When you decide to get sober, you are already making a significant change. And the process of early recovery, depending upon your situation, can encompass many changes. For instance, if you were once homeless, then perhaps part of recovery means finding a home. Or you may be attending a residential addiction treatment center, which means that you’ll need to find a new home once you’re discharged from treatment. Other significant changes that can take place in early recovery is finding work, becoming financially stable, and/or making amends with family. Because of the many life altering experiences that might take place in the first year, health experts recommend that recovering addicts avoid making other big life changes during this time.
The types of changes that men and women should avoid include:
- –Launching a new business
- –Moving to a new country
- –Going on a long trip (which may keep a person from attending AA meetings, support groups, and/or therapy during their recovery)
- –Having a baby
- –Getting divorced
- –Going to college
- –Changing a career
- –Taking on more responsibilities at work
As mentioned above, some of these changes might be unavoidable. For instance, you may decide to take on more responsibilities at work in order to have extra income for the costs of addiction treatment. Or you might have gotten sober because you knew you were pregnant and having a baby will naturally happen while you’re in early recovery. Or you might feel that moving to another country will support your sobriety. These might be reasons behind needing to make a significant life change during the first year of sobriety.
However, if you can avoid it, the less change the better. Recovery is already an experience that may come with great challenge. It might be challenging to manage the stress of learning new coping tools, ignoring cravings, and avoiding certain friends and family members. Because recovery is an experience of changing your entire lifestyle, you might find that you’re experiencing more psychological and physical anxiety. Facing this alone might require you to focus on sobriety versus other major life changes.
You might find yourself asking the question – how much too is too much during recovery? Experts recommend that a person’s focus should be solely on sobriety. Everything that a person does should be in favor of staying sober. Because that alone is a daunting task, everything that a newly recovering addict does should support that. This might mean staying committed to the following tasks:
- –Forming a network of support
- –Attending 12-step meetings, support groups, and weekly therapy
- –Visiting your doctor on a regular basis
- –Planning for the future, such as finding work and a stable place to live
- –Getting to know what your emotional triggers are to avoid impulses to use drugs or drink
- –Learning new coping tools for emotional or stressful circumstances
- –Tending to any psychological illnesses you might have
- –Finding other ways to commit to sobriety
As you can see, this list is already full of tasks that require one’s attention, energy, and time. If you’re in your first year of recovery, do your best to avoid making other significant life changes.
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