The drugs are gone. The alcohol is out of your life. You’re sober. Now what?
You’re ready to make a new life for yourself that doesn’t revolve around drugs. What should that life look like? The details are different for each person in recovery. However, there are things you should avoid.
Early Recovery No-No’s
The following mistakes are common; they make your life in early recovery a difficult path and can easily lead to relapse. Without further ado, here are three things you’ll want to steer clear of as you start your newly sober life:
You’ve probably heard the “rule” about relationships in recovery. ‘Don’t start a romantic relationship in your first year of sobriety.’ This standard is not an attempt to make you lonely, ruin all your fun, or make you pass up a chance with your soul mate. It’s a guideline designed for your own good.
Starting a new relationship makes you extremely vulnerable. You’re dealing with a lot right now – roller coasters of emotion, frustration, and stress. A romantic relationship increases these feelings exponentially. There’s enough on your mental and emotional plate already; adding a relationship right away is simply too much. The focus must be on you right now. Get used to living life sober. Establish your new habits. Get some solid ground under your feet before trying to share that space with someone else. In the long run, you’ll be able to form a healthier, happier relationship.
You’re setting goals and working hard to make changes in your life. Great! Just don’t go overboard. You’ve just gotten your life back. Don’t pack it so full that you can’t handle it. Going back to school, accepting a huge promotion, starting a family, moving – all of these can be good things, but they might be too much for your first few months of recovery.
Think of it this way; you’re just learning how to live life sober. Don’t make that life so complicated and tough that you’re tempted to relapse. It’s like learning to ride a bike. You just got your training wheels off. Should you try the Xtreme Challenge course today, or cruise around the block a few times first?
It’s great to make healthy changes and reach for goals, but give yourself time to adjust and learn about yourself. This will allow you to decide what is truly most important and which commitments are the best to make.
Have you ever taken antibiotics? The doctor tells you to take them for 10 days. After three or four days, you start feeling better, so you stop taking them. The infection returns and the doctor reminds you that you didn’t follow instructions. Your body needed the rest of the medication to fully recover from the illness.
If you’ve sobered up and you’re feeling good in recovery, you may be tempted to bail on your treatment. You stop seeing your counselor. You stop going to meetings. You start thinking you are strong enough to resist temptation in places you really shouldn’t go.
Don’t stop doing the things that have gotten you this far. Keep those supports in place in order to keep you on the right path in recovery. The “antibiotics” are working, so finish the dose.
Additional Reading: 5 Things I Hated About Sobriety (and Why I Embraced Them)
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