It's a well known fact that relapse is the most common in the early stages of recovery. For those who have just begun their recovery journey, just being aware of this can help you take the necessary precautions for preventing a relapse.
Of course there is no definite set of guidelines guaranteed to keep a relapse from happening, but there are certainly a few things you can do to make sure your early recovery goes as smoothly as possible. Here is a short guide to some of the most common mistakes made in early recovery and what you can do to protect your sobriety.
- Expecting results too quickly and easily. This is something that is so common among people who complete a stay in rehab and expect their drug or alcohol problem to be fixed afterwards. A 30 day stay in rehab is hardly enough time to make much progress in recovery, it is only the first step. Alcoholism and addiction are some of the most difficult habits to break. In order to truly stay sober, a person needs to get to the root of their addiction and make changes to their whole perspective. This can only be done with continued support and treatment that lasts for years and even for a lifetime. Joining a 12 step group, outpatient treatment, and therapy are some of the ways you can continue recovery after rehab.
- Going back to your old life. Some of the most common relapse triggers are people, places, and situations from your old life as an addict or alcoholic. This is why it's so important to avoid old friends or hangouts, especially during the early stages of recovery. Old friends may not understand or respect your newfound sobriety, or they may trigger old emotions that you associate with drugs or drinking. The same goes for visiting old hangouts - you may experience the old emotions that can lead a relapse. You may not have to avoid all these old places forever, but be sure to allow yourself enough time to heal and focus on recovery first.
- Being dishonest. This is another cornerstone of recovery. Being completely in honest in both words and actions will keep you on a path toward living a healthy, more balanced life. Because addiction involves so many lies and conflicts caused by dishonesty, it's important to steer yourself away from old habits in order to avoid relapse.
- Not having the right kind of support. Another important part of recovery is having support available whenever you need it. It's a good idea to look for support from others who are in recovery because they will have a better idea of what you're going through. Good friends and family members can offer support as well, but you want to be sure you also have a few sober friends to lean on when things get tough.
- Getting bored or lonely. This is a very common one among newly sober people. Chances are, your old life as an addict or alcoholic was full of excitement, risks, and drama. Committing to sobriety means that all of those old feelings will go away, leaving unpleasant feelings of boredom and loneliness in their place.This is where having good support really counts. It's also a good idea to keep being active by participating in meetings, social gatherings and other activities that don't involve drinking or drugs.Many newly sober people take up a sport or hobby they enjoy, or spend time volunteering to give back to others and keep themselves from falling back into old habits.