Unrealistic Expectations in Recovery

November 20, 2017
Solace Asia

What can we expect of our recovery? Can we expect a big house, lots of money, a successful career or all of these at once? Maybe, maybe not – that all depends on how much effort we are willing to work the basics of recovery. Then, if not these, what? At the end of the day, what we can assuredly expect out of recovery is being clean for the day, and that, in early recovery should be enough.

Why is it dangerous to have unrealistic expectations in Recovery?

Sobriety is the baseline of Recovery.

Being abstinent is the very base in which recovery is built on. If our expectations exceed staying clean for the moment/hour/day, other things will drive us closer to a relapse cycle due to the stress and strain involved. Relapse destroys the recovery that was built and we will either have to start from a beginning of sorts or continue using till we reach a new low. Without sobriety, there is no recovery to speak of. Hence, never allow the other more “unrealistic” expectations to shadow the main expectation to be clean for today.

Addiction takes many forms.

We may be done with a primary addiction of sorts but the whole process of avoiding the pain of life by using something as a crutch is a channel to which addiction could return subtly but surely, if not watched. If we are so absorbed by other motives such as getting more money, a fancier car/house, a date with someone, etc.; we are in danger of using these newer motives as a cover for much work that may be needed to solidify our early recovery. It is therefore important to not cross-addict into other substances or processes; and focus on the work of getting ourselves well.

It’s NOT Simple.

We must learn to crawl before we can walk, and learn to walk before we can run and jump. As it is with our legs, so it is with our pleasure circuit. Recovering from addiction has taken a toll on the way we can feel good about things. It’s important to keep life as simple as we can; taking it slow and not pressuring things till they blow over. With a stable mind in the future, a lot more can be done and achieved; yet, if life is not simple but complicated, the tendency is for us to reach for a comforting solution and many a time, that has lead to a relapse. Unrealistic expectations are anything but simple. Having realistic expectations on what I can achieve today is what counts in early recovery. Thus, short-term, mid-term and long-term goals can be set to overcome this danger.

What are realistic expectations?

We can expect to be clean just for today.  

We can expect to surrender our “better judgment” to a higher mind.

We can expect to follow a sobered and structured approach to life on a daily basis.

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