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10 Frequently Overlooked Causes for Becoming Stuck in Recovery


right-directionThe danger of becoming stuck in recovery is that it can quickly lead to dissatisfaction and give you a reason to relapse. Sometimes the reason why you have stopped making progress is obvious – maybe there is something you need to deal with but you are resisting dealing with. In this situation, there may be a bit of discomfort initially, but the fact that you recognise what is causing your lack of progress makes it easier to deal with. At other times, you can become stuck and the reason for this might not be so obvious. Here are 10 of the most frequently overlooked causes for why it happens:

1. You Have a Dual Diagnosis

A dual diagnosis means that you are dealing with some type of mental health problem such as depression alongside your addiction. It is possible to have this diagnosis and be completely unaware of it. One of the reasons a lot of people fall into addiction initially is that they have been self-medicating some type of mental discomfort. The symptoms may be mild in the early stage, meaning the person does not realise they have a mental health condition.

One of the real dangers with a dual diagnosis is that the person in recovery can start to blame him or herself for the discomfort. There may even be well-meaning people in the recovery community who suggest that the symptoms are due to not doing the programme correctly. The reality is that the individual will not make any progress until this dual diagnosis is dealt with. If you are currently stuck in recovery, you do need to consider if this may be due to some underlying mental health problem.

2. You Need to Change Course in Life

The things that kept you sober yesterday might not be enough to keep you sober today. Sometimes the path we are currently on might not be capable of taking you any further, so the only way to get moving again is to change path. The problem is that this need to change course might not be so obvious to you.

3. You Spend Too Much Time in Your Comfort Zone

If you are not getting outside of your comfort zone on a fairly regular basis, it will mean that you fail to make progress in life. It is great that when things are going well in life, you can just coast along; however, the problem is that there can be no real personal growth during this time. It is the tough days that make you grow and develop as a human. There is also the problem that the comfort zone can actually involve a lot of discomfort but the fact that you are used to it means that you are prepared to put up with it; it could be said that individuals caught up in addiction are stuck in their comfort zone.

It is important that you regularly push yourself a bit harder because this is the only way for you to begin reaching your potential. Humans have an in-built need to grow, and if you are not doing this then you are likely to experience dissatisfaction in life. Getting out of your comfort zone does not mean you need to climb mountains every week, but you do need goals and to be prepared to keep working towards these goals.

4. You Are a Victim of Self-Hatred

If you have a soundtrack in your brain that is almost constantly negative, it will be holding you back in life. This voice is a result of low self-esteem, acting like a tyrant inside of your skull by making your life miserable. The problem is that some people are so used to hearing this voice that they do not even question it anymore. The way to overcome self-hatred is to develop some self-compassion. This means replacing the negative soundtrack in your brain with one that is supportive and encouraging; it basically means giving yourself the same level of compassion as you would offer to a friend.

5. There are Problems with Your Diet

The food you eat can have a huge impact on your mental as well as physical health. If you have become stuck due to lack of energy, you will want to look at your diet to see if this could be the cause. If you have put on a lot of weight due to comfort eating, it is going to mean you feel sluggish and lethargic. If you have not been eating a balanced diet that contains all the nutrition you need, it is also going to lead to fuzzy thinking and lack of energy. Choosing the right diet is one of the keys to success in recovery, so if this is not something you have been doing then you are probably suffering as a result.

6. You Don’t Get Enough Exercise

It is a real shame but people can put a huge amount of effort into personal development but fail to do enough to stay physically fit; the reality is that you cannot have one without the other. If you do not exercise regularly, it will have a similar effect as not eating a healthy diet in that you are going to feel lethargic and your mind will feel sluggish. If you spend most of your day sitting down due to work or your lifestyle, you will putting your physical and mental health at risk. Humans need exercise even if it is only a long walk every day.

7. You Don’t Have a Programme for Recovery

Even if you do not use a programme such as the 12-steps, you will still need some structure to keep your sobriety strong. This can include things like daily rituals such as meditation and journaling. If you are not putting any effort into your recovery, it should not really come as a surprise if you become stuck.

8. You Have Been Romancing the Drink or Drug

It is easy to forget how bad things were after you have been sober for a few months. This failure to remember your reasons for quitting can lead to a situation where you begin to glamorise your past. Memory can be a strange thing and it can completely rewrite the past to fit in with current thoughts. This is why it is vital that you are able to remember how bad things were and that you are able to challenge any thoughts promoting a return to alcohol or drugs.

9. You Have Developed Stinking Thinking

Stinking thinking is a pattern of negative thinking that can involve things like cynicism, pessimism, and resentment. It is possible to fall into this unhealthy way of thinking without even realising it, so you need to be on your guard. One of the benefits of seeing a therapist or going to recovery meetings is that you will be able to get feedback on your current behaviour.

10. You Have Stopped Being Grateful

Gratitude can be like a fuel that allows you to keep progressing in life. If you stop being grateful, it means you no longer have this fuel to keep you motivated. The secret to happiness in life is not to keep getting more things, but to appreciate what you have. Try looking at your life today and notice all the good there; this may be enough to help you become unstuck and begin moving forward again in recovery.

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