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4 Pitfalls in Recovery Self-care

4 Pitfalls in Recovery Self-care

Published: March 17, 2022

Recovery is a journey. It is often a lengthy process, and there will be a number of hidden difficulties along the way, many of which you may not be expecting or think that you can handle. 

In order to take care of yourself during this time, there may be certain things you think you should do or people to see that will help. However, not everything is safe, and some people or places can be triggering and may put you at risk of relapse. 

Spending Time with Certain People

It can be tempting to hang around with the same people you did when you had an active addiction, due to wanting a social life, fun, and connection. As difficult as it may be to avoid these people, it is important to try to spend time away from them when you are in recovery. They could act as a social trigger, an interaction with a person or group of people which prompts cravings for drugs or alcohol.

Making new friends who still drink or use drugs regularly as a way to socialize is dangerous too as this could lead to relapse. 

You may be worried that you will feel isolated without these people in your life for now. However, there are other, safer, and healthier ways to form a friendship group and gain support. 12-step meetings and sober support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can help you to feel protected and empowered as well as provide a sense of connection. You could also consider joining a sports team or a hobby you enjoy, such as a pottery class or photography club, as a healthy way to meet new people and not feel isolated. 

Overthinking Your Recovery

It is natural to want to have the best recovery possible. However, if you overthink and worry about your journey and something doesn’t go to plan (which may happen), it will lead to self-doubt, negative self-talk, and lower self-esteem. All of these things can make you feel like you may as well give up or that you have failed in some way.

It is important to understand how tough recovery can be and be kind to yourself and proud of yourself for being on this journey, no matter the difficulties you may face or if something trips you up. The key thing is to keep trying and not give up, and letting go of perfection will help to make this process easier.

Starting a Romantic Relationship

Beginning a romantic relationship in early recovery might seem like a great idea: a chance to have a support system, emotional connection, and comfort. However, unfortunately, this is generally advised against. 

This is because:

  • It can distract from your recovery journey. Romance in the first year of being sober often replaces your recovery goals and stops you from being disciplined and motivated, which can put you in a vulnerable position. You may miss 12-step meetings, therapy appointments, and spend less time repairing important friendships and relationships with family members to spend more time with your partner. 
  • It can lead to identity problems. A life without drugs or alcohol may make you feel as if you have lost a sense of who you are, and feel confused about your identity. It is vital to spend this new year working on yourself, creating healthy habits, and rediscovering things that make you feel happy. Entering into a romantic relationship too soon can fill this gap of identity with another person, which will make you extra vulnerable if you break up or encounter problems. 
  • Love is a drug. As a recovering addict, you may become obsessed with the intoxicating feelings of love, and forget to work on yourself and heal from within. Love can have the same effect on your brain as drugs and swapping drugs and alcohol with love is dangerous as it can make it tough to figure out who you are on your own. 

Over-Indulging in Exercise

The benefits of exercise in recovery, and in general, are huge: it boosts your happiness, health, and makes you feel good about yourself. However, you should bear in mind that becoming obsessed with exercise has similarities to drug addiction. 

Compulsive exercising can lead to someone feeling like they need to work out but not gaining any pleasure from it and can lead to injuries and exhaustion. It can also lead to neglect in other areas of recovery, such as rebuilding relationships and attending appointments. 


Being aware of some of the common pitfalls during recovery self-care will help you to feel prepared for, and perhaps even avoid, some of the challenges which may arise. The important thing is to be kind to yourself and not to worry if you make mistakes or feel like you are struggling. Recovery is a difficult process, but with the right support and guidance, you will get through it. Continuing this journey will be one of the best decisions you will ever make.

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