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5 Things to Avoid in Early Recovery

Early recovery, especially during the first year, is a delicate time for newly sober people. Major emotional, psychological, and physical changes occur and can become overwhelming. This is a time for those in recovery to take it easy and focus on being sober. There is no need to make recovery any harder than it needs to be. So, below are some tips on what to avoid in early recovery to increase the success of sobriety.

Avoid Temptations

Entering into a newly sober life is difficult in a world filled with temptations. There are temptations everywhere, a friend’s birthday, a work get-together, or even a family gathering. This is not a time to prove yourself to others or push yourself into situations you may not be ready to handle. If a friend invites you out and you know you will be tempted then decline. In early recovery, events and gatherings are difficult to attend since they’re laden with temptations. It’s okay to miss out on things in order to stay sober. Never feel guilty for putting your well-being first. True friends and family understand your situation and there will be plenty of chances to spend time with them in temptation-free environments.

Avoid Self-Sabotaging

A huge reason people in early recovery relapse is because they allow self-doubt to take control. Recovery is hard enough without the added weight of being too hard on yourself. This is a good time to start practicing positive thinking and helpful mantras. It is okay to have negative thoughts as long as you don’t let them consume you. Recovery group is a good outlet to talk about negative thoughts and feeling. This allows others in recovery to encourage you and provide tips for staying sober.

There is no such thing as perfection in recovery. Take it one day at a time and do everything at your own pace. This is a time to leave the past behind and live in the present. Allow yourself to make mistakes or else you’re going to crack under all the pressure. Show yourself compassion and self-love. Recovery is not going to be easy and you can use all the love you can get.

Avoid Toxic People

Early recovery is a good time to find out who is not good to hang around. Stay away from people that trigger your addiction. It doesn’t matter if it’s a parent or a close friend. If they trigger your addiction separate yourself from them until you’re in a stable place with your sobriety. This is a time to focus on helping yourself and it’s a good idea to surround yourself with people that can help with your recovery. People that empathize and respect your sobriety are the ones to keep by your side. Recovery groups are a great place to meet these kinds of people if you don’t have any family or immediate friends.

Avoid Relationships

Early recovery is not an ideal time to start a new relationship. There are too many risks involved, especially during the first year of recovery, that can lead to a relapse. A relationship takes time and attention that should be going towards working on staying sober. If the relationship goes awry during the vulnerable time of early recovery there is a high chance for a relapse. Even if all goes well in the relationship it can become a distraction from recovery, an addiction substitute, that risks falling back into old ways. Sobriety is the priority in the first year of recovery and a new relationship fights against that. Take this time in early recovery to build a healthy relationship with yourself before jumping into any new romances.

Avoid Stress

Early recovery brings a lot of stress on its own, as you're changing your entire lifestyle and mentality. Most recovery groups warn that major life changes add too much stress in the first year of recovery. This added stress puts you at risk of a relapse. Once you are firmly secure with your recovery, major life decisions can be made. To decipher whether or not a decision is too major for the first year, ask yourself if the decision will take priority over your sobriety. No decision should take priority over your recovery during the first year.

However, some people in recovery have no choice but to make a major life decision in the first year. Whether it’s moving to a new place or changing jobs, these things are sometimes unavoidable in early recovery. In these situations, it is highly recommended to get all the support needed. Surround yourself with supportive people, go to a recovery group, and take on activities that help de-stress like meditation. Sobriety is still the priority at this early stage of recovery and as long as you find healthy ways to deal with extra stressors then the chance of relapse should be minimal.

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