How to Build a Sobriety Toolbox

A “sobriety toolbox” or “recovery toolbox” is a general phrase used to describe the various resources and coping strategies that are collected during the treatment process. Sobriety toolkits are extremely important because they provide recovering addicts with strategies to help them stop the cycle of abuse.

Before the toolbox is created, addicts tend to use coping strategies that continue the pattern of substance abuse. Even when a recovering addict has stopped using drugs and alcohol, they may still practice other negative coping behaviors such as avoidance, denial, and compartmentalizing.

When building a toolbox, remember that yours will be entirely unique to you. Not only can you choose your own “tools” to add but also you can put your own spin on them.

In the sections below, we share ideas for the different types of resources that should be included in your toolkit. Feel free to pick and choose the ones that fit you best!

What to Include in Your Sobriety Toolkit

  • Support System: Your support system includes any single person or group of people who are supportive of your recovery. Examples include your therapist, psychiatrist, addiction specialist, sponsor, sober friends, family members, and inpatient treatment team. (Include the best way to reach them, such as a phone number or email. Even a picture of them works. You cannot, obviously, put them into the box!)
  • Activities/Hobbies: When you use drugs and alcohol for so long, it takes time to rediscover the things that make you happy. Great hobbies to consider are arts/crafts, music, movies, gardening, cooking, journaling, exercise, and travel.
  • Resources: It’s a good idea to have concrete resources that you can turn to when you have questions or need advice. Your resources might include self-help books/workbooks, online addiction forums, sobriety blogs, and addiction success stories.
  • Coping Strategies: You can’t let your emotions rule your decisions anymore. You need to confront them and deal with them. Ways to do this include self-awareness, mindfulness, mood monitoring, and meditation.

Emergency Tools

In addition to the above resources that should be included in your personal toolbox, you should also have tangible things that you can turn to in times of stress or high temptation. Examples of emergency tools include:

  • Fruity, non-alcoholic drink
  • Snacks
  • Stress ball
  • Essential oils
  • Lotion in a calming scent
  • Earphones for listening to music
  • Workout gear
  • Journal to write in
  • Printed copies of addiction success stories
  • List of sobriety meetings and times

Your sobriety toolbox will change over time. Some things will be added, some things will be taken out. What do YOU have in your toolkit?

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