7 Dangerous Pitfalls to Watch For in Early Recovery

Written by Jackie Calkins

If you are in early addiction recovery, congratulations! You’ve accomplished what may be one of the most important achievements in your life, believe it or not. There is no area of life that addiction does not affect. That can mean a lot of pain and loss for many of us. But it also means that being in recovery can shine light into nearly every dark corner of your mind and improve your life in innumerable ways. 


Early Recovery Means Facing Lots of Challenges

Recovery is precious and hard-won, and if we lose our grip, it can be very difficult to get it back. Being in recovery from addiction means keeping a positive attitude wherever we can. But we also must be realistic and objective. The fact is that early recovery can be a very challenging time for most people. Above all else, the team at JourneyPure at the River wants you to be able to protect and nurture your sobriety. 

With that in mind, we made this list of 7 dangerous pitfalls that could threaten your recovery and sobriety. These potential traps are common among people in early recovery and, unfortunately, often lead to slip or relapse. In this blog, we’ll go over each pitfall and provide some practical advice on how to avoid them. 

Remember, recovery is a journey and a process. It is a lifestyle that we practice from here forward. It’s also about progress, not perfection as they say. We must show ourselves and others forgiveness and understanding. Now, let’s get into our list of 7 pitfalls to watch out for in early recovery. 


1.) Overconfidence

Feeling on top of the world is great, but it is important to stay humble in recovery. Overconfidence can lead to complacency and a loss of focus on daily routines that keep you sober. The best advice is to stay grounded in the present and keep working your program. Try to stay on an even keel. This is one reason why there is so much emphasis on the principle of humility in recovery, incidentally.


2.) Relationships

Early recovery can be lonely, and wanting to fill the void with new relationships is common. However, new relationships can be a major pitfall if they are formed too quickly or with the wrong people. It’s important to build a solid foundation first. Your recovery and sobriety must be your first priority. Anything you put ahead of them is in jeopardy. The relationship you put ahead of your recovery is likely to be lost along with your sobriety. 


3.) Personal Triggers 

Triggers are things that cause you to think about using drugs or alcohol again. There are many different triggers for different people. Common ones include old friends and locations (people, places, and things), stress, or even holidays. Being aware of your triggers and having a plan to deal with them when they arise is critical. Always keep numbers and contact information for your support system on hand. Try to make it a routine to reach out to them when encountering a serious trigger. Better yet, talk to them beforehand. 


4.) Boredom

Boredom doesn’t’ sound inherently dangerous, but it can be a major trigger for relapse, believe it or not. Being in recovery can leave us suddenly feeling like we have much more free time. It can also leave you feeling bored. Filling your free time with positive activities and hobbies that give you pleasure is essential. Taking on new hobbies, sports, and healthy activities in early recovery is a great idea. Both to enhance your quality of life and as a preventative measure. Don’t wait until you become bored to button up this potential pitfall. Keep yourself busy! 


5.) Negative Thinking

Negative thoughts can lead to an overall negative mindset, which can damage your recovery. Reframe your negative mindset by practicing self-compassion and positive affirmations. We get it; it’s not always easy to do, especially if you’re naturally pessimistic or when things aren’t going your way. But believe that it is possible because it is. Make a real effort to combat negativity, and we promise you will be amazed by the difference that can make in your life. 


6.) Strong Emotions

Early recovery can be overwhelming and with it often comes powerful emotions. Both because recovery is challenging and also because when you’ve numbed your feelings for a long time and suddenly become sober and clearheaded again, those feelings can return with a vengeance. A key recovery principle is learning to pause and sit with your feelings before reacting to them. It’s next to impossible to stay sober without improving your ability to manage your emotions. No one does it perfectly; we’re aiming for progress, not perfection. But make sure this is a priority for your early recovery, especially. Learning how to cope with intense emotions and stress through mindfulness techniques, prayer, or deep breathing exercises can help you manage these feelings and, ultimately, stay sober.


7.) Isolation

Although it’s normal to want to withdraw from others when you’re feeling overwhelmed, isolation is not healthy. It can be especially dangerous for those of us in recovery. Attending meetings on a regular basis and surrounding yourself with people who support your sobriety can ease feelings of loneliness. Helping other people and getting involved in service work is also an outstanding cure for feelings of loneliness. Absolutely anyone can do it, and it works absolutely every time. It may not erase every ounce of isolation in your heart, but it will make you feel better and that’s progress. 


Avoid Pitfalls in Recovery and Keep Growing Stronger

Recovery is a process, and it’s important to stay mindful of these potential pitfalls that could threaten your sobriety, especially during early recovery. Being aware of these seven dangerous pitfalls can help you grow in recovery and become more resilient against relapse. Remember:  Stay humble, stay close to others, have options to deal with triggers, fill your free time positively and don’t give into negativity. If you or someone you love is having a hard time getting and staying sober, JourneyPure by the River wants to help. Give us a call at (888) 985-2207 and find out what we can do for you or your loved one.