Five Things to Know About Recovery from Alcohol or Drugs

When someone is struggling with substance abuse, sobriety can seem like an impossible goal. Here is a list of five things to keep in mind when you or someone you know is in early in recovery:

  1. Educate yourself and stay involved. You and close friends or family will benefit from education to understand the struggle involved with recovery, and have a better idea about what to expect as your loved one gets clean.  After the problem is recognized and the decision made to seek treatment, a long journey remains that is well worth the time and effort. Understand that rehab is only part of the process of becoming sober. During the early phases of sobriety, there will be some up and downs, but eventually the individual will start growing and learn to make positive decisions. You can educate yourself on understanding the stress and complications associated with recovery.
  2. Change can be a good thing. It is highly recommended that people in early recovery not go to parties, bars or clubs. There is just too much temptation to hang out at places where alcohol and social drug use are a normal part of having a good time. You can discuss alternative places to go and help support those who are struggling with staying clean.
  3. Replace old habits with healthier new ones. Boredom can be particularly dangerous in early recovery when the individual is still struggling with old habits. If they feel bored, they may begin to miss their old life and begin to wonder if recovery is worth the effort. The remedy is to replace old habits with new, healthy ones. Early recovery can be a time of discovery when the individual rekindles lost interests or finds completely new things to enjoy. Great ideas include trying a regular yoga class, taking up a hobby, joining an athletic club, or volunteering at a local charity.
  4. Socialize with others and get out of the house. Consider reaching out to friends and family that you may have lost track of over time. In our busy lives, especially when we have been involved with alcohol and drug use, we often lose our connection with those we care about the most. After getting substance use under control, repairing old relationships and building new ones is important. If your previous social life revolved around drugs, you may need to make some new sober friends who will support your recovery.
  5. Do not let a relapse keep you down. Relapse is a common part of the recovery process from drug addiction. While relapse is understandably frustrating and discouraging, it can also be an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and correct your treatment course. Relapse does not mean failure! You can choose immediately to get back on the path to recovery and use the experience to strengthen your commitment to good health. Do not give up; there is always hope.