At first, most of us are on top of our recovery program when we come out of drug treatment. But quickly, work, family and friends pull at you from different directions. Lives haven’t stopped while you were in treatment and stress and frustration set in, slowly invading the pink cloud that sobriety initially produces.
As life progresses, we may forget that if we do not make our recovery a priority, our life will fall apart again. We take care of our new cell phones, new cars and jewelry better than we take care of our recovery. We try to please everyone and may even skip a meeting here or there to accommodate the demands of others.
There was always time to use. We found ways to fit drug addiction into our lives. Soon our lives were consumed with finding and using drugs. But in recovery, we seem to run out of time when trying to balance responsibilities with meetings, sponsors and spirituality. It seems like there is not enough time to meet all our daily goals.
Soon we make excuses for missing meetings and interactions with our sponsor. Then we find ourselves entertaining old friends, which may not seem like problem. But our mental relapse occurs before a physical one. It is essential for us to avoid going down this path. What is the balance between a recovery program and having a life?
We don’t want to disappoint anyone, especially now that we are finally doing the right thing. But it is in our nature to become obsessed in one area and neglect other areas. For example, we may pick up a new hobby and neglect our family, friends, spouses and employment. This type of behavior is characteristic of addiction and we must learn to monitor it so that we do not relapse into old patterns.
Flexibility and setting limits are skills that we lost in active addiction and now need to redevelop. It is difficult to find the balance without feeling like you are neglecting someone else. The truth is that you need to put your recovery first when making decisions that will affect your life, such as family vacations. You may want to take a trip, but you’ll still have to find meetings to work your program while away. When does balancing recovery and life get easier?
You want your life to blend seamlessly with your recovery program. But before this blend takes place, we may hit some speed bumps along the way. Family, significant others and friends who are not in the program of recovery may seem difficult at first. They may not understand the importance of staying connected with your sober supports. Staying informed and educating those around you about addiction can help you transition smoothly from treatment back to your life.
By: Mark S. Gold, MD & Dr. Drew W. Edwards, EdD, MS 1. What Drives the Onset, Progression, and...
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