Early Recovery: Getting It Right

Reviewed May 12, 2017

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Summary

  1. Establish non-negotiables.
  2. Set daily schedules and routines.
  3. Develop a circle of support.

“When I was drinking and doing drugs, I would sleep until noon and get high before I went to work at 3 p.m. After work I would meet my friends and party all night. When I first tried to quit the only thing that I changed was that I no longer used drugs or alcohol. I stayed out late and slept late. I was miserable and went back to drinking and drugging within three weeks.”

—Ricky, age 28

The life of someone with an addiction centers around whatever they are addicted to. Things that used to be important become less so. The early weeks of recovery can be very hard because lifestyle is a hard thing to change. Living a disciplined life can be the key to early recovery.
 
Three things that will help

1. Set up non-negotiables.

Non-negotiables are things absolutely needed for your recovery. Things you must do each day, close to each day, or each week. They reflect your values and build your character. They include duties and commitments to family, work, health, etc. They can include: 12-step meetings or other support groups, daily reading or prayer, family dinners, parenting or family duties, and going to church, synagogue, or other spiritual supports.

It helps to have them written down and talked about with someone you trust. They are called non-negotiables because they are not by choice and are clearly not based on how you feel each day. Mood changes are widely found in early recovery. You will have good days and bad days. But having a tough day can no longer be excuses to avoid what you need to do.

2. Set daily schedules and routines.
 
Decide what time you will rise and go to bed each day. Make time for reading and quiet times as well as your daily 12-step or other recovery meetings. Your daily plan will include your non-negotiables. Less important activities must wait, but schedule them in and keep those appointments too.

Conflicts are a given, but caring for yourself must take priority. Know that being on a schedule does not mean you overload your life with activity. You must build in some down-time.

3. Build a circle of support.

It helps to have an inner circle of two to three others who can support you when things seem to be getting bad. These should be people you can call day or night. They should know you well enough to hold you accountable, support you, or just be with you during your dark hours.

Friends, clergy, and 12-step sponsors may be part of your inner circle. Tell them that you want to be accountable to them. Let them know how often you should talk with them. Tell them the specific situations that are unsafe for you. It helps to let them ask you tough questions about your schedule, meetings, and relationships.

Creating order and accountability will help you stay on track when the emotions and stresses of early recovery run high. It is hard at first. And the good feelings resulting from responsible living are not instant. But unlike the passing highs of addiction, they can last a lifetime.

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, BS, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  1. Establish non-negotiables.
  2. Set daily schedules and routines.
  3. Develop a circle of support.

“When I was drinking and doing drugs, I would sleep until noon and get high before I went to work at 3 p.m. After work I would meet my friends and party all night. When I first tried to quit the only thing that I changed was that I no longer used drugs or alcohol. I stayed out late and slept late. I was miserable and went back to drinking and drugging within three weeks.”

—Ricky, age 28

The life of someone with an addiction centers around whatever they are addicted to. Things that used to be important become less so. The early weeks of recovery can be very hard because lifestyle is a hard thing to change. Living a disciplined life can be the key to early recovery.
 
Three things that will help

1. Set up non-negotiables.

Non-negotiables are things absolutely needed for your recovery. Things you must do each day, close to each day, or each week. They reflect your values and build your character. They include duties and commitments to family, work, health, etc. They can include: 12-step meetings or other support groups, daily reading or prayer, family dinners, parenting or family duties, and going to church, synagogue, or other spiritual supports.

It helps to have them written down and talked about with someone you trust. They are called non-negotiables because they are not by choice and are clearly not based on how you feel each day. Mood changes are widely found in early recovery. You will have good days and bad days. But having a tough day can no longer be excuses to avoid what you need to do.

2. Set daily schedules and routines.
 
Decide what time you will rise and go to bed each day. Make time for reading and quiet times as well as your daily 12-step or other recovery meetings. Your daily plan will include your non-negotiables. Less important activities must wait, but schedule them in and keep those appointments too.

Conflicts are a given, but caring for yourself must take priority. Know that being on a schedule does not mean you overload your life with activity. You must build in some down-time.

3. Build a circle of support.

It helps to have an inner circle of two to three others who can support you when things seem to be getting bad. These should be people you can call day or night. They should know you well enough to hold you accountable, support you, or just be with you during your dark hours.

Friends, clergy, and 12-step sponsors may be part of your inner circle. Tell them that you want to be accountable to them. Let them know how often you should talk with them. Tell them the specific situations that are unsafe for you. It helps to let them ask you tough questions about your schedule, meetings, and relationships.

Creating order and accountability will help you stay on track when the emotions and stresses of early recovery run high. It is hard at first. And the good feelings resulting from responsible living are not instant. But unlike the passing highs of addiction, they can last a lifetime.

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, BS, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  1. Establish non-negotiables.
  2. Set daily schedules and routines.
  3. Develop a circle of support.

“When I was drinking and doing drugs, I would sleep until noon and get high before I went to work at 3 p.m. After work I would meet my friends and party all night. When I first tried to quit the only thing that I changed was that I no longer used drugs or alcohol. I stayed out late and slept late. I was miserable and went back to drinking and drugging within three weeks.”

—Ricky, age 28

The life of someone with an addiction centers around whatever they are addicted to. Things that used to be important become less so. The early weeks of recovery can be very hard because lifestyle is a hard thing to change. Living a disciplined life can be the key to early recovery.
 
Three things that will help

1. Set up non-negotiables.

Non-negotiables are things absolutely needed for your recovery. Things you must do each day, close to each day, or each week. They reflect your values and build your character. They include duties and commitments to family, work, health, etc. They can include: 12-step meetings or other support groups, daily reading or prayer, family dinners, parenting or family duties, and going to church, synagogue, or other spiritual supports.

It helps to have them written down and talked about with someone you trust. They are called non-negotiables because they are not by choice and are clearly not based on how you feel each day. Mood changes are widely found in early recovery. You will have good days and bad days. But having a tough day can no longer be excuses to avoid what you need to do.

2. Set daily schedules and routines.
 
Decide what time you will rise and go to bed each day. Make time for reading and quiet times as well as your daily 12-step or other recovery meetings. Your daily plan will include your non-negotiables. Less important activities must wait, but schedule them in and keep those appointments too.

Conflicts are a given, but caring for yourself must take priority. Know that being on a schedule does not mean you overload your life with activity. You must build in some down-time.

3. Build a circle of support.

It helps to have an inner circle of two to three others who can support you when things seem to be getting bad. These should be people you can call day or night. They should know you well enough to hold you accountable, support you, or just be with you during your dark hours.

Friends, clergy, and 12-step sponsors may be part of your inner circle. Tell them that you want to be accountable to them. Let them know how often you should talk with them. Tell them the specific situations that are unsafe for you. It helps to let them ask you tough questions about your schedule, meetings, and relationships.

Creating order and accountability will help you stay on track when the emotions and stresses of early recovery run high. It is hard at first. And the good feelings resulting from responsible living are not instant. But unlike the passing highs of addiction, they can last a lifetime.

By Drew Edwards, EdD, MS
Reviewed by Trenda Hedges, BS, CRSS, Recovery Team Manager, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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