Everyone who is in recovery got sober for a reason. For example, someone might have been feeling the pain of not being able to stop using. Another person might have been watching the destruction of their life. Someone else might have seen how their drug use ruined the relationships with their children. Whatever the reason is people make the call to get treatment because something propelled them.

However, there can be a lot of time in between feeling that impulse to get clean and going through the challenges of detoxifcation. When you’re facing the depression, anxiety, or paranoia that can come with detox, you might suddenly wonder what you’re doing it for. You might suddenly feel like the whole thing isn’t worth it. Or perhaps you made it through detoxification and you’re attending a 12-step meeting. For some reason, you don’t like it. Perhaps you feel as though you don’t fit in. Maybe you’re wondering why everyone is talking about their past like it was the World War II. Instead, you’re thinking about the good times you had when drinking – the exhilarating experiences and the passionate people you spent time with.

If you’re at the start of your recovery and you’re feeling like you’re on the fence about sobriety, you might have some feelings of regret. Yet, if you can think back, you might find that there was in fact a reason why you made the call to get sober. There must have been an impulse that drove you to pick up the phone and ask for help. There must have been something inside you that wanted to stop. In fact, you might have had that feeling for awhile.

It’s easy to forget the reasons why you wanted to get sober when you’re faced with challenges, difficulties, and discomforts of detox or early recovery. If you’re now feeling regret over your decision to get sober, here are some steps to take to help clarify your decision:

  1. Work with a drug counselor or therapist who specializes in addiction. Your feelings of regret and perhaps that desire to return to your old life is common for new recovering addicts. Working with a therapist or drug counselor can help clarify your decision. Together you can review the pros and cons of addiction as well as the pros and cons of sobriety. Together you might try to find the best course of action to take at this point in your life.
  2. Reconnect with the reasons you got sober. You might write out what prompted you to get sober. You might journal about your desire to make a change in your life and compare that to how you’re feeling now. Can you withstand the discomfort you’re feeling now in order to make a greater change in your life? Play with the options you have by journaling about both.
  3. Think about the lives of those you love. It’s very common that addiction doesn’t only affect the user but also the many people that he or she loves. If you’re thinking about returning to your old life, consider how it might affect those around you. You might want to journal about this too. How will continued substance use affect the relationships in your life?


These are suggestions for coping with feelings of regret in early recovery. If you’re having doubts about your ability to stay sober, contact a mental health professional for support.

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