Complacency in addiction recovery can be dangerous. If you feel like you’ve beaten addiction for good or you’ve been in the same place for a while and you start wondering if this is all there is, you might be in danger of backsliding and relapse. Typically relapse isn’t an impulsive decision made in a moment of weakness but rather the end of a process that might last weeks or months. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553654/] The first stage of relapse is emotional relapse, which is characterized by negativity, lack of self-care, bottling up emotions, not sharing at meetings, or not even going to meetings.
These behaviors don’t come out of nowhere. They tend to be a result of complacency. Recovery starts getting a little easier after about nine or 10 months after treatment. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal if you miss a meeting or neglect some other part of your recovery plan. Gradually, these occasional lapses become more frequent and even habitual. After that, it doesn’t take long to start showing signs of emotional relapse. If you want to keep progressing in recovery, you have to keep putting in the effort and sometimes you have to adjust your plan and try new things. Here are some ways to get unstuck in recovery and start moving forward again.
There may be a number of reasons you feel stuck in recovery but the most likely is that you’ve been neglecting your recovery plan. Start by paying attention to your behavior and see how well you’ve actually been following through on your plan. Write down your daily activities if you have to. You might discover you aren’t doing as much as you thought. When you feel stuck, try getting back to basics. Follow your recovery plan every day and pay particular attention to self-care. People have a tendency to sacrifice fun and relaxation when they get busy so be sure to set aside some time for those.
When you’re in inpatient treatment, you enjoy a structured environment where people are supportive and you can focus completely on recovering from addiction. Also, people tend to make the most progress in the first weeks and months of recovery, during which time they’re still in treatment. Once you leave treatment, you have other things to worry about and less support so it’s easy to lose focus. Good treatment programs will have good followup care, perhaps in the form of online counseling or alumni events. Making use of these services might help you get back on track and recommit to your recovery. You may also benefit from transitional care such as a personal recovery assistant, who can help you focus on applying the lessons you learned in treatment to your regular life. A personal recovery assistant can keep you focused on recovery and help you identify and cope with high risk situations.
Part of the problem with feeling stuck in recovery is that you may not understand why you feel stuck. You just know recovery isn’t going the way you want it to. Talking to a therapist may help you identify exactly why you’re feeling lethargic or dissatisfied. Often, when people feel stuck in recovery, it’s because there’s some issue they’ve avoided dealing with and they can’t move forward until they deal with it. A therapist can help you identify and deal with whatever lingering issues are left over from treatment.
One of the most common complaints people have in recovery is that they get tired of 12-step meetings. Once someone finds the right meeting, they often enjoy a period of camaraderie and progress and they expect that to last forever. However, your needs in recovery change and you may start feeling like meetings are just the same thing every week. There’s nothing new and once you’ve made a bit of progress, you might get tired of hearing about other people’s problems. So you might sort of drift away. Unfortunately, when you stop going to meetings or stop participating in the meetings you do go to, you lose the sense of connection and accountability that meetings provide. When you find yourself in a rut, try going to meetings regularly. Try engaging differently, perhaps by volunteering or helping newer members.
You may feel stuck just because you no longer feel challenged. For a long time you may have been focused on recovering from addiction, which is no easy task. However, it does get easier with practice and almost automatic so that you no longer have to work quite so hard. The down side is you might start to feel a bit bored, especially if you are good about sticking to a regular routine. The solution may be to challenge yourself a bit. You can do this in many ways. You might try learning a new skill, you might try volunteering for a worthy cause, or you might try taking on more responsibility at work.
In the day-to-day effort of recovery, it’s easy to lose track of the overall picture. You probably decided to get sober because you were tired of living with addiction but we tend to forget about pain once it’s gone. Try motivating yourself with inspirational examples. There are many memoirs by people who have overcome addiction to accomplish impressive things; try reading some of those. You probably have even met people who have achieved things in recovery that you would like to achieve. Also consider setting some stretch goals for yourself, goals that make you excited to get up in the morning.
If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, Hired Power and our team of dynamic, experienced recovery professionals are here to guide you every step of the way. We offer many services, including helping you choose the best treatment program and transitional services, including interventions, sober monitoring, and personal recovery assistants. Call us today for information on our recovery services: 714-559-3919.
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