7 Common Recovery Mistakes
Success in recovery is just as much about avoiding big mistakes as it is about doing the right things. You can have a solid recovery plan and follow it most of the time but one or two big mistakes can lead to relapse and other setbacks. The good news is that many people have been through recovery before you and by listening to them, you can avoid the most common mistakes.
Isolating yourself is the first big mistake people often make in recovery. Isolation can lead to loneliness, boredom, and depression. What’s more, everyone needs help to build a strong recovery. No one does it alone. In fact, having a strong sober network is one of the most important factors in long-term recovery. When you have a strong sober network, you have people you can rely on when you’re having trouble. Sober friends set the expectation that you will remain sober and they help keep you accountable.
It’s also important to involve your family in treatment and recovery if at all possible. Addiction is often fueled by dysfunctional family dynamics, poor communication, and poorly defined boundaries and addressing these issues is fundamental to a strong recovery.
Spending time with the wrong people
While it’s not a good idea to go it alone in recovery, it’s even worse to spend time with the wrong people. Many people go through detox and treatment only to return home and hang out with the same people they used to drink and use drugs with. They fear social isolation and they think they can handle the peer pressure. However, we’re all susceptible to peer pressure to some degree and if you spend time around people who drink and use drugs, especially early in recovery, it’s probably only a matter of time before you relapse.
People who drink and use drugs aren’t the only kind of negative influence. Some people just bring out the worst in you and it’s better to avoid them too. They may be negative or critical, make you feel stressed, or pressure you into bad decisions. Instead, try to spend time with people who lift you up, support you, and inspire you.
Thinking you’re cured
Addiction is a chronic condition that requires ongoing management. However, many people make the mistake of thinking they’re cured. You might feel like you’re cured once you’ve been through detox or once you finish treatment but these are just the start to recovery. They get the drugs and alcohol out of your system and teach you the most important tools for recovery but it’s up to you to do the work. Sometimes people feel like they’re cured when they’ve been out of treatment for six months or so and everything seems to be going fine. They start to imagine they can drink or use again in moderation or they may start neglecting their recovery plan and slip into a negative frame of mind. Recovery does get easier the longer you’re sober but you still have to keep working on it.
Not treating co-occurring disorders
About half of people–and some say more–of people with substance use disorders also have co-occurring mental health issues. The most common are major depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, ADHD, OCD, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, and schizophrenia. These often precede the substance use disorder and they may continue to drive addictive behavior unless they are adequately treated. Quality addiction treatment programs typically diagnose and treat these conditions but some programs don’t and 12-step programs like AA and NA aren’t designed to address co-occurring conditions at all.
Comparing your progress to others’
Since so much depends on recovering from addiction, it’s normal to look for signs of progress. Unfortunately, many people do this by comparing their progress to others’. Studies have shown that comparisons lead to more negative emotions. One study found people who made more social comparisons were more likely to experience envy, guilt, regret, and defensiveness and more likely to lie, blame others, and have unmet cravings. [https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2006-12888-004] Studies on social media have found that people who compare themselves to others are more likely to feel depressed and lonely. None of these emotions are helpful in recovery. What’s more, comparisons are meaningless because everyone comes to recovery with a different history, different weaknesses, and different strengths.
Worrying about the future
It’s normal to worry about the future, especially when you’re recovering from addiction. After all, recovery is about staying sober indefinitely, which is no small task. However, thinking about recovery in those terms can sabotage your success. Staying sober forever is too much responsibility and it makes people anxious. And you can only control your behavior right now. That’s why it’s crucial to stay focused on the present as much as possible. Once you’ve made a plan for recovery, focus on sticking to it now. Take one day at a time or even one minute at a time, if you have to.
Neglecting transitional care.
As noted above, you’re aren’t cured of addiction once you finish detox or treatment. Those are only the start of recovery. One major challenge many people face is making the transition from the structured environment of inpatient treatment back to regular life at home. Although many quality treatment centers offer follow-up care to smooth this transition, it may not be enough. It’s often a good idea to ease back into normal life by stepping down to an intensive outpatient program, or IOP, or a sober living environment. It’s also important to continue therapy for any co-occurring mental health issues.
At Patrick Hart Consultants, we provide a number of different services to fit the needs of each individual client. Among these, are helping you choose a treatment provider, helping you develop a treatment plan, helping you establish post-treatment support, and ensuring continuity among the different elements of treatment. Contact us today at 844-262-7970 or Info@PatrickHartConsultants.com or explore our website for more information.