Every phase of recovery has different challenges. In the very beginning, the big challenge is just making it through withdrawal without relapsing. Then the challenge becomes dealing with cravings. Then you have to learn to adjust to living without drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with stress. Although these challenges are all daunting when you encounter therm, once you have a bit of practice, they don’t seem like such a big deal. When recovery is no longer a daily struggle, you may face a new challenge: complacency.
Complacency usually starts becoming an issue when you’ve been sober for nine to 12 months. You’ve made it past that initial steep learning curve, made the transition back to normal life and generally feel like you have things under control. At this point, you might decide you can afford to slack off a bit. Maybe you stop attending meetings, don’t exercise quite as much, or put off some other part of your recovery plan. At first, the consequences of slacking off are not apparent. You can miss a few days without disaster. However, the more you deviate from your recovery plan, the more danger you are in.
Recovery isn’t just about sobriety. Recovery is a multifaceted process. Although it might not seem like a big deal to stop exercising, journaling, or going to meetings, these are all parts of the bigger picture. Keeping yourself healthy and motivated are crucial to keep you moving in the right direction. Every part of your life is connected, and a decline in one area can lead to declines elsewhere. For example, if your relationships start to falter, you might feel more isolated and prone to depression. That can affect your work and make you more prone to relapse. Leaving off journaling, prayer, or meditation may allow negative thinking to creep back in.
It’s also important to recognize that you can never stand still in life. If you’re not making deliberate improvements, you are in danger of backsliding. You have to keep putting in work in order to feel like you’re thriving and making progress in life. The alternative is stagnation. Stagnation leads to boredom and negativity. You start to feel stuck. You may feel satisfied with your progress and become more concerned about protecting what you’ve gained than continuing to grow.
If you do get to the point where you feel stuck, or perhaps even disappointed with sobriety, maybe it’s time for a new challenge. Becoming comfortable in recovery is an important step in the process but it’s not the end. Once you feel comfortable, try taking on something new, perhaps more responsibility at work, volunteering on weekends, or devoting more time to a new interest. And most importantly, don’t neglect the basic things that helped you stay sober for so long.
Out of our beautiful custom home in Holladay, Utah, Pinnacle Recovery offers a premiere, customized clinical continuum of care for addiction, alcoholism, and co-occurring disorders. With the healing and inspiring scenery of the breathtaking Utah mountains all around you, you’ll be motivated to work toward deep, lasting change and recovery. Call us today for information on our programs: 866-301-0573