mistakes to avoid in early sobriety

Early recovery can be an exciting yet confusing and stressful time. On the one hand, there is a great sense of happiness, as you no longer have to wake up and experience the pangs of withdrawal or be afraid of what you will have to do that day to get high or drunk. There is a restored sense of hope that the nightmare that had become your life may finally be over. Many people even start to have a social life after extended periods of isolation.

But, recovery is also a time when emotions start to flood back in, as the substances that blocked their expression begin to leave the body. This can cause a tremendous amount of stress and discomfort for newly sober people, as one of the reasons for usage in the first place was to blot those emotions out.

Early recovery is also a time when there are great upheavals in a person’s thoughts and beliefs, as old ways of thinking are cast aside for newer, healthier systems of thought. All of this can come together to create an amalgam of emotion that can cause a person to make mistakes that they may not have otherwise made. Many times these mistakes are innocuous, but sometimes they can jeopardize a person’s recovery.

Common Mistakes Made in the Early Stages of Recovery

The beginning stages of recovery can be challenging. Living on life’s terms without substances can produce an entire multitude of emotions that previously you would’ve numbed with the substance of choice. It often takes a lot of negative consequences and pain and to lead someone into addiction treatment recovery. Their addiction must become painful enough that they become motivated to become clean and back to living a sober lifestyle.

But when enlisting into an addiction treatment recovery program, these consequences will eventually have to be faced and dealt with. The early addiction recovery stages will test your internal resources, and there are prevalent errors that you must avoid to preserve your recently found recovery.

Below is a list of the most common mistakes that patients make in early recovery, and hopefully, by reading about them, you will be able to avoid them and, in turn, ensure your new-found recovery.

1. Expecting Instantaneous Results

Recovery is a process that takes time, and this can be difficult for people in early sobriety to accept. Understandably they want their families back in their lives, and they want to feel better right away, but this is not the way recovery works. It will take time to rebuild relationships, and it will take time to readjust to a life without drugs and alcohol.

So try not to fall into this mistake by believing that you should be somewhere that you are not, or feel someway that you don’t. Allow your recovery to unfold at the speed that it is going to; you won’t regret it!

2. Not Finishing the Steps

Sometimes this means that the person only works up to the 3rd step and then continues to work on their 4th step for a long time. Or it may mean completing their 5th step but then not proceeding with the rest of the steps.

The latter error (not finishing the steps) is usually the result of the person experiencing the beautiful effects of one step and then believing that that is enough. The problem is that, without the rest of the steps, people can often relapse after some time because the foundation on which they built their recovery is not complete. So remember to work all of the steps to their completion, regardless of how you feel halfway through.

3. Getting Into A Relationship

The thing about getting into a relationship in early sobriety is that all too often, it can become the focal point of a person’s life when their focus needs to be elsewhere. It is already difficult to take care of yourself in early sobriety, with the constant changes and erratic feelings. Adding another person into the equation, with all of the confusion that can occur at the beginning of a relationship, can be a recipe for disaster.

So if you can, try to avoid getting into a relationship for a little bit. If you do choose to begin a relationship, do so with the understanding that your sobriety must come first.

4. Believing That They Can Get Loved Ones Sober

Many newly sober people also have loved ones who are currently using drugs or alcohol. Now that they have found a way out of their addiction, they may want to help their loved ones to do the same. 

But, many individuals who are in early sobriety fall into the mistake of attempting to get their loved ones sober. While it is a courageous idea, it can often lead to disappointment and strained relationships. It is important to remember that when you were actively drinking or using drugs, no one could get you sober until you were ready.

So as painful as it may be, you have to afford your loved ones that same opportunity. The best you can offer is to be a sober example for them and hope that in time they will seek the help they need.

5. Comparing Yourself To Others

It is easy to look at other people around you and believe that because you don’t feel the way they appear to feel, you must be doing something wrong. Still, the reality is that anytime you compare your private life to that of a person’s outer life, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Many people can become discouraged because they believe they aren’t doing as well as others. This, in turn, can lead to a feeling of hopelessness that can result in a relapse. Remember that you are recovering at your speed, from your personal demons, and it will look different from others. So try not to compare yourself to others and focus on what you need to accomplish.

6. Overcommitting

Once you go through detox and overcome mental and physical addiction, your health will enhance exponentially. You’ll soon begin feeling significantly better, maybe even believing that you can deal with and take on anything. While confidence is necessary, overconfidence can sometimes be very harmful. 

