Early recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism can be difficult, especially for those entering recovery or treatment for the first time.  So much is entirely new and foreign, so it can be a challenge to know how to proceed.  Here are 5 things you can do to help get the most out of your recovery and safeguard yourself from relapse.

1. Find Meetings You Get Something Out Of and Like to Attend

  • Most metropolitan areas have multitudes of meetings… different formats, variety of attendees, etc.  Go where you find the most similarities with other group members.
  • Attend at least 6 meetings per week – give yourself a chance to acclimate.  Focus on the similarities you hear in the group - not the differences.
  • If 12-Step meetings aren’t for you, try SMART Recovery or Rational Recovery which are great alternatives to 12-step programs.

2. Get Phone Numbers of Fellow Recovering Addicts and Use Them

  • Set a goal of getting 3 phone numbers at each meeting you attend.
  • Find people you have a natural connection with and who you feel comfortable talking to.
  • Use the numbers – “Dial them, don’t file them.”  Call before you’re backed into a corner.

3. Find a Sponsor -  Now!

  • Recovery can be confusing and difficult to navigate.  Find someone who can help guide you through the process.
  • Positive healthy action will keep you sober.  A sponsor can get you started working the steps.
  • Again -  find someone you connect with and someone who has what you want.
  • As a rule of thumb, a sponsor should have at least 1 year of continuous sobriety and have worked all of the 12 steps.

4. Don’t Get Arrogant About Your Recovery

  • Some people feel they have “aced” recovery in the early stages, keep an open mind. There is no graduation in recovery - it is a lifelong journey.
  • An arrogant attitude can undermine the recovery process.
  • Thoughts or cravings of drug use or drinking and using can take you by surprise.  Be vigilant and have a strategy for dealing with them before they occur.  A key to this is developing healthy coping mechanisms.

5. Take It Easy – “One Day at a Time”

  • Early recovery can be tough.  Often the recovering alcoholic/addict is overcome with feelings and emotions they have numbed for so long with alcohol and drugs.
  • Be gentle with yourself – allow yourself to feel your feelings then let them pass (and they will pass!)
  • Thinking of never drinking or using again for your entire life can be a trap.  Just don’t use, just for today.
  • Stay present and in the moment…. Many find much to celebrate in early recovery.  Be there for those moments.

Having trouble knowing where to start? Questions on how to manage your early recovery?  New Hope Recovery Center is a full-service treatment center offering treatment programs with a holistic approach that meet your needs.  If you are interested in our services or just have questions about your recovery, please contact us at (773) 883 – 3916 or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center