Recovery from addiction, whether it’s recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction, requires us to truly emerge from the addiction a different person. During addiction treatment (or drug rehab), we have the opportunity to heal from past trauma and pain, and we learn to live and practice a more spiritual and conscious life. Once our time in treatment is over, we take these new practices into our daily lives.
This means we have to be on the lookout for things that could trip us up; those little crossroad moments and decisions that can easily spiral into a relapse. Here are 12 of the most common things you might do in early recovery that have the potential to destroy your hard work and put you in danger.
12 Things That Can Ruin Your Recovery
- Pretending Your Way Through Sobriety- This is especially prevalent on social media. Don’t try to pretend your life is perfect on Facebook if it really isn’t. If you can’t be honest about your current situation, don’t try to pretend.
- Believing Addiction is the Only Problem You’re Facing- Past trauma, co-occurring mental disorders and more could be standing in the way of your recovery. Don’t ignore these issues, as they play an important role in your recovery. It’s possible that you need continued therapy after addiction treatment. Be proactive and get it.
- Thinking Being Sober is the Answer- If you’re not willing to get to the root of your problems, sobriety won’t be the answer. You began drinking or using for a reason. Simply “resisting the urge to drink or use” is not the answer. Get help for root problems and new problems as they arise.
- Failure to Make Amends- Anything that causes that little “cringe” in our spirit, especially things that are left undone or unhealed, can lead to an unhealthy place, and eventually to relapse.
- Failing to Give Recovery Your All- You gave 100% of your effort in order to maintain your addiction. You have to give your recovery that much determination.
- Feeling Like You’re Special- Approximately 315 million people around the world use drugs. While only about 4 million people seek treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction, that is still quite a few people who share your same story. That’s one of the reasons why the recovery community is so close to each other- whatever our background, race or religion, we all know what it feels like to be in the grips of addiction.
- Isolation- Little by little, we can slowly drop our friends and mentors, one at a time until finally we become that same isolated person who fell into addiction in the first place. Isolation is never a good idea for anyone struggling with addiction. Often, our friends will try to reach out and we will choose to ignore their concern.
- Living Without a Purpose- During addiction recovery, giving into boredom or feeling like you don’t have a true life purpose can lead to relapse. Living without purpose can lead to feelings of hopelessness, depression, bitterness and anger that might drive you back to addiction. Keep yourself active and productive. Look for ways to help others.
- Putting Yourself in Dangerous Situations- It’s perfectly okay, and advisable, to protect yourself in early recovery (and beyond). Keeping yourself out of bars, alcohol driven parties and away from people who make drugs or alcohol a priority is smart. Don’t put yourself in situations that are dangerous, just because you think you can handle it. Example: Working as a bartender, just because that’s what you know, is not a good idea.
- Living in Self-Hate- We don’t always live up to other’s expectations- or even to our own. Living in constant disappointment with who you are and where you are in your journey can lead to giving up completely. Be kind to yourself. Be okay with where you are in your journey.
- Avoiding Help- “I’ve got this,” you say, as your recovery crumbles around you. Just because you completed 30 days in treatment doesn’t mean you are “better now” and able to go on with life as usual. Living in recovery takes effort and it also takes reaching out for help, again and again, whenever necessary.
- Failing to Understand How Powerful Addiction Is- Addiction changes the way your brain works and it’s going to take time and effort on our part to get to a healthy place, maybe for the first time in our lives. Making healthy choices, again and again, over time, will eventually create new neuropathways in our brain and the voice of addiction will become less profound with each passing day.
Why Are we Self Destructive?
There are several reasons why you may find yourself facing one of these twelve stupid (self-destructive) behaviors. Maybe life is overwhelming right now. Maybe you are dealing with financial problems or the stress of cleaning up messes made during active addiction. Maybe you just haven’t developed new habits yet.
Whatever the cause, reach out, get some help. Choose to see each difficulty as a chance to make new, better choices.
If you need help, or have already relapsed, it’s still not too late to turn things around.