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Looking for a strong start in early recovery? Get these 6 lessons under your belt and you will find it a lot easier. If you have given up your self will and ready to leave the driving to someone else, then you are off to a great start (that’s most of the battle).
1. Recovery Is Number One
It seems fitting that the very first thing to learn about recovering from addiction is that recovery must be your very first priority in life. Recovery comes before your job, your parents, your pet or your partner. Why? It’s very simple. If you don’t take care of your recovery at all times, you risk returning to addiction. If you return to addiction and stay there, you will end up losing your job, your family, your pet and your partner anyway.
2. Recovery Gets Easier
One of the reasons people find it difficult to commit to sobriety is that the first few weeks and months of it are often brutal. If you’ve never been sober for any appreciable length of time, facing life without a cozy alcohol or drug overcoat can seem overwhelming and painful. The good news is, this feeling does not last. As you learn to live sober, it actually becomes a much nicer experience than being wasted all the time. The initial discomfort, confusion and sadness does not last for the rest of sobriety.
3. Recovery Takes Work
Do not make the mistake that most do the first time around, and think that recovery comes from merely stopping drinking or drugging. If you just stop taking substances and do nothing to address what drove you to take them in the first place, you’ll just be sober and sad. You’ll be likely to follow the same negative thinking and patterns you always have in the past — and that unhappy situation will inevitably lead you back to drink and drugs. You must make an effort to change your responses to life in order to be sober and happy.
4. Recovery Takes Other People
You can, of course, get sober on your own, but it’s so much more of a struggle than getting supported by others. Connecting with others who are also recovering from addiction is of great benefit to your own recovery. You can learn from people who have already done it, you can share your pain and success, and people who have been addicts will probably “get” you much more than people who haven’t. People who know the cycle of addiction can give you a deep empathy, understanding and acceptance that is priceless. Work with a sponsor, get to 12-step meetings and see a therapist to work on you.
5. Recovery Is a Lifelong Process
The work of recovering is never complete, so it is something that you must be prepared to commit to for the rest of your life. The reason for this is that, through addiction, your brain has changed. You now have a negative receptor in your brain that is begging to be dosed with alcohol or drugs. In order to beat this pattern, you have to build a new, positive pathway to override it. But your natural inclination will now be to go down that long-established path of using and drinking. Keep learning, improving and never get complacent about your recovery.
6. Recovery Is Worth It
If all of the above seems a little serious, don’t despair. The good news is that when you do the right things to recover correctly, it’s a beautiful path in life. Recovery can lead you to new insights, self-discoveries and a fresh outlook on life. You will learn some things that you might never have learnt if you hadn’t ever been down the dark path of addiction. Recovery is extremely liberating and a lot of fun. Remember the rules of recovery, and you can have a full and happy life after addiction. Recovery is wonderful — hang onto that if things are tough in the early days.