Gauging Recovery Progress and Persisting

Gauging Recovery Progress and Persisting

It's important to try to determine how well you are doing in your recovery process, and you should try to make such a determination as early as you can.

One thing that's necessary at the very beginning is to understand what was motivating you to engage in your addiction in the first place. Anxiety and stress in connection with adversities in your life were likely primary factors. Another primary factor was an attempt to distract yourself from difficult emotions rather than to let those emotions arise within you so that you could subsequently process them.

At any rate, let’s say you’ve recently quit an addiction of some kind. Perhaps it's your fifth day off of drinking too much coffee. Maybe it's been a week since you've curbed your overeating. You may have recently stopped eating in between meals. It might be your second day off of tobacco. You might have stopped frivolous spending recently. Maybe you're going to bed at 11:00 o'clock instead of two in the morning or have stopped watching TV all night in attempts to drown out troubling thoughts. You might have recently quit drinking, stopped smoking pot, or quit using a hard drug of some kind.

When you quit your addiction, at first you will almost certainly feel liberated, and you may get your self-esteem back. But you’ll also almost certainly be experiencing many unpleasant physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. The unpleasantness may make it difficult for you to determine how well you’re doing in terms of recovery.

You may find it difficult to judge if you’re in peril of relapsing when the addiction you’re recovering from is one that is not life-threatening. When you’re not confronted with fear of death, you may not be exercising the discipline that is necessary to progress on your recovery path.

One indicator of the recovery process success will be how you react to situations that ordinarily trigger you. Perhaps you’ll be somewhat irate and cranky. You’ll probably find it necessary to explain to others that you’re going through a big shift change and apologize for being agitated. Close friends will understand and try to be compassionate.

As you attempt to gauge your recovery, understand that indulging in positive actions will help you with that process. You must meditate. You must pray. You must exercise. You must engage in the things that move you away from temptation to indulge in addictive behaviors. And you must journal in order to have a written record of what you are going through. Journaling is particularly important: When you do it, you can use your writings as a tool to examine and adjust your behavior accordingly to improve your situation.

If you persist in taking the proper actions in recovery, you will see improvement. But you must persist. You must not listen to voices in your head that tell you that it’s OK to give in to the temptation to relapse. You must take care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally. You must rely on your network of people and call people to discuss your struggles. You must pray, meditate, and serve others. If you are doing all of those things, then you can be confident that you’re making significant progress in your recovery, even if you struggle at times.

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