Coping Skills: Resourcing

Coping Skills: Resourcing

People with solid recovery find that having a toolbox filled with effective coping skills is an important resource. These non-chemical coping skills replace the old, destructive habits of using, numbing, and avoiding. This program specifically addresses Resourcing.


The definition of Cope:

To deal effectively with something difficult.

When starting down the path to recovery, coping with some of the realities of your life can be challenging. Many of us experienced life by numbing ourselves, so when we remove the harmful substance from our life, it can be hard to deal with certain situations.

Developing strong coping skills can help you get through the challenges. This program will give you an overview of one type of coping skill.


Resourcing is the ability to feel nurtured, relaxed, and calm within yourself. For people in recovery who have experienced trauma and addiction, it is very important to develop this ability to resource.

When we are resourced, we are more resilient, we experience more options, more ability to self-regulate and less apt to rely on addictive use to regulate our nervous systems. Try these resourcing tips.

Mindfulness Body Scan with Imagery

Mindfully check in with your body. As you scan from head to toe, notice sensations, emotions, feelings, and your breathing.

Next, go to a resource place in your mind by thinking of a calm, safe place, a memory, or even a fantasy. Use your five senses to experience this place. For example: If you think of a beach, picture the sight of the water, see the color of the blue sky and green palm trees, hear the sound of the waves crashing ashore, smell the scent of the salt air, feel the sensation of a pleasant breeze upon your face or the warmth of the sun upon your skin, and the taste the tart sweetness of a cold lemonade.

As you are experiencing this, anchor this resource by holding an object that represents that place. In the above example, you might use a small seashell, for instance. Then each time you hold that object, it strengthens the association of the sensory images with the object.

Through repetition this resourcing skill, you will be forming new neural pathways – literally changing your brain. TIP: At first, practice resourcing several times a day to anchor the images to the positive emotions.

Eventually, just holding the object may be enough to trigger the positive emotions associated with that imagery.

Safe and Healthy Activities

Make a list of safe, healthy activities, people and places that leave you feeling safe, happy and relaxed. The list might include:

  • People that help you to feel connected or loved when you contact them.
    Who is one person who you feel connected or safe with?
  • Spiritual activities that make you feel better. Keep in mind that these do not always have to be related to a specific religious belief; sometimes just a “walk in nature” can be the connection you need.
    What is one "spiritual" activity that makes you feel better?
  • Special places you like to go. Most of us have a place that evokes good memories, or somewhere where we just feel safe.
    What are some places where you always feel good or safe? List them here, and return to this program when you need a reminder of where your "happy" places are.

Holding Ice

For stronger emotional triggers or overwhelming emotional moments, hold ice in your hand. The intensity of the sensations from holding ice distracts from the intensity of your emotions and the urge to act out. Over time, those that use this ice-holding technique learn to put some space between these


In order to be successful in your recovery from addiction and build a life of promise, you need to acquire and grow strong coping skills. When you expand your ability to deal with tough situations, you'll find that you can make it through almost anything without relapsing.

Building coping skills takes practice, so be patient with yourself. Remember to set attainable goals, so when choosing skills to work on, make a list of steps to achieve it, and work your way through that list a step at a time.

Your To Do List

  • Practice coping by resourcing

Keep learning about coping skills and read Coping Skills: Social Connections.

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