14 Apr 5 Mistakes To Avoid in Early Recovery
Early recovery presents challenges. It is a time where you have decided to stop using drugs or drinking, but have only begun to learn the skills to cope with uncomfortable feelings that you may have dulled by using substances. The process of recovery is just that–a process. It has a beginning, but no end. Committing to the lifelong journey of recovery means not giving up early in the process when frustrations or setbacks are likely to happen. Some people arrive at the beginning of recovery all-in and full of hope. Others may take the first steps reluctantly. Avoiding these five common mistakes in recovery, especially in the early days, can help you stay committed and focused in your journey to lifelong recovery.
1. Setting the Bar Too High
One of the most common mistakes in recovery is believing everything will be fixed when you give up drinking or using. You may experience a range of emotions early in recovery. You may have hope and feel committed. Part of staying committed is thinking about your goals for the future.
While this is generally a good idea, it is important to remember that life won’t be perfect after recovery. You will have setbacks, frustrations, and miscommunications. These are not signs that your recovery isn’t working or that it isn’t worth it. The opposite is true–they are signs that you are experiencing life and participating in it fully.
Recovery means learning new coping skills to manage stress, get support, and maintain healthy relationships. Focus on learning these skills and remind yourself why you are in recovery.
2. Going Alone
It is impossible to go through the hard work of recovery alone. Many people who previously used substances to cope may have found that, in time, they were alone with their addiction. This isolation may be misinterpreted as self-sufficiency, but they are not the same thing. Real, meaningful recovery means using new skills to manage life’s difficulties. This can be:
- Sober friendships
- Supportive family and loved ones
- Support groups
Allow people in. Learn from others and let them support you. It is hard to be open and vulnerable, but the goal of lifelong recovery is worth it.
3. Spending Time With People Who Are Still Drinking or Using
Relationships are an important source of support as you journey through recovery. However, if you are still spending time with old friends who are still drinking or using, it may be a trigger that halts the progress you’re making.
Sometimes, people in recovery realize that the only thing they have in common with old friends is drinking or using. Your old friends may not be supportive of recovery or may not relate to you now that you’re sober. Instead of spending the time and emotional energy of navigating old relationships with people who are still drinking or using, invest that time and energy into yourself.
Nurture new relationships with sober friends and others in recovery. Spend time with sober family members who will offer you real support. Focus on a new hobby. Join a gym or running group, explore new music, or learn a new skill. Find what gives you joy and meaning and nurture the relationships with people who support your recovery.
4. Thinking You Are Cured
Another one of the most common mistakes people make in recovery is believing they will be cured after rehab. Addiction isn’t cured, only managed. The journey of recovery is a lifelong one. At times, it may feel easy and natural. At others, it may feel like a slog or something you can’t handle. Struggling with recovery does not mean it’s impossible. Expect challenges. Anticipate that you may struggle at other times throughout your life. Gather your support. Stay focused on why you are in recovery.
In time, you will learn the skills you need to manage stress, change, and disappointment without drinking or using. In early recovery, accept help and allow people in. You will need their support on your lifelong journey.
5. Giving In to Shame and Guilt
Many people in recovery experience shame and guilt as they begin to untangle themselves from their addiction. You may have regrets about things that you did or relationships you neglected when you were drinking or using. Recovery requires the vulnerability to feel these things and accept help to learn a new way forward.
Your relationships with people may change when you are in recovery. Some people may forgive you and others may not. It is important to forgive yourself for things you did before recovery. The work you do to move forward in recovery is the most important work you will ever do. If you live with guilt and shame, you may lose momentum or hope. Keep going. Get support. Go to therapy and encourage willing loved ones to participate in family sessions with you.
Your life and future are worth the work. Don’t let shame and guilt keep you from moving forward. And, if you do make mistakes in recovery, don’t be afraid to get honest with yourself and reach out for help.
Learn How to Avoid The Most Common Mistakes in Recovery At Our Delray Beach Rehab Center
If you or someone you love need help staying on the path to recovery, reach out to the staff at the Florida Recovery Group. We offer support to people at any point of their journey, including addiction rehab, partial hospitalization, outpatient, and ongoing support for people in recovery. Call us at 561-596-2366 to get started.