Saying “Yes” to Recovery Means Getting Comfortable With Saying “No”

You may find yourself saying “no” a lot when you are in recovery and that is a good thing! If you are serious about your sobriety, you’ll need to embrace change. Here are some tips on what to avoid.

Just Say No To…

1. Spending time with friends who are still misusing drugs and alcohol. You may miss the people you used to spend a lot of your time with, but it is not in your best interest to maintain these connections if they are still misusing substances. Going to old hangouts or just being around people who remind you of that lifestyle can be a trigger for relapse. Making new friends, instead, is a big part of saying “yes” to recovery.

2. Spending too much time with angry family members or friends. During active addiction, you have hurt the people who were closest to you. Often in recovery, part of the healing process is to identify the part you played in hurting yourself and others in the past. Unfortunately, this can lead to feelings of bitterness and anger that can make it harder for you to stay sober. Though it may be important to address those feelings and the issues that exist between you and your family members, it is important to do it in a way that feels emotionally safe and protects your growth in recovery.

3. Blaming yourself. Yes, there are things you likely wish you had done differently. But you have the opportunity to learn from all that has contributed to who you are today and to make bold choices going forward in recovery. Guilt and shame will only hold you back. While it is important to own your part in the past, it is equally important to take those lessons and allow them to help you give back to yourself, your family, and your community in the future.

4. Thinking that the only thing that has to change in your life is your use of substances. Addiction is not just about drug and alcohol use. It is about a pattern of behavior that resulted in substance misuse. In many cases, sustainable recovery comes through rebuilding choices on a day-by-day basis and choosing to take care of yourself physically and mentally each day.

5. Staying up all night. Or sleeping all day. Or eating fast food at most meals. Or spending the day watching TV most days.  They add up to the fabric of your life, and no matter how insignificant it may feel, choosing to go to the dentist for a checkup every six months, get a flu shot, or eat more vegetables can all help you to feel calmer, healthier, and more confident in your ability to manage stressors in recovery.

6. Shutting down new ideas.  There is a world of opportunities available to you in recovery. You have the opportunity to learn new things, try new things, see new places, and connect with different people every day. Your world is as amazing as you allow it to be, and the more you say “yes” to trying things outside of your comfort zone, the more likely you are to create an incredible life for yourself.

7. Drinking or using drugs.  It should go without saying, but in recovery, there is no justification for picking up any substance, in any amount, at any time. You will undoubtedly face times of great grief or anger, engage in once-in-a-lifetime celebrations, and have thousands of moments where you may be tempted. Recovery is a lifelong process and unfortunately, relapse is often part of the journey. If you do experience relapse, it does not mean you failed in recovery. But it is important to reach out for help so you can get back on track.

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