September 10, 2010, Newsletter Issue #272: Early Relapse Prevention: Avoiding Major Life Changes When Possible

Tip of the Week

One of the common features of alcoholic/addict behavior is the tendency to seek impulsive and often self-defeating highs. This tendency can manifest itself in more than just drug/alcohol use. The first year of sobriety can often be more painful than the fun (or even painful) days of using, because the alcoholic/addict is so used to numbing and avoiding painful feelings. If a person is really focusing on his/her recovery, those painful feelings will soon come to the surface.

The tendency is for the person in early recovery to medicate these feelings by causing chaos or excitement in other areas of his/her life. Major geographic, job, relationship, financial, or lifestyle changes are highly discouraged in the first months and year of recovery. This suggestion is very hard for a person in early sobriety to grasp, as he/she is accustomed and even programmed to do something to escape feelings.

Note: For unavoidable changes, like getting fired, a partner leaving you, losing your home, death of a loved one, it is essential that you seek the support of other sober friends, a sponsor and possibly a mental health professional to cope with your situation and to avoid relapse.

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