Recovery is a process, not a moment in time. The process includes moments of celebration and moments of challenge. While these challenges might seem insurmountable, it’s important to know that you can face them and that there are people willing to support you. Here are some challenges you might face, and suggestions for overcoming them.
No matter what you are recovering from, temptation is a significant challenge to overcome. Your behavior or substance of choice may have become a crutch that was easy to depend on. As you face temptation, remember the skills you’ve learned in treatment, counseling or support group. Before you face temptation, write these skills down. Post them in your house, keep a copy in your wallet or a note in your phone. In the moment of temptation, it might be hard to remember—having them available everywhere will make it easier.
2. Social Pressure
Social pressure can come from many sides. Particularly if you’re recovering from substance abuse, you might feel social pressure to engage in old behaviors. At the other end of the spectrum, people who mean well in your recovery journey might try to pressure you to do certain things or behave in certain ways that they feel will help you. In both instances, it’s important to stay true to yourself. Remember what’s best for you and reach out to a professional for assistance if you have questions.
3. Altered Relationships
You might notice that your relationships have changed. This is likely because you have changed, too. While this is an important and necessary part of recovery, that doesn’t mean it isn’t painful. Whether it’s with family members or friends, shifting relationships can be awkward, confusing and even hurtful at times. Try to keep communication open and honest, and express your needs as clearly as you can. Make room for these changes, keep an open mind and give your friends and family some time to adjust.
4. Physical Symptoms
For recovery from substance abuse or eating disorders in particular, there are physical symptoms that might be a challenge. One of these is weight gain. While these symptoms often mean that your body is beginning to heal, they can be a significant stressor. Talk to a mental health or medical professional about what to expect, and the best ways to cope with these changes.
5. Creating Routines
A lot will change in your life as you recover. You will need to build new routines and new habits, which can be very difficult. But the sooner you’re able to build a new schedule for yourself, the sooner you’ll feel as though you have a new “normal.” Remember that balance is key.
Of course, one of the biggest challenges you might face or fears you might have is with relapse. Approximately 40 to 60 percent of those recovering from an addiction will face a relapse at some point in their recovery. However, you can set yourself up for success by having a support system, knowing the warning signs of relapse, creating a plan in case a relapse does occur and believing in yourself. If it does, remember that a relapse does not mean you can never recover—it just means you need to keep trying.
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