Understanding That Recovery Is a Journey – Not a Destination

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Understanding That Recovery Is a Journey – Not a Destination

One thing that can take people some time to fully realize is that recovery is a journey – not a destination. Recovery is not someplace that you simply arrive at one day and are done with. While going through the detox process and getting sober is an incredibly important and brave first step, it doesn’t end there. You must continue to put in the work every single day. This will help ensure you stay on track and don’t give up your sobriety.

This work involves things like learning more about yourself, attending therapy, going to support group meetings, taking care of your health, and more. All of this is to help you not only stay sober but to become the best version of yourself.

Part of understanding that recovery is a journey and not a destination is learning to accept that there will be peaks and valleys along the way. It also involves being prepared for them.

The Peaks and Valleys of Recovery

Imagine that you are running a race. When you first start off, you are likely going to have a lot of energy. Adrenaline is coursing through your veins, and you’re highly motivated to finish successfully. Because you’ve just begun and haven’t experienced any challenges along the way yet, you’re probably feeling pretty confident and sure of yourself.

However, after you’ve been running for a while, you begin to get tired. Your motivation might start to waver a little bit. Maybe you consider stopping to take a breath or quitting altogether. You begin to doubt yourself. It’s not that you don’t want to finish the race, but you’re beginning to lose your will to continue.

Recovery can bring about a lot of similar emotions. When you first complete treatment and are starting your recovery journey, you’re likely going to be feeling pretty motivated. All of that information you learned during treatment is still fresh in your mind. Not only that, but you’ve finally done what you’ve been trying to do for a long time: get sober. Because of this, your confidence is probably in a great place.

However, months or years down the road, there may come a time when you’re not feeling as motivated as you once were. This feeling can come out of nowhere, or it can be related to certain life events that present themselves. Maybe you’re experiencing a lot of stress at work, have a sick loved one, or are going through financial strain. These are the sort of things that, while you can’t totally avoid, you can be prepared for them. This is why it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been sober or how confident you are in your recovery. Something could always happen that may potentially threaten it. That is why continual work is necessary on an ongoing basis.

Protecting Your Sobriety

The way that you protect your sobriety through the peaks and valleys of recovery is through continued treatment. Many people don’t realize that when you finish treatment, you’re not just “done”; recovery is a lifelong process. Some people choose to attend therapy on a regular basis for continued treatment. This is great for working through emotions in a positive way, better understanding relationships with others, and identifying things like triggers and negative thought patterns.

12-Step Meetings

A lot of people also choose to attend support group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These 12-Step meetings are available locally or even online. You can even find meetings that include people who are at a similar stage in life as you are that you can relate to. Support group meetings are crucial because they help to hold you accountable in your recovery. You’re also able to share freely without having to worry about being judged or ridiculed. This is because everyone in attendance can understand what you’re going through because they’ve been through it themselves.

Recognizing Signs of Potential Relapse

Part of protecting your sobriety is also being able to recognize moments when you are struggling. Relapse happens mentally before it happens physically. It can sneak up out of nowhere without you even realizing what is happening. For some, it may begin with making excuses for skipping support group meetings or canceling therapy appointments. For others, it could be hanging around the same sort of people or places that they were back when they were engaging in substance misuse. This can cause them to start reminiscing and even glorifying their past substance use.

Even though it might not have ever been their initial intention, these things can ultimately lay the groundwork for a physical relapse. This is why it is so important to understand the signs of relapse in its earliest stages. This way, you can seek help immediately before this progresses any further.

No matter where you’re at in your recovery, there is always more work to do and more that you can learn about yourself. This is why recovery is a journey and not just a destination that you arrive at. While it might not always be an easy journey, it is an incredibly rewarding one and probably the most important journey of your life. If you’re currently struggling with alcohol or drug misuse, you don’t have to continue to live this way. Our team at The Kimberly Center can help. Call (855) 452-3683 today to learn more about the different types of services we offer. A member of our team will be happy to answer your questions. 

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