What supportive items are in your recovery toolbox?  As we grow in our recovery, we add specific tools (skills) to our boxes.  Below is a list of items geared to have supportive purposes to add to your toolbox.

5. Volunteering

Volunteering offers socialization, community, and skillset building, as well as a strong feeling of doing something good. “Giving back” is a term often heard. Many organizations, causes and events offer opportunities to volunteer. Volunteering can be customizable to suit a wide variety of needs. For those looking for employment, this is a great way to get your foot in the door. Places to find opportunities to volunteer include animal shelters, zoos, churches, local mental health/recovery boards, local consumer-operated services, public events, organizations, state/metro parks, schools, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and more. 

4. Google Platform

For the techies, Google Docs allows users to create documents and spreadsheets where you can log your moods, feelings, goals, notes, journals, and symptoms (similar to Microsoft Word and Excel). Save the documents to Google Drive (accessible by any Drive enabled device, download Drive online) and recall them during the appointment, or when needed. Google Calendar is also a great way to keep track of a variety of things:  appointment times, medication times, moods, feelings, hobbies, goal tracking, etc. You can also set whom you share this calendar with (if you choose to share it). Google + offers the ability to build a profile and network with individuals. You can even create or join Hangouts, where you can see the people you are talking to by the camera on their devices (similar to Skype, with the ability to add more than one person to a Hangout). The Google platform is accessible by any computer or Android or iOS device, making it very versatile. Best of all, it is free!

3. Recovery Apps for Your Smartphone and Tablet

Reachout – Social support app for people with health issues such as: cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, as well as mental illness and substance abuse issues. Users can share and read stories and interact with each another.

PTSD Coach – By the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD, this app tracks your PTSD symptoms over time and has tools for management.

Optimism -Self-tracking for mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. Detect patterns in mood, triggers, and create a wellness plan to help manage your mental health.

SAM Self-Help for Anxiety Management – Record your anxiety levels and identify triggers. Over 20 self-help options to use for physical, emotional, and mental symptoms of anxiety. You can build a customized “toolbox” of the app’s features that work best for you. Use the social cloud feature to share your story with others.

Secret of Happiness — Has a strong focus on gratitude to relieve depression and anxiety. The app alerts you (at times you can set) to reflect and record the things in the last 24 hours that you are grateful for (evening), and your goal for the day ahead (morning).

Code Blue – Designed to provide teenagers struggling from depression or bullying with support when they need it. Users choose contacts and build their support group. The app alerts the support group that a user needs immediate help. Members of the support group reach out to the user. The app shares the user’s location with the support group and members can indicate that they are on their way to see the user in person.

Breathe2Relax (no website available) – For stress management, by walking users through breathing exercises to help to reduce stress, control anger, and manage anxiety.

2. Local Fellowship Groups

These are groups of like-minded individuals sharing similar interests. These groups can be of anything:  religious (faith-based) groups, 12-Step groups, special interest clubs (books, knitting/quilting, poetry/spoken word, photography, journaling, and social media on anything that might strike your fancy (including peer support). A great way to have conversations, share a common interests, and not feel alone.

1. Local Drop-in Recovery Center/ Consumer Operated Service (COS)

A great place were individuals in recovery with mental illness, addiction and/or trauma, can be safe, socialize, play games, watch movies, hop on a computer, sit in on a group, gain information/resources and access Peer Support. A solid solution to the hangout spot to work on what you need to. It could be one day a week, once a month, or every day!  Check with your local mental health/recovery boards for a location nearest you.

What do you use in your recovery toolbox? Please let us know in the comments below.