treatment in Palm Beach.

Share this post