22 Aug Unrealistic Expectations about Recovery

Unrealistic expectations about recovery not only cause feelings of disappointment and discouragement during recovery—they can lead an individual in recovery to relapse. Moreover, far-reaching expectations might cause you to misjudge negatively the progress that you are making in recovery. While you truly do have many positive things to gain and experience by becoming clean, it’s important to enter life post-treatment prepared with true-to-life expectations of what is to come and what struggles you may face. Here are some common unrealistic expectations about addiction recovery that you should avoid.

“Recovery is a destination.”

In recovery, there isn’t really a moment you reach where you can suddenly identify as being sober. Rather, recovery is a lifelong journey, which will get easier over time as you learn how to avoid temptations and master life lived sober. Be sure to dispel of the myth that recovery is a destination so that you can focus on establishing a substance abuse-free lifestyle that will keep you sober for years to come.

“Life’s problems will go away.”

Addiction does bring with it a host of problems that you could prevent by avoiding substance abuse in the first place—marital problems, financial instability, lack of job security, and legal problems, for example. If addiction has led to any of these, then becoming clean can only help. But keep in mind that barriers and hardships come to everyone in life, including those who are not involved in substance abuse.

“I can do this alone.”

Just as addiction treatment involves meeting with a variety of people, from coaches and addiction specialists to fellow recovering addicts, life after treatment should involve members of your support group. Recovering from addiction truly is a team effort, and meeting with your alumni group, keeping in touch with your mentors, and spending quality time with friends and family will add strength to your recovery. Don’t underestimate the power that these people have to help.

“The progress will come quickly.”

If you’ve recently completed an in-patient addiction treatment program, you’ve made a great deal of progress already. Not only that, but your progress is clear to see and is contained within a concrete time period. You can point to detox, overcoming withdrawal, and completing your program all as points of success. Life after treatment, however, requires a keener eye to see progress, as it will come slowly but surely if you remain committed.

Mike Keenan is a Licensed Substance Use Disorder Counselor (LSUDC) and is continuing his education by pursuing a degree in Social Work at the University of Utah. Mike began his career in 2008 working in youth residential treatment. Soon after, he identified his passion for working with the adult population suffering from addiction and chemical dependency and transitioned into adult residential, in-patient, and out-patient treatment. Mike has excelled in a variety of supervisory and director level positions, and is currently succeeding as the Director of Client Relations at Therápia. In addition, Mike has been practicing as a Certified Equine Specialist, using the EAGALA Model, since 2008. Using the EAGALA model, he works in a team to facilitate Equine Psychotherapy and Equine Life-skills sessions. Mike grew up in St. George Utah and has always taken advantage of the wide array of outdoor and recreational activities Southern Utah provides. He has capitalized on his love for and expertise in the stunning surrounding environment to facilitate experiential therapy and metaphorical learning.

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