Addiction recovery is a lifelong journey, and it is important to celebrate small achievements and set realistic goals.
You will want to avoid complacency, seek support, and practice effective self-care to maintain sobriety and manage stress.

7 things to avoid in early sobriety

Episode #272

You will want to change many of your habits and routines in your early stages of sobriety. There are certainly actions and behaviors you are going to need to stop doing to increase your odds of not succumbing to the mental gymnastics and voices in your head saying, “Come on, one more time.” Whether you are new to sobriety or an old-timer, these tips will help you on your journey or support someone else’s journey from sobriety to recovery.

Power Sentences & Quotes

  1. “Don’t assume a few days or a couple weeks without booze or drugs means you’re cured. There is no cure for this disease.”
    Highlights the ongoing nature of recovery, emphasizing that short-term abstinence doesn’t equate to being cured and that continuous effort is necessary to prevent relapse.
  2. “Celebrate small achievements, realizing they’re part of a greater good.”
    Encourages recognition of incremental progress, which builds confidence and motivation, contributing to the overarching goal of sustained sobriety and personal growth.
  3. “Don’t think that you’re not doing it right because you’re not getting up at 5 in the morning and doing all the things that a stupid Instagram Reel told you to do.”
    Challenges the notion that there is only one way to succeed in recovery, emphasizing that personalizing your routine to what works best for you is more important than following social media trends.
  4. “Minimizing stress, learning healthy coping mechanisms to manage it.”
    Underlines the necessity of stress management in recovery, as unmanaged stress can trigger cravings, making the development of healthy coping mechanisms crucial for maintaining sobriety.
  5. “Your brain has enough to work on with breaking your habits that led you to drinking and drugging. Beware of getting over-confident and putting yourself in a situation you are not ready for.”
    Prioritize the fundamental task of rewiring your brain to break old habits and establish new, healthy ones before taking on additional challenges.
  6. “Express your emotions healthily to avoid bottling them up and causing an emotional overload.”
    Emphasizes the importance of healthy emotional expression, as suppressing emotions can lead to overload and trigger relapse; thus, maintaining mental and emotional well-being is essential in recovery.
  7. “Every day is the best day of your life when you wake up sober.”
    Reinforces the daily victory of sobriety, setting a positive tone for the day and reinforcing the benefits of recovery, encouraging continued commitment to staying sober.

Content Summary

1. Don’t keep alcohol in your house.
Remove alcohol to reduce temptation and improve your chances of staying sober. By eliminating alcohol from your immediate environment, you create a safer space for your recovery. It’s essential to communicate with those you live with about your needs and find ways to remove or hide alcohol from common areas.

2. Don’t replace alcohol with other unhealthy habits.
Avoid substituting alcohol or drug use with other substances or unhealthy behaviors. While it might be tempting to replace drinking or drugging with smoking, overeating, or other addictive behaviors, this can undermine your recovery. Be mindful of developing new, positive habits instead of falling into other unhealthy ones.

3. Don’t neglect self-care.
Engage in physical activity, maintain a balanced diet, and manage your emotions healthily. Self-care is crucial in recovery. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and healthy eating can help your body heal. Additionally, finding healthy ways to process and express your emotions is essential to maintaining balance and avoiding relapse.

4. Don’t disregard small achievements.
Celebrate small victories to build confidence and motivation. Recognizing and celebrating your progress, no matter how small, can boost your morale and keep you motivated. Whether it’s a day without alcohol or drugs or a successful meditation session, acknowledging these wins helps build a positive mindset.

5. Don’t ignore the need for support.
Seek support from recovery communities, therapy, or recovery coaching, and avoid isolation. Connection is vital in recovery. Engaging with others who understand your journey, whether through support groups or professional help, can provide essential guidance and encouragement. Avoid isolating yourself, as the connection is the opposite of addiction.

6. Avoid significant life changes.
Minimize stress by not taking on too many changes at once, especially in the early stages of recovery. If possible, try to avoid significant life changes that could add stress and anxiety. Focus on stabilizing your recovery before tackling substantial transitions. However, if unavoidable, learn healthy coping mechanisms to manage the additional stress.

7. Don’t overcomplicate your sobriety and recovery.
Focus on changing your drinking and drugging habits first, set realistic goals, and avoid complacency. Recovery is a gradual process. Avoid changing too many things at once, as it can be overwhelming. Set achievable goals and celebrate your progress. Remember, addiction is a lifelong challenge, and maintaining humility and vigilance is critical to long-term success.

Take Action

  • Increase your water intake: Drink water regularly to stay hydrated, which helps manage cravings and supports overall health during recovery.

  • Develop a good sleep routine: Prioritize getting adequate sleep to aid your brain’s healing process and maintain emotional balance.

  • Communicate with housemates about your recovery needs: Have open conversations with those you live with to ensure a supportive environment, especially regarding the presence of alcohol or drugs.

  • Engage in enjoyable activities: Find activities like reading, listening to music, or walking in the park that bring you joy and help manage stress.

  • Express your emotions healthily: Avoid bottling up emotions by finding healthy ways to express and process them, such as journaling or talking to a trusted friend.

  • Celebrate small victories daily: Acknowledge and reward yourself for each day of sobriety or successful self-care activity to build confidence and motivation.

  • Avoid isolating yourself: Make a conscious effort to connect with others, whether through support groups, social activities, or professional help, to foster a sense of community and accountability.

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