Coping with stress and challenges is a big part of recovery—and life. Everyone has ways of coping, whether those methods are healthy or not.
Not every source differentiates between coping skills and defense mechanisms. However, coping skills are typically seen as intentional, conscious practices that people build over time. Meanwhile, defense mechanisms are unconscious ways that people have habitually dealt with challenges.
When in active addiction, many people unknowingly use defense mechanisms. In fact, substance use can be seen as a defense mechanism because it is a maladaptive way to self-soothe in the face of stress, trauma, co-occurring mental health disorders, or other difficulties.
A big part of recovery is building and practicing healthy coping skills, so that you can face stress without using substances. Examples of healthy coping in recovery are exercising, meditating, journaling, or talking to a supportive person or network. Triggers that remind you of your substance use may arise, but you can use these purposefully helpful coping skills to get you through.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you build the coping skills to thrive in long-term recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.