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9 Things Recovering Alcoholics Should Never Do

If you are serious about breaking away from addiction then some things will need to be avoided in recovery. Below we have listed just nine of the things you definitely do not want to do.

1.      Make Major Changes in the First Year of Recovery

It is recommended that you avoid making any major changes to your life within the first year of recovery. The reason for this is simple – you are already going to have enough to do by dealing with the challenges that are going to come your way during those first few months. If you make any major changes then it is just going to add to your stress levels, leading to everything becoming a little overwhelming.

The major changes you are going to want to avoid during this first year will include things like:

  • starting a new romantic relationship
  • breaking up an existing relationship – unless this is interfering with your ability to stay sober
  • changing career or jobs
  • taking on new major responsibilities at work
  • moving house
  • having a baby
  • starting a new business
  • making any decision that is going to hugely affect your life.

2.      Consider Controlled Drinking

Once you have been sober for a few months, you can begin to forget the pain of addiction. You may wonder if it was really all that bad. The fact that you have been working hard at your recovery means that you feel more confident and in charge of your life. You may begin to believe that this new attitude means that you are going to be better able to handle the booze this time. If you allow this thinking to take hold, you will be falling into one of the most common traps in recovery.

The fact that you feel more in control of your life now is because you are no longer drinking. If you pick up alcohol again you are soon going to be back where you started. If it were possible for you to control your drinking, it would not have been necessary for you to give it up in the first place. Once you become addicted, you cross a line and you can never go back. It doesn’t matter if you manage to stay sober for seventy years; it’s still not going to be safe for you to drink again.

3.      Experiment with Other Mind-Altering Substances

Sobriety means avoiding all types of mind-altering chemicals. If you break away from alcohol but continue to use drugs like cannabis, you are, strictly speaking, not really in recovery. Even if you have never had a problem with these substances in the past, it does not mean that you are safe to use them now.

The reality is that all people who fall into addiction have a drug of choice; in your case, it would have been alcohol. Now that you are no longer drinking, there is a vacancy for your drug of choice; this can easily be filled by whatever new mind-altering drug you are currently using. If you are serious about creating this new life away from addiction then you need to stop using all types of mind-altering substance.

4.      Hide from Life with Addiction Substitutes

It is also important that you are careful not to slip into using addiction substitutes. This would include things like workaholism, exercise addiction, or internet addiction. These non-chemical addictions may seem less harmful than alcoholism but ultimately they can prevent you from finding happiness in recovery. Engaging in these types of behaviour is also going to increase your likelihood or relapse because it means you will not be taking your recovery seriously enough.

5.      Taking Recovery for Granted

If you remain grateful for your recovery, it is unlikely that you are ever going to relapse. The problem starts when you being to take things for granted. You forget your mistakes, meaning you are more likely to repeat them. It would be very easy for you to return to the life of addiction, so it is vital that you continue to make staying sober your number one priority in life – no matter how long you’ve been sober. Remember: if you lose your sobriety, you are probably going to lose everything else anyway.

6.      Stop Making Progress

Standing still in recovery is a very dangerous position for you to be in; this means it will not be long before you begin going backwards unless you are able to get moving again. The most common reason why people become stuck in recovery is they face a challenge that they feel unable or unwilling to overcome. The problem is that you will not be able to make any further progress until you become willing to deal with this issue. If the problem seems too much for you, it is vital that you get some help. The worst thing you can do is just ignore the problem because this means you are going to remain stuck indefinitely.

7.      Believe That Giving Up Alcohol Is Enough

The fact that you have given up alcohol means that you can now begin to rebuild your life. This step alone is unlikely to be enough to ensure your future happiness; you need to keep on focusing on your self-development. Think of it as putting space between yourself and alcohol – the more you work to improve your life, the further away from alcohol you will be getting. The danger of not consciously working on your recovery is that this new life will not be satisfactory enough to keep you motivated. If this happens then staying sober can begin to feel like serving time in jail, and it may only be a matter of time before you relapse.

8.      Have Unrealistic Expectations

You can build a great life away from addiction, but it is vital that you have realistic expectations. Things are not going to be perfect for you right away; in fact, they are unlikely to ever be perfect because this is not the way life works. If you have unrealistic expectations then it can mean you are setting yourself up for disappointment. You may then use the excuse of sober living not meeting your expectations as a justification to relapse. It is good that you expect great things to happen when you get sober, but you need to be prepared to work hard and wait for things to improve.

9.      Behave Like You Are Still Addicted to Alcohol

Dry drunk syndrome is where you are physically sober but continue to behave in much the same way as you did when addicted. This could include hanging around with the wrong crowd, being full of negativity, and engaging in unethical behaviour. If you have developed dry drunk syndrome then it means that recovery is going to be an endurance race rather than a satisfying way to live. You may be able to remain sober, but it is very doubtful that you are going to find much happiness. The other danger with dry drunk syndrome is you can continue to make life miserable for other people; it really is a bad situation and one that you need to avoid.

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