Clean and sober from drugs and alcohol? Congratulations! Your life in recovery has begun, and now it is your decision to not drink and use each day.
Dr. Allen Berger, Ph.D. believes that there are are a series of stupid decisions addicts make that mess up their recovery, which he shared in his appropriately titled book, 12 Stupid Things That Mess Up Recovery: Avoiding Relapse Through Self-Awareness and Right Action.
Stupid Thing 1: Believing that Addiction to One Substance is the Only Problem
Addiction to one mind-altering substance means addiction to all mind-altering substances. If you prefer heroin, but you stop using it and think that you can drink alcohol responsibly, this is one stupid decision that will mess up your recovery.
Stupid Thing 2: Believing Sobriety Will Fix Everything
Getting clean and sober is a big step, and it is not easy, but it really is just the first step in recovery from addiction. You will mess up your recovery if you do not do the work everyday to grow in other ways. In many cases, mental illness accompanies addiction, so addressing your symptoms of depression, for example, will sustain your recovery.
Stupid Thing 3: Pursuing Recovery With Less Energy Than Pursuing Addiction
Stupid Thing 4: Being Selectively Honest
Stupid Thing 5: Feeling Special and Unique
Stupid Thing 6: Not Making Amends
Carrying around guilt about things that your addiction lead you to do to those you care about, and not taking the steps (suggested by a 12-Step Program) to make the appropriate amends, can mess up your recovery. You can take the steps now to repair relationships so that you are not living with guilt, or resentment, that could lead to a relapse.
Stupid Thing 7: Using the Problem to Try to Become Perfect
Stupid Thing 8: Confusing Self-Concern with Selfishness
Self-care and self-love are so important for addicts to develop. Low self-worth can be a part in why you started abusing substances in the first place, but without changing those mindsets that keep you lacking confidence, you may mess up your recovery.
Stupid Thing 9: Playing Futile Self-Improvement Games
Stupid Thing 10: Not Getting Help for Relationship Troubles
Interpersonal relationships with family members and friends always suffer when one person in the relationship is substance addicted. No one person can solve their relationship problems alone, so not seeking treatment, generally in the form of counseling, can mess up your recovery.
Stupid Thing 11: Believing That Life Should Be Easy
Life is not easy for anyone, so why would you be any different? Addiction has added an even harder ingredient to your life, which you can work on everyday, but thinking that life should be easy will mess up your recovery.
Stupid Thing 12: Using the Program to Handle Everything
Try to avoid making stupid decisions that will mess up your recovery! Seek help to make healthy decisions for your substance-free life!