New sobriety is hard. Real hard.
There is no reason to sugar coat it. If it were easy, everyone who needed to be sober would be. Not only would they get sober, but they would stay sober.
I am by no means a recovery guru. I am a young man and I have been sober for a few years. Certainly enough time to have built up some experience in recovery.
I have seen many people relapse and I’m sad to say I have seen the same mistakes made over and over again. It sucks. A lot of these people I never saw again.
If you are new in sobriety, take this seriously. You may be thinking “that will never happen to me.” But trust me, if you take a bad shot of heroin, you will die… just like everyone else.
Avoid these mistakes in early sobriety and you won’t have to worry about that.
1. Not Having A Sponsor
Some people love A.A. Some people don’t. None the less, a sponsor or even a mentor has huge value. If you don’t have a sponsor, you are doing yourself a huge disservice.
RELATED: 4 Qualities To Look For In A Sponsor
Whenever I am in my head, it is so important for me to have someone to run my thoughts by. After talking to my sponsor, I quickly gain perspective and I realize that many of the fears in my head weren’t even real in the first place.
Get a sponsor. Get someone to talk to. Don’t be stubborn and don’t let your ego get in the way. Just do it.
2. Getting In A Relationship
Look… this is not a black and white statement. A relationship in early sobriety does not guarantee you will relapse. But it does increase your chances.
When you are getting sober. Your emotions are out of control. Most of the time, newcomers don’t even realize how emotionally unstable they are. From an outside perspective, I can say with 100% certainty, that getting in a relationship is a bad idea.
Am I going to tell you not to do it? No. You are your own person, you are free to make whatever life choices you want. I’m just telling you, don’t be surprised when you break up and don’t be surprised when it hurts.
That hurt has lead to countless relapses. I’ve seen it over and over again.
Just give it some time. Get sober. Get your head and your heart together. When you have emotional stability, you will make a better boyfriend or girlfriend anyway.
3. Making Money Your Higher Power
It is important to be clear on this subject.
I am not a believer that money is evil. I believe that money can bring options and can bring freedom. Part of getting sober is having the freedom to earn money and to earn the chance to buy yourself whatever you want. Sobriety has taught me great lessons in money management. This is all positive growth.
The problem arises when people mistake money for happiness.
When addicts stop doing drugs, they are still craving some sort of instant gratification. Nothing fills that void quite like a fresh paycheck.
People don’t realize, money comes and goes. Money does not control you. You control your money. Once money becomes your means for gratification, you are in trouble.
Make money. Make as much as you want or as little as you want. I am saying that your sobriety should be your first priority. If you keep it that way, money will be easier to manage and it won’t consume you like it does so many other people.
4. Not Getting A Support Network
I was so guilty of this.
I will only speak for myself, but I am sure there are those who can relate.
I like to isolate. I enjoy being alone. I spend most of my free time by myself or with my dog. I can’t help it, I’ve always liked dogs more than people.
The trouble is that we are social beings. We are spiritual beings. Somewhere in the makeup of my DNA there is a calling to share my time and my soul with other people. I am compelled to give love and be loved. Isn’t that what we all want?
Isolation is a huge mistake in early sobriety. It doesn’t need to be. I have learned that people really aren’t as scary as I made them out to be. Some of them are just as anxious as I am and are actually grateful that someone like me went up to them and said hello.
You are not alone. There are 7 billion people in this world. It is arrogant and foolish to think that none of them can relate to you or understand you.
Share the love peepz!
5. Taking On Too Much At Once
Raise your fists in the air! You have 30 days sober! You can do ANYTHING!!!
HEAR ME ROAARRRRR!!!!
Slow down cowboy.
When my grandfather died, he died with 30 years of sobriety. He and I would speak from time to time about my recovery and he would simply listen to me and give me good advice. One day he said something to me that I will never forget.
He told me that..
“slow is beautiful.”
At the time, I didn’t quite understand what he meant. I knew his suggestion for me was to take my time, but I didn’t understand why. I didn’t understand why going slow is actually better than moving quickly. I have since learned.
What my grandfather was telling me was that it is important to enjoy the journey. As I have gotten older I have learned that the destination means little. It is the journey that counts.
Reaching a destination or achieving a goal is great. However, it is not until after the moment has passed that you realize the destination wasn’t the fun part. The fun part was the experience and the lessons in getting you there.
Don’t fall into the trap. Try to avoid convincing yourself that you are not good enough or that you aren’t moving fast enough. Slow is beautiful.
Take your time. In all actuality, it takes at least a year to even start to settle into a sober and calm lifestyle. When I had a year clean I thought I was the champion of recovery. Now, with almost 6 years clean I feel like I know less than ever.
Enjoy the moment. Take your time. Relax. Don’t be hard on yourself. Enjoy the journey because one day you will wake up and ask yourself where the time went.
Just Don’t Drink
We all make mistakes.
I’ll tell you a secret. I made every one of these mistakes in early sobriety. Every single one. The only reason I know they are mistakes is because I made them myself and looking back I see how I created myself more pain.
At the end of the day, just stay sober. Just get through the day without picking up a drink. If you do that you have a chance to learn from your mistakes. If you stay sober you have an opportunity to live your life.
10 responses to “Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes In Early Sobriety”
Great list. Very inspiring
I appreciated the tone and wisdom of this essay, particularly your grandfather’s advice. I’m nearly 10 year sober, but I can tell that relapse is always a risk, and one must constantly guard against it. Thank you for highlighting the top risks in such a clear, coherent manner.
Thanks for sharing it was a great help and I also are in early recovery!!!
I am just coming out of a situation where I took on too much. Had 4 months sober and took on a job that quickly turned into too much, and didn’t work on my recovery like I should. Doing 2 things on your list. Almost completely relapsed, but I didn’t. . I realized my mistakes, and have made changes so that my recovery is first, so that everything else isn’t last.
A well written blog, I must say. I was once an addict myself. Now two years sober. I couldn’t have done it without the help of a rehab, Edgewood Health network. I tried to convince myself that I can quit if I want to, but that’s not true. After a certain point, it’s always better to get external help. And Its true what you said, “slow is beautiful” .
This post is a god send from my HP. I am in early sobriety, 90 days on 9/12/2015 and have struggling a bit lately. It’s a whole new life for me and I am discovering things every day about myself, which on one side is great but on the other side I seem to be pushing very hard to know more and more quicker. Advice 5 hits home for me, I like what your grandfather says, ‘slow is beautiful’.
Thank you for sharing this with us and for your great blog. Your website is playing a huge part in my recovery and I always seem to be reading it at the times I need most.
Hey so I’m 12 days sober and I agree with all these but #2 I say if you have someone who loves you unconditional and is going to be there for you thick and thin.. I say a relationship is an AOK thing to do. Just make sure you’re an open book and be honest with them 110% if you so this you will succeed in having a relationship.
Good Advise, I had trouble with isolation in early recovery. I would get deep in my s##t and stay there for days. After enough self inflected pain, I went to a couple of meetings, called my sponsor and reached out to my Higher Power (GOD), Took me some time to get better with that.
On Dec. 18th 1990, at age 52, I decided to quit drinking. . . I did . . . no support, group, just determination. . .
On my 65th birthday I did the same with tobacco. . .
Different strokes for different folks . . . I’m now 78 . . . and looking forward to 100. . .
Good luck . . .
What helped me my first 8 months after rehab, was active duty Navy. 2 days after I got out we deployed. I found my old love for museums and such in all the ports we visited. Plus we had AA meeting on the ship.