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Addiction Recovery Is a Marathon Not a Sprint

Addiction Recovery Is a Marathon Not a Sprint

If you are in early recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, then you know that it can be a hopeful, yet challenging, time in your life. Withdrawals and feeling sick are gone, and you likely have a sense that your decision to get clean and sober will be life-changing – in a very good way. And you’re right. You will find that the longer you stay clean, the better you get at handling life on life’s terms. However, you may find that you want your recovery to progress faster than it is and that you are moving rapidly toward recapturing your old life that you had before you became addicted to drugs or alcohol. It’s natural to feel that way, but rushing your recovery can end up being harmful and may even negate some of the hard work you have done to get sober.

Recovery Takes Time

Recovery isn’t a task; it’s a process that is unique to each person. What works for you in recovery may not work for someone else. But, despite having different needs, it’s important not to try to fly through all the stages and steps of recovery in an attempt to return to the old life you had. The facts are, your recovery will take time, and your life will be different, most likely much better, than it was before addiction.

Rushing your recovery puts your progress at risk. Subjecting yourself to pressure – from yourself or others – to get back to “normal,” may very well put you on the road to relapse.

Rushing Recovery Can Interfere with Your Progress

Ask anyone in recovery, and they will tell you that it is hard. Even those who have supportive friends and family have challenges in early recovery, and those challenges can be even more intense for those who suffer a co-occurring mental health disorder.

There is a lot to deal with in early recovery, and it sometimes causes anxiety, depression, or both. If you are someone who experiences those conditions, it’s not uncommon. Rushing your recovery by trying to return to work too soon, or trying to force broken relationships into reconciliation, or anything that adds significant stress, can cause anxiety and depression to escalate. That, in turn, can lead to relapse.

Putting your recovery first and working on the other things step-by-step rather than trying to fix them all at once, is often a better approach – one that won’t sabotage your progress.

Approach Any Major Changes with Caution in Early Recovery

It’s a good idea to take your time during early recovery, not making any major life changes hastily. Before you change your living arrangements, start a new job, or begin a new relationship, consider the following questions:

  • Are you actively working your recovery by following a recovery plan?
  • Do you have adequate support from family, friends, peers, and therapists in place should challenges arise?
  • What emotions, challenges or circumstantial issues should you be looking at and working on before you make a major change?
  • How are you handling the pressures of your daily life? Is it a good time to take on more challenges?
  • Have you talked to your sponsor or therapist about the progress you are making and whether they think you are ready to make a major change?
  • Is the change that you want to make conducive to your recovery?  
  • Are you prepared to continue to place your recovery at the top of your list of priorities?

When you answer the above questions honestly, you should be able to determine whether it’s a good time to make a major change. Don’t discount the feedback that you receive from your loved ones and your recovery support system – they want the best for you, so you should definitely hear them out.

Addiction Recovery is Not a Race

Recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction isn’t a race that you have to finish in a certain amount of time. There is nothing to feel bad about if it takes you longer than you would like to accomplish the goals that you have set for yourself. The important thing to remember is to do what it takes to stay clean and sober, and to work on the issues that are going to help you do that. Whatever your timeline is for that is unique to you, and there is no need to rush it.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, let Life of Purpose Addiction Treatment Center help you get into a recovery program that is right for you. Whether it’s outpatient or residential treatment, we can help you by providing the education, support, tools, and coping skills that you need to get sober and stay sober long-term.


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