Whenever we accomplish something, we naturally feel excited and proud of ourselves. After leaving treatment, those in recovery are especially proud – they have just dedicated time and effort towards self-improvement and making lifestyle changes. However, recovery is not a “one and done” achievement – it is something to constantly work towards, which is why addiction is known as a chronic disease.
When first leaving treatment and during the early recovery period, people feel empowered and strong in their recovery, happy about all they have accomplished. They may feel they are at a point where they can take a break and remove recovery from the top of their mind. This leads to complacency. Complacency is defined as “self-satisfaction, especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.” Here are a few common reasons why people become complacent in their recovery – along with strategies on how to avoid complacency and focus on long-term recovery.
- Don’t ride the pink cloud – Most people in recovery have heard of, or experienced, the “pink cloud” – a period within early recovery where a person feels euphoric, proud, and excited. There’s nothing wrong with being positive and optimistic after achieving a goal, but the pink cloud can take over and make you avoid facing the reality of long-term recovery as you “float” above the world, forgetting about real challenges in recovery like navigating work, relationships, and aftercare. Use your early recovery period to build a plan for tackling these long-term issues instead of riding the pink cloud, and you’ll already be a step ahead.
- Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture – Early recovery is important, but it is only part of the journey. Focusing too heavily on early recovery can cause you to lose sight of your end goal, which is maintaining recovery over a long period of time and incorporating recovery into your everyday life.
- Keep up with the program – After 90 meetings in 90 days, you may feel like it’s time to relax. Many people return to use after 90 days because they feel like they have their addiction under control by that point. Attending meetings and keeping in touch with your sponsor are crucial to successful recovery. Without that constant support and reinforcement, it’s easy to trail off into relapse.
- Continue to be of service to those in your recovery network as well as your community. Giving back is a main tenet of the 12 Step Program because it allows you to feel good about yourself and help those around you, all while keeping recovery a priority. Again, keep long-term goals in mind, like becoming a volunteer or program speaker after a year of sobriety.
It is all too easy to fall into the trap of complacency once you have exited the early recovery period. As long as you continue to make recovery a priority, and stay connected with those in your support network – as you did while you were in treatment and early recovery – your chance of sustaining successful, long-term recovery greatly increases.
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About Fellowship Hall
For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.