Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid in Early Recovery


a woman consuming drugs

For drug addicts, early recovery brings the opportunity to start fresh and experience sobriety after a long time. It also brings unique challenges that often convince them to go down the wrong path and regret later. 

Before we start discussing the top mistakes to avoid in early recovery, let’s shed some light on what makes it difficult to maintain recovery in the early days.    

Early Recovery: The First 90 Days of Sobriety 

It requires a lot of work, patience, and perseveration to remain sober and fight the urge to turn back to drugs. During the early recovery period, an addict tends to feel overwhelmed with emotions that they previously would have numbed by downing alcohol or taking drugs. Everything around them may suddenly feel very real. Their thoughts and feelings may be unfamiliar and sometimes, downright scary. All in all, the early recovery period can be a real struggle.  

The first 90 days of recovery test your will power and patience. Many addicts fail and fall into the trap of relapse. Experts say that if you can make it through the first 90 days of recovery, you will likely achieve long-term sobriety. 

The key to surviving through the early recovery period is to take the time to understand your emotions and allow yourself to process your thoughts. You must understand that the experience of recovery is unique to each addict. One thing that helps most addicts is the support of their loved ones. We know that it is easier said than done but you must set your eyes on the prize i.e., long-term sobriety and fight through the early recovery challenges like the strong, confident person you are! 

Here are the top ten mistakes to avoid in early recovery. You can ask your sober support group to keep you accountable and help you see the mistakes you might make unconsciously.        

10 Common Mistakes People Make in Early Recovery

We won’t deny that the first 90 days in recovery are painful and challenging. However, to make it a little easier for you to come through, we’ve made a list of the top mistakes to avoid in early recovery.  

  1. Believing That Quitting is Enough

Quitting drug and alcohol use is certainly the first step to recovery but it is NOT enough for achieving lifelong sobriety. 

When you experience sobriety for the first time in a long while in the early recovery period, it takes you back to the time before you got addicted. This means the factors that led you on this path in the first place may still be there. These problems won’t only make it difficult for you to stay sober but also push you to develop new unhealthy habits.

Thus, you need to nip the problem in the bud and find ways to address the issues that drove you into addiction and substance abuse in the first place.        

  1. Thinking You’re Cured after the First 30 Days

The next big mistake addicts usually make is by thinking that a 30-day treatment plan will cure their addiction. While spending a month in a treatment facility helps greatly with the recovery process, it doesn’t guarantee long-term sobriety. You’ll surely learn helpful ways of transitioning into a sober life but unfortunately, that’s all. Assuming that the 30-day treatment program is all you need to do to stay sober for the rest of your life is a huge mistake.   

  1. Refusing to Get Help

We have seen many addicts who managed to beat addiction and maintain sobriety without getting professional help. However, it doesn’t mean it will be the same for you. Remember, recovery is unique to each addict. In fact, winning without getting help only works for a few individuals. 

If you really want to be sober again and beat your addiction for good, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek professional help. It will maximize your chances of recovery.

  1. Pushing Yourself Too Hard
a man sitting with hands in his hair

One of the biggest mistakes to avoid in early recovery is overcommitting. It’s true that when you give up on drugs and alcohol, your physical and mental health will improve significantly. At times, you may feel great and super confident. You may think you’re ready to take on anything. 

While it’s good to feel optimistic, you must understand that the early recovery period is for adjusting to a sober life. No matter how motivated and energetic you feel, you should avoid making too many commitments in the first 90 days of recovery. Otherwise, you may feel overloaded and under pressure in no time. Consequently, the desire to escape may take fire. 

Please understand that recovery is not a race. You don’t have anything to lose. Hence, try to take things slow and give yourself ample time to adjust. With time, you’ll know how much you can cope with simultaneously.       

  1. Hanging Out with Old Alcohol or Drugs Buddies 

During the early recovery period, you may be tempted to meet old friends with who you used to drink and take drugs and prove that you can still hang out with them without getting distracted. It is important that you resist this urge because the chances are that your friends won’t change their ways. Being around drugs and alcohol during the first 90 days of recovery can make you feel vulnerable and left out. This may tempt you to join in.  

  1. Having Unrealistic Expectations of a Sober Life

Most addicts make the mistake of setting high expectations of a sober life. They may have developed a mindset that their addiction was the only problem in their life. This is because addiction causes people to become ignorant in terms of dealing with any other issues. 

