Early recovery is quite an interesting – and often tumultuous – time. You will be adapting to an entirely new way of life, and learning to live a happy and fulfilling life without the use of drugs or alcohol. This is more rewarding than anything you will ever experience, no question, but it can also be difficult to navigate. Fortunately, you will have an ample amount of sober supports surrounding you at all times; men and women who have been where you are now, and who will gladly offer you all of the guidance and encouragement you need to overcome the obstacles that tend to go hand-in-hand with early recovery.
At Intrepid Detox Residential, we work hard to instill each and every one of our clients with the tools he or she needs in order to stay sober long-term. We teach healthy coping mechanisms, crucial life skills and relapse prevention skills. However, we understand that individuals often need to learn for themselves. Still, there is no harm in offering a little bit of friendly advice. If you are new to addiction recovery, here are 20 things to avoid doing at all costs!
20 Things to Avoid in Addiction Recovery
- Avoid spending time at the bar. This one seems like it would be self-explanatory, but it is not uncommon for those in early recovery to make friends with “normies” (people that can safely drink), and convince themselves that a couple games of pool won’t do any harm. Stay away from the bar until you have wrecked through all 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous – then reassess the situation.
- Don’t assume that you can handle your problems on your own. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask for it. Sometimes ego can get in the way and prevent us from reaching out when we need to. Avoid convincing yourself that you have it all figured out and that you can do things on your own. When it comes to early sobriety this simply isn’t the case.
- Try to avoid getting into a relationship within the first year of sobriety. This is a suggestion that you will hear time and time again in the rooms of AA. There are many reasons to avoid getting into a relationship while in early sobriety. The number one reason? Despite what you might think, you are liable to get your heartbroken – and heartbreak is a serious relapse trigger.
- Avoid skipping meetings. It is recommended that men and women who are new to sobriety attend at least one meeting a day for a very good reason. Not only will doing so keep you accountable, but as the saying goes, “Meeting makers make it.” This essentially means that as long as you keep showing up on a daily basis you are far more likely to stay sober. Of course, you are even more likely to stay sober if you work through the steps with a sponsor.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. This is a tough one. After months or years or decades of active addiction, beating yourself up is probably second nature. Try to go easy on yourself. Be gentle. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can, and that things will get a lot easier as you progress in your recovery.
- Don’t hang around your old drinking or drugging buddies. This one is a no-brainer. There are few things more triggering than hanging around people you used to use with.
- Try to avoid doing things that you know will hurt your self-esteem. Sometimes it is true that old habits die hard, but if you do everything in your power to consistently make the right choice and do the right things, you will start to feel your sense of self-worth inflate.
- Try to avoid making any major changes within the first year of your sobriety. This could mean accepting a major promotion at work, moving out-of-state or getting a divorce.
- Don’t worry too much about what the future holds or linger too much on the past.
- Avoid blaming yourself for every little thing that goes wrong.
- Try not to make excuses for bad behavior. If you mess up, own it. Guess what? You probably will mess up. You might find that you’re experiencing mood swings and treating people (who don’t deserve it) with a lack of respect.
- Don’t give up on yourself! You can do it. Seriously.
- Try not to overthink things. This is also a very tough one. Recovering addicts and alcoholics love to get stuck in their own heads. They mull things over and over and over again until they convince themselves of something that isn’t true. If you catch yourself overthinking, get outside and take a walk or give your sponsor a quick call.
- Try not to give advice when you have no idea what you’re talking about. Instead, ask for advice. This is another “ego thing.” We like to think we know everything, but the truth of the matter is that when we’re in early recovery we really have no idea what we’re talking about!
- Don’t feed into rationalization. You know that little voice in the back of your head that tells you, “I can have one… just one.” Ignore it at all costs!
- Don’t jump ahead in your stepwork. This advice pertains mostly to “making amends.” As soon as you get sober, you will probably want to call everyone you have ever wronged and let them know how well you’re doing and how sorry you are. Hold off on that!
- Try not to expect too much during your first year of sobriety. The really good stuff will happen after you have worked through the 12 steps and have given yourself ample time to heal on an emotional, mental and spiritual level.
- Try to avoid becoming complacent. This basically means assuming that you are “good to go,” and staying stagnant in your recovery program. As soon as you get complacent, you’re in trouble.
- Don’t forget to pray. Prayer and meditation are absolutely key to success in early recovery. We recommend praying once in the morning and once in the evening so that you ultimately fall into a structured routine. Meditation practices will vary on a person-to-person basis, but it can be very fun to spend time discovering what works for you.
- Avoid stewing in self-pity. Stay grateful! You’ve got it made. You’re healthy and sober and you’re on the right track – finally.
Intrepid Detox Residential and Early Recovery
At Intrepid Detox Residential, our comprehensive recovery program is geared towards instilling men and women of all ages and walks of life with the tools they need to stay sober long-term. As early on as the medical detox phase of recovery, we utilize therapeutic treatment methods that help individuals overcome substance dependency once and for all. If you have questions about our program of recovery, or if you or your loved one is ready to commit to an entirely new way of life, give us at Intrepid Detox Residential a call today. We look forward to speaking with you soon!