Many suffering from the disease of addiction, whether they’re in recovery or still out there, have formed their own ideas about recovery. These ideas about recovery are formed from cherry picking the experiences of others in recovery they have met or heard about. They hear a fellow addict in a meeting describe how recovery has led to their career taking off, how their relationships are better than ever, and all the fun outings they were part of. Impressionable addicts in early recovery may latch onto these positive experiences but not hear the less attractive aspects of the stories, regarding the difficult work needed to achieve the attractive aspects of recovery. This can lead to those early in recovery forming somewhat unrealistic expectations about what recovery will, or should, be like. They begin to expect the “pink cloud” in their lives.
Having high expectations about recovery isn’t a bad thing, as long as they are properly managed. Recovery can certainly lead to achieving nearly any goal you want, as long as the work is put in. These expectations can become harmful if all the good aspects of other’s recovery experiences are highlighted, while the work needed to achieve these things is not. This can lead to someone in early recovery thinking that everything should improve by default. It can leave them wondering why aspects of their life haven’t improved as much as others.
Those in early recovery have a tendency to romanticize their addictions. This, coupled with thinking their personal recovery isn’t as “fun” as others, may lead them to think about going back to their drug of choice. They feel the fun aspects of life they are not achieving in recovery were achieved when they were under the influence of their drug of choice. This is a dangerous thought process, which can lead to relapse. If an individual does relapse, they typically find that addiction wasn’t as they remembered it. Many times, things are much worse the second time around.
Managing expectations for recovery is very important for those new to sobriety. It is crucial for the newcomer to understand that recovery can offer many things, but all these things require work to achieve them. Harmony Foundation’s addiction treatment programs incorporate teachings that help our clients understand the work needed to achieve their individual goals in recovery. If you have recently relapsed, Harmony offers a program to help you in your recommitment to recovery. We help you incorporate the tools and mindset necessary to achieve all of your life goals in recovery.