Early recovery stages are an opportunity for convalescing and improvement. It is best to take on a small number of engagements in the initial phase. Becoming overburdened could have you feeling overloaded and under pressure, leaving the addict with an overpowering urge to escape. 

It is crucial to take things moderately at the beginning; recovering should not be rushed. Give yourself time to settle into the new lifestyle. Over time you’ll learn the limit of how much you can cope with.

7. Hanging Out With Former Friends Who Still Use Substances

You may be excited to show old companions that you’re able to hang out with them without feeling the need to use drugs or alcohol. But it is important to avoid this thought process, especially in the early stages of recovery.

If your colleagues are still using substances, it is doubtful that they’ll change their habits to suit your newfound abstinence. Be conscious that being around substances in the early phase can give you the feeling of vulnerability. You may even start to feel left out as your buddies will be on another level to you when they’re using. This can lead to feelings of temptation to participate.

8. Believing Relapse Won’t Occur

Addiction does not simply “go away” after treatment. Becoming clean and sober doesn’t imply you’ll have the ability to start drinking or using harmlessly once you’ve become sober. It is crucial to recognize that your sobriety is contingent on your abstinence and the methods you implement daily can help accomplish this.

Those who do relapse assuredly revert to where they left off and become usually worse. When you have a substance addiction, the disease always lies dormant and there is a possibility of this occurring again. Addiction is a continuous disease of the body and mind, and at any point, an addict will constantly get worse, not better.

9. Having Unhealthy Expectations 

Now that you’ve become clean and sober, you’ll need to deal with life’s challenges. It is wise to temper your expectations of a newly sober lifestyle. This avoids anger and frustration, which in turn could drive temptation and relapse.

Sobriety should be everything you’ve wanted for yourself, but it requires hard work and dedication. It doesn’t transpire overnight, nor is it automatic, so be patient and be sure to develop healthy and achievable expectations.

10. Believing You Can Do it Alone

It requires high strength and courage to request help, and it means setting your pride aside and letting someone else in. This is not an easy task, especially when you’re used to coping under your esteem. 

Requesting a friend or family member’s help is both critical and essential to help prevent falling back into old habits. Start by building new connections and form a support group of other addiction specialists and recovering addicts that can help. By remaining willing to learn from others who share your experiences, you’ll continue to thrive in your recovery. 

11. Feeling ashamed of Your Struggles

False ego and inflated self-confidence can be dangerous in recovery. They can cause needless distress, which could lead to relapse. It is natural to be unsure about precisely how to handle each obstacle that develops. Don’t feel embarrassed if you’re finding a newly sober lifestyle difficult; understand that everyone shares these struggles.

It is essential to ask for guidance when you’re struggling. Most loved ones will be happy to extend help, but until you reach out, they’ll continue to be left out of your struggles, and you’ll continue to feel lonely and isolated.

12. Assuming Others Will Quickly Pardon and Trust You

You might experience feelings of remorse, guilt, and shame at how you’d acted previously while suffering from addiction. Although it is essential to make amends with the past, reliving those painful emotions may bring misery.

While suffering from addiction, the user will regularly make and break several promises, sometimes giving excuses for these behaviors. The recovery process is all about action, and through your efforts, you can show loved ones that you have changed.

From there, you might receive their forgiveness, but moving past negative actions from the past will take time. Your family and friends may worry that you’ll relapse and return to old habits. But it important for you to be patient with them. After all, they have also suffered along with you throughout your addiction. Time and change can heal all wounds, and trust can help in correcting the wrongs of the past. 

13. Believing That the Hard Work is Over

Now that you’ve managed to stop using substances, you might think that the hard work is behind you. Contentment sneaks in as you begin to become more comfortable in your sober lifestyle. But thinking that the hard part is over is a common misconception.

Quitting is difficult, but the toughest part is staying away from substance use and avoiding relapse. Maintaining sobriety is all about continuing to grow in your evolution. Becoming complacent could lead to relapse, so it is essential to work on yourself and your self-healing habits continuously to maintain sobriety.

Seeking Treatment For Drug And Alcohol Addiction

Whether you have been sober in the past and made these missteps in early sobriety or you are just attempting recovery for the first time, call Coastal Detox today and allow our trained professionals to aid you in getting the help you need. Many people have been where you are and have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind. So give us a call today and begin your journey to recovery!