When you think about it, recovering from addiction involves immense strength and courage, addressing the trials and traumas of your past, and accepting that there may be many challenges along the way. It can take a significant amount of pain and negative consequences to bring someone to the point of choosing to get help and begin a new life. Recovery is not an easy road, but it sure beats the “easier” path of using drugs and alcohol.
Because this new path does hold it’s the share of challenges – early recovery can be a true test of your inner resources. Below, we have 5 common mistakes – and how to avoid them – in order to fuel your early recovery.
1. Expect Immediate Results
The fact that you were using drugs and drinking alcohol in excess may have been a contributor to many of you problems, but the truth is – there’s likely more to clean up.
Addiction is a disease that involves and demands instant gratification. You wanted to use because you wanted to feel better – right then. Getting results that last, and results that you can be proud of, take time with anything – especially addiction recovery. The sacrifice of time and energy will take commitment on a day to day basis, not just Day 1.
Recovery can be everything you have ever hoped for, but it takes hard work and commitment; it isn’t automatic.
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2. Compare Yourself To Others
Without conscious effort, it’s easy for us to compare our worst attributes to the best attributes of other people. You may see someone who seems to have it all together; someone who is more physically fit has more money or is more attractive. However, there’s more than meets the eye. All you see is the surface of what those people are presenting to the world. You know what’s going on within your own skin, but you don’t know what goes on with other people. When you compare yourself to others, it’s easy to do so by looking at the external variables.
Don’t forget that every person – regardless of what kind of car he drives, what clothes she wears, or where he lives – struggles with something. Gauge your process by looking at yourself, rather than others.
3. Obsess About The Future
Prepare for the future but remain in the present. It’s a simple concept that is not so simple to follow – especially in early recovery.
Working towards your goals in early recovery involves remaining focused on the here and now. Think about what you can do right now to continue on your journey in recovery; what can you do right now to make tomorrow just a little bit easier to stay on course? Doing something today to improve yourself will make tomorrow a little better. Plus, you will go to bed at the end of the day feeling a sense of accomplishment.
Life is happening right now, make it count.
You’ve finally taken your health into your own hands, and are finally free from the addiction to drugs and alcohol. Not only is your physical health improving, but your mental health is too. But just because you are healing doesn’t mean you can take on anything and everything immediately. Early recovery is your time to truly adjust, and focus on yourself. It’s a time to discover what is truly essential and important in your life, and take on only those commitments. By doing so, you’ll alleviate pressure and feelings of overload that can leave you with an overwhelming feeling of wanting to escape.
Recovery isn’t a race – it’s an ongoing, day by day journey. Give yourself time to adjust, and time to discover more about yourself.
5. Think You Can Do It Alone
Addiction takes a significant amount of self-reliance: it’s a disease that often demands lying, cheating, even stealing – to fund it. The disease of addiction also involves the dangerous world of isolation. It is no wonder that when people first enter recovery, it takes strength to try to turn this mindset around.
In early recovery, reverting to this old thinking can lead you to believe that you don’t need to ask for help and that asking for assistance or even just an ear to listen – is a sign of weakness. Instead, it takes great courage and a sense of self-reliance to ask for help. It takes humility to admit when you are struggling, and leap of faith to turn to others.
It’s never easy to ask for help, but input from others and a helping hand is not only valuable but necessary in recovery. Building new relationships means creating a network of support from those who have gone before you. Looking to others who have also learned from others, means growing in your recovery.
Big results come from big efforts. Making a big, conscious effort each day to strive towards a life of recovery will help you to achieve results. Avoiding these mistakes and constantly making recovery and self-improvement your top priority will help you to get there.