Healthy Ways to Cope When You’re Not in Control


There are undoubtedly going to be situations during your recovery that feel out of your control. In the past, these situations may have led you to turn to substances for relief. But now you have to learn how to cope with things in a healthier way. Learn how to cope when a situation feels like it is out of your control as you continue to navigate sobriety.

Adjust Your Sails

You might be familiar with the saying, “You can’t adjust the wind but you can adjust the sails. The idea is that instead of focusing on trying to control what you can’t turn your attention to the things that are within your control instead. No amount of worrying or effort will influence something that is already set, just like the natural rhythms of the wind. Rather, you can funnel the worry, effort, time and energy into the sails—the things that will actually make a difference in the situation.

Ground Yourself

Mindfulness is a good tool to take advantage of when you’re amidst a stressful situation that feels out of control. You have the power to use your senses to observe your surroundings and how they are impacting you. If things start to feel overwhelming, take a deep breath and use the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique: notice five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. As you bring yourself back to the present moment, you’ll feel in control of your thoughts and feelings.

Take Time for Self-Care

When you feel out of control as you navigate recovery, you may just need a timeout for a moment. Carve out some time for self-care. It could be phoning a friend, reading a book, channel surfing, going for a walk, taking a hot bath—whatever you choose, it can help you feel centered again when things felt overwhelming. This is a healthier route than what you may have done in the past before you started on the road to sobriety.


If you’re struggling to cope in healthy ways with things that are out of your control, Casa Palmera is here to help you. We have programs that can get you sober and teach you tools to help you have a successful, substance-free recovery. Call us today at (855) 508-0473.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.