Avoiding Pitfalls in the Early Stages of Recovery

How to Prevent Scenarios That may Induce Relapse Post-Treatment

Now that you have just completed a very intense addiction treatment program and have attained sobriety, the next step is maintaining it. The first several months of addiction recovery are the hardest, as you are trying to navigate life as a sober individual without the demands and heavy weight of addiction. Avoiding pitfalls that may lead you to relapse is imperative to your long-term success in addiction recovery.

It is a crucial time in your recovery and as such, you must nourish and safeguard your sobriety. Let’s take a look at some of the pitfalls to avoid in your rehabilitation, especially in the beginning phases of recovery.

  • Pitfall: Solely counting on willpower to sustain your sobriety.
    • Solution: Avoiding triggers that may influence you to use instead of relying on commitment and dedication which can easily be broken.
  • Pitfall: Putting yourself in situations that are surrounded by triggers
    • Solution: Recovery is made easier when you avoid negative scenarios that will influence or pressure you to use.
  • Pitfall: Not being properly prepared for hidden triggers
    • Solution: Make an action plan for when a hidden trigger comes to the forefront so that you know how to handle temptation when it is around you.
  • Pitfall: Pushing yourself to your limits.
    • Solution: This is highly unadvised as you are still in a vulnerable state of healing and recovering. Don’t put yourself in situations where you will be pushed to ‘almost use’ as this will put you at the cusp of relapse.
  • Pitfall: Losing your interest and motivation in sobriety.
    • Solution: By setting new goals and benchmarks of success for yourself will keep you motivated so that you do not lose your momentum.

Overcoming addiction is by no means easy and it will certainly come with its fair share of triggers that may provoke you to use. By following solutions to the pitfalls of relapse, you will have a better chance at long-lasting sobriety. By avoiding pitfalls all together, you are being conscientious in maintaining a healthy and sober lifestyle.

The Stages of Recovery

Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction is broken down into three main stages:

  • Early Sobriety: This stage of recovery starts in the first month of discharge from an addiction treatment program and typically encompasses the first year of recovery. This is the most crucial time as, if relapse does occur, it’s usually more likely to take place at this stage.
  • Sustained Sobriety: This stage occurs after the first year of sobriety and up to five years post-discharge from treatment.
  • Stable Sobriety: This stage occurs after the individual has been sober for five years or more.

It’s important to remember that recovery is not simply determined by sobriety; there are several elements that make up recovery such as living a healthy lifestyle and coping with emotions. It is all elements combined together that will make your sobriety a success. If you do not partake in a healthy lifestyle and take up hobbies, you may get bored and resort back to substance abuse. This is why leading a healthy and mentally and physically active lifestyle post-treatment is so crucial to long-lasting recovery.

Struggles That are Typically Faced During Recovery

There are certain struggles that come with recovery and sobriety, especially in the beginning stages of recovery.

  • Getting used to a sober lifestyle
  • Making new friends who do not use drugs/alcohol
  • Your roles as an individual change such as your work role and role as an active family member
  • Enduring, managing and overcoming cravings

On a psychological level, you need to keep reminding yourself that recovery is the only option to life. A life of addiction is a life where you are slowly and imminently digging your own grave. Remind yourself these things daily:

  • Empowerment: You will be successful in your recovery
  • Hope: Promise yourself that you will make a better future for yourself
  • Self-Responsibility: Take charge of your life and partake in self-care

Through diligently managing your addiction starting at the very beginning of your recovery, you will be able to better handle your journey toward stable sobriety.

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/addiction-health

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2015/10/biology-addiction

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.