Mistakes to Avoid in Early Recovery

mistakes to avoid in early sobriety

Early recovery can be an exciting, confusing, and difficult time. On the one hand, there is a great sense of elation, as you no longer have to wake up and experience the pangs of withdrawal or fear what you will have to do that day in order to get high or drunk. There is a restored sense of hope that the nightmare that had become your life may finally be over, and many start to have a social life after extended periods of isolation. It 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 people who are newly sober, 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. Below is a list of the most common mistakes that people 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.

Common Mistakes in Early Sobriety

  • 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 that is not the way that 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 and believe me you won’t regret it.

  • Not Finishing the Steps

This one may sound like common sense, but it can happen quite often among people who are in early sobriety. Sometimes this means that the person only works up to the 3rd step and then continues to “work” on their 4th step for the next forever, or it may mean completing their 5th step but then not continuing with the rest of the steps. The latter form of not finishing the steps is usually the result of the person experiencing the wonderful effects of the 5th step and then believing that that is enough. The problem is that without the rest of the steps people can often relapse after a period of 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 half way through.

couple holding a broken heart

  • Getting Into A Relationship

There are differing ideologies when it comes to the idea of getting into relationships in early sobriety. Some say to stay away from relationships for the first year, others say wait until you’’ve completed your steps, and others don’t think you have to wait at all. 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 really needs to be elsewhere. It is difficult enough to take care of yourself in early sobriety, with the constant changes and erratic feelings, so adding another person into the equation, with all of the confusion that can occur in 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, and if not then go into with the understanding that your sobriety must come first.

  • Believing That They Can Get Loved Ones Sober

Many people who are newly sober also have a loved one who is currently drinking and drugging. Now that they have found a way out of their addiction, they want to help their loved one, and many in early sobriety fall into the mistake of attempting to get their loved ones sober. It is a valiant idea, but it can often lead to disappointment and strained relationships. It is important to remember that when you were actively drinking or drugging no one could get you sober until you were ready, and 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.

  • Comparing Yourself To Others

We are all guilty of this, but in early sobriety, this can be an especially costly mistake. It is easy to look at other people in the rooms and believe that because we don’t feel the way they appear to look, we must be doing something wrong, but the reality is that anytime you compare your internal 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 and this, in turn, can lead to a feeling of hopelessness that can result in a relapse. Remember that you are recovering at your own speed, from your own demons, and it will look different from others. So try to not compare yourself to others and just focus on what you personally need to accomplish.

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 at 1-866-802-6848, 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.

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.