Managing Your Expectations in Early Recovery
The addiction recovery process comes with emotions high and low. When we’re undergoing this process, we can place unrealistic expectations upon ourselves. After the withdrawal phase, people in the phase of early recovery can go through an almost honeymoon-like stage, where everything feels like it will be great from now on. However, it’s important to remember that the early stages of recovery can cause various emotions, and one of the best ways to enter the recovery process is to manage your expectations. What are some of the best ways to do this?
Understanding Unrealistic Expectations
It is important to remember that there will be many mental and physiological changes associated with recovery. The addiction recovery process shouldn’t involve extreme highs or lows, which is why it’s important to know what unrealistic expectations look like. These include some of the following:
- Thinking it will be “a walk in the park.” Some people believe that going in for addiction treatment and recovery is as quick as taking a magic pill. The process of undergoing addiction treatment forces you to look at yourself and face up to some harsh truths.
- Believing you will feel immediately better. Some people have that romantic notion that after 30 days in rehab that you are immediately cured. The reality is that the process of recovery involves a number of steps relating to the physical detox as well as the therapy side of things. The process of dealing with addiction is about understanding that it can be a long road to recovery.
- Doing recovery alone. Some people believe that they have the mental strength to do it by themselves. But it’s important to remember that everybody needs help. When it comes to a condition like addiction, it can distort reality so much that we’ve got to break ourselves down before we build ourselves back up. Recovery is something that is best done with support in a professional sense, as well as with the support of loved ones.
- Believing recovery doesn’t require change. In order to go through the process of recovery, you have to understand that there’s a lot to unravel within yourself. This requires being prepared to face up to some harsh truths while also understanding that, in order to actually facilitate change and growth, you need to be vulnerable, which is a strength.
What Are the Best Ways To Set Realistic Expectations in Addiction Recovery?
When we’re looking at managing expectations, it’s not purely about one facet of treatment. Recovery involves a number of practices that we can all undergo as individuals and as part of the treatment process. Recovery is a process; it doesn’t have a set end date, and with every two steps forward, there can be one step back. When we allow ourselves the license to understand that we are human and that recovery is not about going from A to B, we can truly place importance on the recovery process.
- Educate yourself on the treatment process. Learning about what needs to be done in the treatment process gives you a far better idea of what you can expect, but also what is expected of you. When we understand what types of treatment there are and delve deeper into what these treatments actually do, we can prepare ourselves emotionally, physically, and mentally.
- Learning about addiction. Addiction is a disease, not something that is linked to our morals. If we can understand the brain’s role in addiction, this can help us to better understand how treatment can facilitate recovery but can also ensure that we give ourselves the support we need. Addiction is not because you are a failure. It is a chemical process.
- Pay attention to your health. Minimizing stress and anxiety can be a crucial aspect of dealing with the recovery process. When you start to focus on your physical and mental health, it puts you in a far stronger position to deal with any form of setback. It’s going to help you to develop appropriate expectations and realize that recovery is a process that doesn’t have an end date.
How Can You Maintain Your Expectations?
The recovery process is something that may take its toll on our expectations. It may take time for us to truly appreciate how long it can take to recover. Maintaining expectations is just as important as setting them.
- Acknowledge the progress you have made. It’s taken a lot for you to take the first tentative steps to admit that you are experiencing an addiction, let alone actually have the bravery to step into recovery. No matter how many steps you have taken, they are always steps in the right direction. Acknowledging you have made progress is so important to your frame of mind.
- Look after yourself. Maintaining your mind and body is crucial to ensuring that you are able to deal with stress. Feeling that you are not progressing as quickly as you would like with your recovery can have effects on your mind and body. Self-care is a vital component as it means you don’t just look after yourself, but you are minimizing the mental and physical effects of anxiety.
- Prepare for disruptions. We can take two steps forward and one step back, but that doesn’t mean that we are a failure. We are always heading in the right direction, but as is common in any form of recovery, you can take steps in the right direction but hit a roadblock, whether physically, emotionally, or psychologically.
- Reach out for support. Professional or personal support is always there. During the Addiction Recovery process, ensuring that you understand that support like Peaks Recovery is there to help you is invaluable. We all have expectations of ourselves and we think that we should be progressing at a certain rate. But there is no one-size-fits-all approach.