Recovering from addiction is a process that takes time, and even the most successful recovery stories are often filled with barriers and challenges that the person had to overcome. In order to keep making progress and continue on the path to lifelong sobriety, it’s important to recognize what these barriers might be and develop a plan on how to approach each situation for the best chance at a successful outcome. Otherwise a person trying to recover might find that they become “stuck” in recovery and are unable to move on for a more satisfying life after drug or alcohol addiction. Here are some of the most common barriers a person in recovery might encounter.
The Dreadful Duo: Shame and Guilt
Guilt and shame are two emotions you are likely to feel. Do not wallow in these negative emotions, though, because it will do you no good. Be proactive. Your addiction does not define you; it does not have to dictate your life.
Don’t keep these struggles and emotions to yourself. Find a support network who will encourage you and remind you of the truth and your goals.
Not Being Completely Committed
A person who is ambivalent about whether or not they want to be in recovery may not be able to fully commit to the program and the steps necessary to achieve sobriety in the long term. If, on one hand, the person likes the idea of becoming sober, but simultaneously finds enjoyment in their addiction, it will be very difficult to stay away from the drugs or alcohol entirely, and the risk of relapse is high.
Not Seeking Treatment for Other Mental Health Issues
Many people who suffer from addiction to drugs or alcohol have underlying mental health conditions that either have not been properly diagnosed, or are not being treated appropriately. Drugs and alcohol are often used to mask conditions like depression or anxiety and without a diagnosis and treatment to help with these conditions, the person is at risk of relapse, or substituting another addiction to help cope with these issues.
Spending Time Around Negative Influences
Even the most successful addiction recovery for men and women can be derailed by outside influences, particularly if one of the reasons for using drugs or alcohol was a proximity to these substances and the influence of family members or friends. If a person returns to an environment where these behaviors are normal—even if others using these substances do so in a safe and controlled manner—it can be very difficult for the recovering addict to avoid relapse.
The Seemingly Small Slips: Session Skips
Missing one or two sessions won’t do much damage, right? It may not for a time, but it will eventually. Ditching one or two meetings can lead to the formation of a habit. Take each session seriously and see attendance as a responsibility.
Understand that there’s no greater therapy than being in the company of people committed to the same goals. It’s is better to stick with this group than your former friends.
Not Addressing Addictive Personality
A person who becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol may also have some personality traits that make it more likely he or she will be susceptible to these behaviors, including:
- High risk tolerance
- Acting impulsively
- Antisocial behaviors
- An attraction to non-conformity
- Difficulty with delayed gratification
- Low self-esteem
- Attention-seeking behavior
If these personality traits are not also addressed, and the person is not provided with coping skills to overcome these things, he or she may have difficulty with long-term sobriety, or may simply replace drug and alcohol addiction with other addictive behaviors, including exercise addiction, workaholism, internet addiction, or eating disorders.
Understanding common barriers to recovery is essential to creating a successful path forward when a person is trying to overcome drug or alcohol addiction. Find a Utah addiction recovery center today to discover a life free from addiction.