As a general rule of thumb, it's wise to avoid making significant life changes in recovery, especially during the beginning stages. You want to keep things steady and predictable- this mindset allows you to focus exclusively on your recovery needs.
But what happens if the change is necessary? Or if it's sudden and unplanned?
It's important to be prepared for dealing with the ebbs and flows that change brings. Having this preparation will help you feel more accountable, empowered, and confident in your recovery choices. Let's get into the top tips!
Acknowledge the Change Itself
Although it may seem obvious, many people dismiss or rationalize change as being "not that big of a deal." You might even get upset with yourself for reacting to what's going on.
Instead, acknowledge what's happening. Remember that change is normal, but normalcy isn't immunity against having intense reactions.
Try your best to validate your thoughts and feelings- remember that most people have reactions to change. It's a normal part of the human experience!
Stay Connected to Your Support
Support isn't just crucial for getting you sober- it's an essential component of keeping you sober, particularly during rough moments. Your mentors and loved ones can provide you insight, guidance, and compassion as you navigate this vulnerable time.
If you want to reap the benefits of support, you must be willing to share your feelings. These disclosures may feel uncomfortable, and it's typical to want to resist them. However, people who truly love you will want to help you- they will want to ensure that you're safe and protected!
Stick to a Routine (as Much as Possible)
Following a routine can help you stay grounded and accountable. It offers a sense of normalcy when life may feel entirely chaotic and scary.
Routine can be as simple as following the same morning ritual in the morning. For example, maybe you will commit to waking up at a certain time, taking a shower, and eating breakfast- no matter what. Or, you will commit to attending an AA meeting every Monday at 7:00 pm- no matter what.
The point isn't about making an intense, rigorous routine- the point is having some kind of predictable flow throughout your day.
Pause Before Acting
Have you ever put something in an online shopping cart, abandoned the checkout, and then realized you never really wanted the item? If so, you've practiced impulse control, and you've learned that immediate feelings don't always correlate to actual intent.
To cope with sudden changes, you might find yourself feeling impulsive tempted to engage in dangerous behaviors. While these may or may not directly coincide with your sobriety, snap judgments can invariably impact your progress.
Instead, commit to giving yourself the gift of time. Practice self-restraint by giving yourself at least 24-48 hours before following through with action. You'll start learning the difference between temporary urges and legitimate needs.
Make a Plan
What's your next move in dealing with this change? What concrete actions can you follow to take care of yourself?
No matter the specific situation, moving into a solution-based mode can lift your spirits. It can also keep you focused on the specific tasks at hand. Having a plan, even if it's somewhat vague, helps you outline your future.
If you aren't sure how to make a plan, reach out to a therapist, life coach, or another mentor. Be honest about your current feelings and needs- ask for specific guidance on how you can handle this transition with more ease.
Find the Gratitude
Some changes, like getting married or starting a new job, are naturally exciting and enjoyable to embrace. Other changes, like a sudden death or medical tragedy, can be downright devastating and debilitating. And some changes fall somewhere in the middle- triggering various emotions that sometimes compete with one another.
No matter the situation, try to focus on gratitude. Think about the small things in life that bring you joy- think about the blessings that keep you safe or healthy or loved. Reflect on your gratitude often, especially when things feel challenging.
Gratitude doesn't eradicate difficult feelings or negate the effort needed to cope with such transitions. But the more you can shift into gratitude, the less daunting such changes will feel.
Are You Dealing with Major Life Changes in Recovery?
Even when everything is seemingly going well, staying on track often feels difficult. Dealing with major life changes in recovery can undoubtedly throw an unexpected wrench into your plans.
At The Resurface Group, we support our clients as they process, grow, and adapt to new situations. We understand that change is a normal part of life, that it's something we can all learn to face. Surviving isn't the goal- flourishing is.
We are here for you and your loved ones. Contact us today to see how we can help!