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10 Things Unhappy People Tend To Do But Shouldn’t When In Recovery


Unhappy PersonSome people manage to break free of alcohol or drugs yet continue to struggle finding happiness. This may sound unfair, but there is always a reason why this happens; it is usually because the person continues to behave in a counterproductive way. This is the reason that becoming physically sober is only the first step in recovery and more work needs to be done. Below are 10 behaviours that unhappy people in recovery tend to engage in.

1. Romancing the Drink or Drug

One of the reasons why individuals fail to find happiness in recovery is that they continue to feel as if they are missing something by not drinking or using drugs. This means that staying sober feels as if it is something that needs to be endured. The person may then spend a lot of time romancing the drink or drug by dwelling on memories of a time that he or she seemed to get enjoyment out of the activity. As long as sobriety is treated as being a state of deprivation, it will be hard to find happiness.

2. Behaving in an Unethical Way

There is more to sober living than just giving up alcohol and drugs; in order to find real happiness, the person must learn how to live in a more honest way as well. Engaging in unethical behaviour leads to dry drunk syndrome, where the person is physically sober but still acts as if she or he is caught up in addiction. It would be unrealistic to expect individuals to become perfect overnight, but the path to happiness in sobriety involves steady improvements in behaviour; this can only happen when people become honest with themselves and with others.

3. Living in the Past and Future

Individuals can experience a huge amount of unnecessary suffering due to spending too much time thinking about the past and future. Dwelling on past mistakes can mean becoming full of guilt and remorse, while focusing too much on the future leads to anxiety and a feeling of deprivation. In order to find happiness, the person needs to learn how to live in the present moment. Practices such as mindfulness meditation can help to develop this skill.

4. Engaging in Stinking Thinking

Stinking thinking includes behaviour such as negativity, pessimism, cynicism, and excessive self-criticism. This type of thinking can mean feeling miserable even where there are many good things happening in life. Stinking thinking is an easy trap to fall into, which is why it is vital that individuals need to be on the lookout for it. Of course, occasionally feeling a bit negative is normal, but only a pattern of such thoughts can be described as stinking thinking.

5. Going it All Alone

Those insisting on going it alone in recovery often end up suffering unnecessarily. This is because they have to learn by a process of trial and error, meaning there is a much higher likelihood of making mistakes. Going it alone also means not benefitting from support and encouragement from peers. It makes sense to benefit from the wisdom of those who are further ahead on the path of sobriety, and it can save on a lot of unnecessary hardship.

6. Treating Recovery as a Prison Sentence

Being proud of length of sobriety is fine, but some count the days as if they were serving a prison sentence. It is important to celebrate sober birthdays, and remaining sober is an achievement, but it is also important to enjoy each day. The other problem with treating recovery as a prison sentence is eventually reaching a point in which one feels ready to be released, meaning relapsing back to addiction.

7. Uncontrolled Anger and Resentment

Anger and resentment are two of the most dangerous relapse triggers because when people are caught up in these emotions, it can be hard for them to think rationally. In order to build a strong recovery, the person needs to develop emotional sobriety; this includes the ability to manage anger and to avoid extremes of emotion. Those who are dealing with uncontrolled anger need to attend anger management classes or spend time with a therapist.

8. Ignoring their Health

Those who are in poor physical shape are always going to find it hard to get the most out of sobriety. This lack of fitness not only means their body will be lacking in energy and vitality, but it is also going to affect their mental functioning. Those in poor physical health are more likely to be depressed, and are likely to have problem with focus and sleeping at night as well.

9. Engaging in New Maladaptive Behaviours

Some break free of one addiction only to almost immediately become caught up in another. This not only includes abusing new drugs, but it could be addictive behaviours such as gambling, work addiction, food disorders, or internet addiction. The person falls into these new behaviours because of an unwillingness to deal with life on life’s terms. In order to find happiness, the person needs to stop running away and start dealing with whatever challenge is in their life.

10. Staying in Their Comfort Zone

Even though alcohol or drug abuse leads to a great deal of pain, many individuals end up putting up with this suffering long-term because it is what they are used to – it is their comfort zone. In order to break free of addiction, the person has to be willing to leave this comfort zone and make some major changes to his or her life. The problem is that some can break free of one comfort zone only to settle into a new one in recovery. If you want to find happiness, you need to regularly leave your comfort zone and do things that feel hard – this is the only way to reach your potential. The good news is that getting out of your comfort zone can become something you start to love.

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