Pitfalls No More: 5 Things to Avoid in Early Recovery

January 6, 2021

Protecting and caring for your sobriety after completing treatment is vital to not just staying clean, but staying happy and healthy.

It’s a common misconception that once you’re done with treatment, you’ve conquered your addiction. Post-treatment, in fact, takes work and time.

Even in post-treatment, you’ll have OARS working with you to help you stay on your recovery plan and avoid the pitfalls that can sometimes happen in early recovery. What are those pitfalls exactly?

  1. Relying on willpower – Forcing yourself to power through cravings can lead to relapse. To avoid this pitfall, the best thing to do is avoid triggers. This way, you have fewer opportunities to slip up.
  2. Ignoring triggering situations – Ignoring triggers and attempting to power through it only puts you in a compromising situation. Instead, remove the trigger altogether by avoiding the places you used to go to and avoid the group of people you’d hang out with. Establish new, healthy rituals that will keep you on the path to sobriety.
  3. Not preparing for hidden triggers – While you may know about the obvious triggers, such as the bar you used to frequent or the friend you used to get high with, hidden triggers have a way of popping up and surprising you. Avoid the surprise triggers by thinking about what times of year you were most likely to abuse drugs. Once you’ve identified your triggers, enact a relapse prevention plan, using your sponsor, counselor or a sober friend to help you stay on track.
  4. Testing your limits – As you become more confident and secure in your sobriety, you might be tempted to test your limits to prove to yourself that you have control over your addiction. You may do this by intentionally entering triggering situations or even by using drugs with the intention of only stopping after one or using recreationally. If this is tempting to you, remembering that you’re still learning and healing. Addiction convinces you to believe in the lies you tell yourself and your loved ones, and believe that you can test your limits. Continue to focus on working on your recovery plan. Don’t put pressure on yourself to prove that you have complete and total control over your addiction. 
  5. Losing momentum – Staying sober takes work. Many think that the path to sobriety is a straight, simple path and then you’re magically cured. However, your recovery is a lifelong journey. It requires patience, time, and effort. To keep making progress in your recovery, stay engaged with your aftercare program and set new goals, such as attending more meetings or trying new sober activities.

The beginning of your recovery is a time to celebrate how far you’ve come. Start your recovery off on the right foot by avoiding these pitfalls, so that you can continue to live the healthy, happy life you deserve. As Dr. Negrini always says, “we are here to help you at every step along the way to your recovery.”