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Setting Expectations in Recovery

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Having unrealistic expectations about recovery not only causes feelings of disappointment and discouragement during recovery but can also lead to negative thought patterns that contribute to relapse. Moreover, far-reaching expectations might cause you to negatively view the tangible progress that you are making in recovery. While you do have many positive things to gain and experience by becoming clean, it’s important to enter life after treatment prepared with realistic expectations of what is to come and what struggles you may face. Here are some common unrealistic expectations about addiction recovery that you should avoid…

Recovery Is a Destination

In recovery, there isn’t really a moment you reach where you can suddenly identify as being sober. Rather, recovery is a lifelong journey, which will get easier over time as you learn how to avoid temptations and master a life lived sober. Be sure to dispel the myth that recovery is a destination so that you can focus on establishing a substance abuse-free lifestyle that will keep you sober for years to come.

Life’s Problems Will Go Away

Addiction does bring with it a host of problems that you could prevent by avoiding substance abuse in the first place, such as marital problems, financial instability, lack of job security, and legal problems, among many others. If addiction has led to any of these, then becoming clean can only help. But keep in mind that barriers and hardships come to everyone in life, including those who are not involved in substance abuse.

You Can Do This Alone

Just as addiction treatment involves meeting with a variety of people, from coaches and addiction specialists to fellow recovering addicts, life after treatment should involve members of your support group. Recovering from addiction truly is a team effort, and meeting with your alumni group, keeping in touch with your mentors, and spending quality time with friends and family will add strength to your recovery. Don’t underestimate the power that these people have to help.

Recovery Happens Quickly

If you’ve recently completed an in-patient addiction treatment program, you’ve made a great deal of progress already. Not only that, but your progress is clear to see and is contained within a concrete time period. You can point to detox, overcoming withdrawal, and completing your program all as points of success. Life after treatment, however, requires a keener eye to see progress, as it will come slowly but surely if you remain committed.