As with many things in life, addiction recovery can occasionally seem stagnant. These plateaus along the way are a normal part of the experience, so the important lesson to remember is not to let any time of stagnation derail all the progress you have already made. If you recognize the signs of a stagnant recovery, then you can make the proper adjustments to move forward.
One way to deal with plateaus in plateaus in recovery is to review some of the basics you learned while in treatment. The first and most important thought to remember is that you recognized you had a problem, so you reached out for help. You took this very difficult step, and remembering that step can strongly motivate you to keep moving forward. Furthermore, during rehab, you learned about your addiction: its causes, your family history of addiction, your addiction triggers, the people associated with your addiction, other relationships and how to deal with stress and drug cravings. After treatment ends, you can address stagnancy if you review all these aspects with your therapist, accountability partner and support group. In doing so, you can remember where you have been and how far you have come in your struggle to stay drug free. As with most tasks that require daily practice to see improvement, you can strengthen your resolve to persevere if you review the basics of addiction recovery. This act can also increase your ability to resist the temptation to use drugs again when you hit a plateau.
Many drug addicts neglect proper self-care, so they may suffer from malnutrition and severe sleep deprivation upon entering treatment. Along with getting to the heart of your addiction, you need proper medical care, healthy nutrition and general education in wellness to strengthen and equip both your body and the mind to fight drug cravings. Once rehab ends, it is up to you to continue caring for yourself. Start an exercise program, learn as much as you can about choosing healthy foods and reduce stress and get quality sleep to keep your body and mind alert. These benefits will help you recognize triggers and cravings so you can make the necessary changes to avoid them.
When you are tired and stressed, it is much easier to succumb to the habits that made you feel good in the past. If you find yourself in a recovery plateau, then make changes in your self-care to jumpstart your recovery process and avoid relapse.
When you hit a plateau and recovery feels stagnant, focus on your past successes to motivate yourself to move forward. Past successes remind you that you have the power to make the right decisions; they do not make it any easier to avoid drug abuse, but they can give you the courage you need to try one more time. One small lapse in judgment can undo all the good you have done, so past victories can serve as the road signs to future success. One more good choice is one more step on the journey to a life free from the control of drugs or alcohol.
When recovery becomes stagnant, it could be a sign that your life needs new energy to make good decisions seem worthwhile. Start a new hobby, learn a new skill or blow the dust off a pastime you formerly loved to get some positive energy back into your life. In doing so, you may give yourself a reason to be excited about recovery. Learning something new reminds you that you can achieve what you want, which includes your recovery.
Sometimes simple life changes are not enough to help you through a plateau in a stagnant recovery. If you have tried adjusting your daily routine and your doctor has ruled out physical concerns, then it may be time to ramp up your support system. Add one or two additional sessions with your therapist each week to begin this process, because your therapist can review the lessons you learned in rehab and help you find healthy ways to reduce stress and deal with cravings. Your therapist can also help you see the problems that drag you down. Together, you can create a plan to deal with each issue that causes problems.
Along with additional therapy sessions, plan to attend additional support group meetings. The people in your support group understand better than anyone the things that you are facing. They can offer helpful suggestions for getting past your recovery plateau and provide a safe place for you to share your fears and frustrations.
Plateaus are a normal part of the healing process. Using the coping skills from rehab, increasing self-care and adding new activities to your daily routine are just a few ways to deal with a stagnant recovery. If you or a loved one struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, then know that we are here you. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now to speak with an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.