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Common Stumbling Blocks in Recovery

  • Boredom is common in recovery. We are no longer spending time using or recovering from using so it frees up a lot of time that you are not used to having-that’s normal. If you choose to spend that time watching television, playing video games or similar activities, you will get bored and restless which is never good for addicts and alcoholics. You need to proactively begin developing the new sober you. It’s time to create a list of things you’ve wanted to do but never were ever able to do. Change won’t happen overnight but it’s important to do at least one thing new and interesting every few weeks. Learn a new skill, create a new hobby, begin volunteering, or dedicate time to family and friends.
  • Feeling defeated or hopeless. The odds of maintaining sobriety can seem pretty defeating. I remember being in treatment and being told that only one in ten are going to remain sober. I struggled with those odds but remember vividly proclaiming that I was going to be the one that succeeds. You can too. If at times the possibility of long-term sobriety feels overwhelming or if others doubt the likelihood of your success, stand strong. You can do this! Read about or get to know those that recover despite tough odds. Learn from people with long-term sobriety and be willing to do whatever it takes to be successful in sobriety.
  • Frustration over slow progress. It can be hard to work diligently each day and not see things change very fast. Remember to acknowledge even the smallest improvements and be grateful. I found journaling daily helped me to express myself, monitor my mood each day and track the things I learned about myself. Later I looked back through my journal and realized I had made a lot of progress even though it didn’t feel like it.
  • Not knowing who you are as a sober person. If you are like me, your life revolved around drinking/drugging. Daily life without your drug of choice is truly challenging. You will need to pause and think about what you want your new life to look like. It may require rethinking your values and changing the way you spend your time. Some people realize they need to change their career as it is so tied to activities that involve drinking. Sometimes sobriety offers a new opportunity to do what you’ve always wanted to do in life. Get to know yourself in a new way.
  • Allowing negative beliefs about organized religion stops you from getting to know God personally. Many people have been hurt by the church or its members so they have given up on God. Churches are for sinners in need of God for salvation. Just because people go to church doesn’t mean they are healthy, well-adjusted people. I’ve heard people say, “the church is just a bunch of hypocrites.” Well that may be true but hypocrites are everywhere-work, school, stores, etc. and you still go there. Remember, your sobriety depends on God so it’s time to forgive past hurts and move on. Take the opportunity to learn about God, ask questions, and seek out answers.
  • Special occasions are risky. You may want to consider celebrating special occasions totally different than you’ve ever done before. If a holiday has traditionally been celebrated with a lot of using behavior, design a completely different way to celebrate-at least for the first year. It will give you a chance to try something new and prevent exposure to high-risk situations until you are stronger in your recovery.

  • Lifestyle habits keep you stuck. Many of us used alcohol or drugs to “relax.” To get out of this habit, it may be helpful to completely change your routine or learn new ways to “relax.” Ask yourself what is soothing. Many people set the timer for music to be playing when they arrive home. Music that is calming and relaxing could settle your need for transition at the end of the day. Or perhaps taking a walk immediately upon arriving home-especially if you have a dog that needs to get out too—could change things up enough to get out of the rut. Many have been successful doing meditation upon arriving home from work. Others have taken up exercise programs right after work that change their evenings.
  • Be willing to do whatever it takes to stay sober. It will be worth it!