’10 Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Addiction Recovery’ by Addiction Helpline

rsz_ten-recovery-mistakesThis is an interesting article on the traps you may fall into in your recovery, published by Addiction Helpline in the UK.

‘It takes a significant amount of effort to break away from addiction. You could do all the right things, like going to rehab, yet you still end up more or less back where you started. This is a real shame, but it is always preventable. The reason people end up ruining their recovery is they go off track – this starts by falling into one of the common traps.

Here are 10 mistakes you will want to avoid to enjoy a lasting recovery:

1. Taking Your Recovery For Granted
If you take your recovery for granted then you risk killing the goose that has been laying the golden eggs. There are many examples of people who relapsed after ten, twenty, or even forty years. These individuals ended up right back in the hell of addiction, so what makes you think this cannot happen to you?

It is vital that you make staying sober your number one priority in life. You need to do this because if you relapse, you are likely to lose everything anyway.

2. Not Being Grateful for Your Recovery
Individuals who are grateful to be sober are highly unlikely to ever relapse – they have too much to lose. The problem is that you may fall into the trap of taking your recovery for granted. This is a very common thing for people to do, but it can be extremely dangerous for those trying to stay free of addiction.

It is highly recommended that you keep something like a gratitude list where you keep track of all the good things in your life and be sure to read this regularly to keep you motivated.

3. Continuing to Use Mind-Altering Substances
If you have been addicted to any substance, it is strongly recommended that you avoid all mind-altering chemicals. For example, if you have been addicted to heroin, it is not safe for you to now use alcohol – no more than it would be safe for a recovering alcoholic to begin using heroin. It doesn’t matter that you have used this substances safely in the past.

Every substance abuser has their drug of choice (the one they prefer to abuse), but when this is taken away, it is easy to replace it with a new drug of choice.

4. Turning to New Maladaptive Behaviours
The likelihood is that you turned to alcohol or drugs in order to escape your problems in life. The same thing can happen again in recovery; you may turn to new maladaptive behaviours in order to escape any difficulties in life. This could include things like exercise addiction, workaholism, or sex addiction. These new behaviours can ruin your life and lead you right back to your original addiction.

It is much better for you to develop effective coping strategies than to turn to obsessions to hide from life.

5. Becoming Stuck in Recovery
You need to be always moving forward in your recovery from addiction. If you become stuck, things can deteriorate quickly; you can find yourself staring down the barrel of relapse.

The reason this happens is due to the principle of entropy, meaning everything in the universe naturally moves from a state of order to disorder. For example, if you do not make the effort to keep your home in good repair, it will eventually fall apart. The same is true of your recovery. You need to be always pushing forward in order to prevent entropy.

6. Inability to Deal with Failure
If you are unable to deal with failure, it is not going to be possible for you to achieve much in life. This is because failure is a natural part of achieving anything important. The only real failure is to give up. It is vital that you learn to treat your mistakes as learning experiences – sometimes knowing what doesn’t work is as important what does.

Here is an interesting fact for you: the person who invented sticky notes was actually trying to create the strongest glue on the planet. He could have looked upon his results as an embarrassing failure but instead he created something new and this made him a very rich man indeed. It is vital that you learn to look upon your failures as a chance to learn and grow.

7. Inability to Deal with Anger
Anger is a toxic emotion for all humans but especially for people who are trying to escape from addiction. The problem is that if you become angry, it will affect your ability to think rationally.

There are many stories of people in recovery who lost their temper, and before they knew what hit them, they were in a bar drinking or sticking a needle in their arm. At the time of their rage, this person may have believed they would punish other people by relapsing – the reality is that the main one to suffer was him or herself.

8. Reluctance to Ask for Help
There are likely to be times when you are going to be vulnerable in recovery so it is vital that when you feel this way you are willing to ask for help. There is no shame in doing this. The reason individuals are able to be successful in life is not by doing everything for themselves, it is by getting the help and resources they need to succeed.

The worst thing you can do is keep your problems just rolling around in your mind. Even if the person you talk to is unable to offer direct help, it is almost certainly going to feel better for you to have shared the problem.

9. Treating Life in Recovery as a Prison Sentence
You deserve to feel proud of your recovery from addiction. It is important for you to celebrate your sober anniversaries, and it is nice to be able to say ‘I’ve been sober for X months/years’.

The problem starts when people become too obsessed about counting the days. It can start to feel as if they are serving a prison sentence and if that happens, they will begin to look forward to their release date. There is no need to focus too much on the number of days you have been sober; recovery is about enjoyment and not endurance.

10. Spending Too Much Time around Temptation
In Alcoholics Anonymous, they tell members, ‘if you spend too much time in a barber shop, you are going to eventually get your hair cut’. What this means is that if you are around temptation all the time, you are likely to give in to it eventually.

This is why it is not a good idea to spend too much time in pubs or with your old drug-using friends (unless they have stopped using). Humans are highly influenced by the people they spend time with, so it is best if you try to stick with people who are building a good life in recovery.

I hope there is a t least something in here that is of help. Why not check out some related articles on this site at the bottom of the page.