Once you step into the early recovery phase, you have to deal with life on its own terms. Getting sober doesn’t mean that your life will immediately become a bed of roses. In fact, the problems that you had been turning a blind eye to may come at you all at once. Hence, you should be prepared for this and keep your expectations low to avoid disappointment and resentment and prevent yourself from experiencing a relapse.  

Achieving sobriety is a great achievement but you should be willing to put in your time, effort, and commitment that it warrants. You can’t achieve sobriety overnight nor there’s a magic formula for it. Just be patient and let go of your expectations.  

  1. Getting into a Romantic Relationship
a couple holding hands

It is common for addicts to fall in love and embark on a new romantic relationship during the early recovery period. This is often an attempt to fill the gap in their life that drugs and alcohol filled previously. 

Getting into a new relationship during the first 90 days of recovery can be a huge mistake. Relationships tend to spark emotions, both positive and negative. A person who has just entered the recovery stage may not be able to handle so many emotions.   

The early recovery period is ideal for getting to know yourself and understanding your feelings and thought patterns. You should focus on finding ways to maintain sobriety and making positive changes in your life to prevent yourself from falling back into the pit of addiction. 

If you start investing all your time, attention, and effort into the new relationship, you will miss the chance of getting to know the new, sober you. Make sure you become comfortable with yourself first – there will be plenty of time to fall in love and get into a relationship once you’re completely addiction-free and sober.      

  1. Feeling Ashamed of Your Struggles

The first 90 days of recovery aren’t easy. But it doesn’t mean you should feel ashamed to be struggling. Too much self-reliance and false pride can cut down your chances of achieving long-term sobriety to a bare minimum. It can also result in unnecessary suffering and relapse. 

Addiction is a disease. It is okay to seek help for it. It requires a lot of courage and humility to ask for someone’s help. Please understand that everyone has their own struggles. It is normal to have bad days when nothing seems to be working out in your favor. What matters is how you stay positive and not lose hope. 

The early recovery period is bound to be full of struggles. Nothing will change if you’re not willing to ask for help. Stop assuming that people will judge you, make fun of you, or get annoyed when you do it. In all honesty, they will only be pleased to be able to do something for you. You must be vocal about how you’re feeling for them to understand. Otherwise, you’ll end up feeling alone and isolated.      

  1. Expecting Others to Start Trusting You Again 

Now that you’re sober, you may feel guilty and remorseful remembering how you mistreated your friends and other loved ones under the influence of drugs and alcohol. While it is crucial to realize your mistakes and try to put on your best behavior, there’s no point dwelling in the past. Reliving it will only bring back painful memories and make you feel upset. You don’t need such negative energy when you’re trying to achieve long-term sobriety.

Truth be told, people might feel hesitant to trust you again. after all, regaining someone’s trust takes time and work. While you wait for that to happen, you must understand that people will be more interested in witnessing you change for the better. 

Let’s also tell you that you might make several promises during the early recovery period – and only some of them may be fulfilled. This period is all about the action, so don’t worry about making and breaking promises as long as you genuinely want to see a positive change in yourself. Just be patient with your loved ones until they find it in them to trust you again.      

  1. Thinking the Hard Work is Done
a man sitting alone

One of the biggest mistakes to avoid in early recovery is assuming the tough time is behind you once you’ve freed yourself from physical addiction to drugs and alcohol. The self-satisfaction that comes after you stop consuming alcohol or drugs can be very dangerous. You may feel like it was the hardest part when in reality, staying sober is the most challenging part. 

This is why you need to stay extra vigilant and stay on top of your thoughts and emotions in the first 90 days of recovery. You must continue to work on yourself in order to prevent relapse. Once you get yourself through the early recovery period, that’s when things will start getting easier.     

Wrapping it Up

Achieving sobriety is a fantastic milestone on the road to recovery. However, staying sober is what all addicts find challenging. The whirlpool of unfamiliar emotions and thoughts causes most of them to lose focus and go into relapse. Staying optimistic, seeking professional help, and knowing about the top mistakes to avoid in early recovery helps.   Now that you know how important it is to seek professional help during the early recovery days, make sure you get in touch with an addiction expert to increase your chances of achieving lifelong sobriety.

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