Top 10 Recovery Mistakes You Must Avoid
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Drug addiction recovery can be a difficult process as addicts take the steps necessary to develop a drug-free lifestyle. Once a person leaves drug rehab, temptations abound in the form of old drug-using friends, old hangouts and daily stressors in general.
During this time, it’s easy to take a wrong turn and not know it. According to the King County Department of Community & Human Services, without the needed supports in place, people in recovery face a greater risk of relapse.
Knowing the types of challenges you’ll face along the way can go a long way towards avoiding costly mistakes in recovery. While the risk of relapse remains especially high during the early stages of recovery, it’s more than possible to work through whatever temptations and challenges that come your way.
Re-entering everyday life after rehab can be especially jarring. When using, it’s not uncommon for addicts to behave in ways that hurt the people closest to them. After having lied, manipulated and even stolen from friends and family, facing them will likely be one of the most humbling experiences of your life.
Feelings of shame and guilt can quickly become overwhelming when having to face the consequences of your actions head-on. Rather than act from this mindset, forgiving yourself (and others) for past wrongs will make it easier to make amends and start anew.
More than anything else, it’s important to make honesty a priority when dealing with your own emotions as well as when dealing with others. Once honesty starts to slip away, recovery’s foundation starts to crumble.
Associating with Drug Users
Associating with old friends who still use drugs is a recipe for disaster. The addiction lifestyle breeds its own social groups, atmospheres and occasions for using. Spending time “in the midst” of this lifestyle is the last thing someone in recovery needs.
Trying to fit in with the “old gang” may well place you right back in the addiction mindset where taking just one “hit” or drink doesn’t seem like such a big deal. Ultimately, building a drug-free lifestyle entails associating with people who don’t use drugs or other likeminded people in recovery.
For these reasons, drug rehab programs provide those who complete treatment with lists of activities and social events geared towards drug-free living. While making new friends does take some effort, many people you’ll encounter are also in recovery trying to start anew.
Too Much Free Time
Prior to entering drug treatment, much of an addict’s time goes into financing a drug habit, getting the drugs and using. Once a person enters recovery, large blocks of time will likely open up leaving him or her at a loss as to what to do, or where to go.
The old saying, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop” aptly describes the kind of trouble someone in recovery can get into when boredom starts to take hold. Establishing a daily routine made up of work, socializing and fun activities can help ward off boredom and keep temptation at bay.
Not Getting Proper Rest
The inability to get a good night’s rest can make the early stages of recovery all the more difficult to bear. Addictive drugs in general alter the brain’s chemical equilibrium and disrupt natural sleep cycles. Remedying this condition can go a long way towards easing the recovery process.
While over-the-counter remedies can be helpful in this regard, it’s best not to rely on any form of medication for sleep purposes. Instead, try other ways to relieve sleeplessness, some of which include –
- A daily exercise routine like walking
- Journaling issues and concerns that may be keeping you up at night
- Turning your bedroom into a calm, restful atmosphere
- Overlooking Drug-Using Triggers
While everyone’s addiction process differs, environmental cues and triggers play an active role in perpetuating drug-using behaviors, according to the U. S. National Library of Medicine. The same goes for both negative and positive emotional experiences, such as relationship conflicts or getting a promotion at work. Identifying drug-using triggers and developing coping strategies ahead of time can help in overcoming situations that make you want to use.
Unprepared for Gatherings and Special Occasions
Part of building a drug-free lifestyle involves taking part in social engagements and celebrating special occasions. More oftentimes than not, social get-togethers include some form of alcohol and even drugs. At some point, you’ll likely be offered a drink or a drug.
It’s best to know how you’ll handle these scenarios ahead of time rather than risk succumbing to a weak moment. There’s no shame in leaving if that’s what it takes to stay clean and sober.
Living in the “Big Picture”
Recovery is a process that unfolds with each passing day. Viewing recovery from a “big picture” perspective can actually make it more difficult to maintain abstinence on a day-to-day basis.
The perspective, “I can never use drugs again,” creates unnecessary pressure that may well work against your day-to-day efforts. Instead, approaching recovery on a “one day at a time” basis makes the recovery process much more doable, as well as practical.
Starting a Serious Relationship
While starting a new relationship can be an exciting experience, the recovery process requires the type of commitment that takes considerable time, focus and energy, much like a serious relationship does. For this reason, it’s best to avoid entering into a serious, romantic relationship until you’ve made significant headway in recovery.
Getting Overwhelmed at the Workplace
Reentering the workforce after drug rehab can be especially stressful, even in cases where a person is returning to a job. Stress and pressure encountered at work must be dealt with like any other kind of life stressor. Ways of dealing with workplace pressures include –
- Talking with your sponsor
Letting Difficult Emotions Fester
Many people turn to drugs as a way of coping with difficult emotions and/or past traumas. Ignoring or glossing over unresolved issues in recovery can quickly drive a person back to using again.
When this is the case, it’s best to seek out some form of ongoing psychotherapy or counseling. Ultimately, working through these issues should remain a primary objective throughout your recovery.