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Early Recovery - from the Recovery Learning Series at SupportNet.ca - Resources for Your Recovery.

Recovery is learning to enjoy life - without the use of alcohol or drugs that alter mind or mood.

It is treatment for the condition of addiction - an approach to the challenges of life - and a path to personal growth.

Recovery requires us to learn - about the true nature of addiction.

It may be personalized - but it has its necessary Principles and its Ways.

The Principles of Recovery provide direction - to the choices that we face each day.

The Ways of Recovery provide us with tools - that help us to heal - and to enjoy life on life’s terms.

This Learning Seminar will discuss the topic of Early Recovery -

What you need to know about Early Recovery - and how to respond to its challenges.

Issues of Early Recovery

The greatest challenge to early recovery - is that the pressures of addiction continue - sometimes long after you’d like to stop using.

The compulsion to use may persist, linger or recur. It has lost connection to psychological meaning, rational sense or mere habit.

Urges to use may just occur - or are triggered by people, places, objects or feelings.

The thoughts on our mind have been bent and distorted by the compulsive use of drugs - trying to make sense of what has no real sense.

Denial, blame and other sick mental habits carry forward into recovery - and seem to justify recurrent use.

Feelings may be raw and exaggerated. Anger, shame, guilt and self-pity bring powerful urges to use.

We wish to stop using - but sick habits of mind and feeling compel us to use - just one more time.

Rebound anxiety and physical withdrawal also pull at us - to feel better right now - whatever the cost tomorrow.

Others in addiction think the same way as us. They seem to agree that the best solution today is to use one more time.

Early recovery finds our brain in a fragile state. A restless mind jumps to the worst of problems from the past - and to imagined worries for the future.

We busy ourselves - to avoid the way that we feel within. And when we do slow down - disturbing feelings seem to engulf us.

Our ability to cope has been worn away by the compulsive use of addiction. The problems of our life seem insurmountable - in comparison to our weakened state.

We are faced in sober state with the consequences of years in addiction.

Demoralized and resigned to our fate - the use of drugs still seems the only way to cope.

Responding to the Challenge

Early recovery finds opportunity in our bottom - a moment when the consequences of addiction cut through our denial - and open a door to insight.

The bottom is a moment of awakening to the need for change.

Boundaries, mutual support and education are the requirements for early recovery to take hold.

Early Recovery is a time to set firm boundaries - to place distance between yourself and the easiest ways for you to use again.

Cut ties with those who use drugs. Move to safer surroundings. Consider a detox center or find a safe house.

Get rid of all drugs and utensils to use. Avoid those places were alcohol or drugs are common. Don't test yourself. Respect the sickness of addiction - and keep your distance from temptations. Carry small amounts of money - and leave your bank card at home.

Boundaries with others who continue to use is a cornerstone of early recovery.

They will only encourage the sick tendencies of your addiction.

Search out others in recovery. You will always be welcome at a twelve-step meeting.

Others in recovery will pass on their experience. They will support healthy efforts and help you to set boundaries. They will show you that recovery is possible.

Attend to recovery support meetings. Listen to the experience of others in recovery.

Listen to the things that they have had to do - and do what you need to do today.

Learn to relate and not to distance yourself as different from the rest.

Listen to the phrases of recovery. First things first - One day at a time - Don't use and go to meetings - Keep it simple.

Connect with others in recovery - and recall the phrases over and again. They are powerful reminders of the way that recovery works.

The restless mind of early recovery seems preoccupied with traumatic events of the past - and the most worrisome fears of our future.

The phrases of recovery ground us in this day - the only day over which we have opportunity for choice.

Early recovery is not a time to trust your own impulse. Your thoughts and feelings are distorted by the compulsive use of addiction.

Check your choices with others. Listen to their experience. Trust those who've been where you're at - and who’ve found a better way.

Learn everything you can about the condition of addiction - the Principles of Ways of Recovery.

Addiction is a sickness that tells us that our problems are outside of us.

If the world would just give me what I want - then I would not need to use. If it wasn't for my past - then I would be a better person. If not for the problems of my life - then I would stop using today.

Addiction magnifies the problems of our life - and weakens the condition of our person.

We are demoralized by struggling with a compulsion - beyond our understanding or control.

Recovery teaches us to carve out a new way today.

It is not about solving all of the problems that have brought us to this day - but of learning a new way to live today - and to recover the power removed from us by addiction.

The path of early recovery does not always follow our expectations and plans. Its challenges are many. Sometimes a day is just about not running away - and not using again today.

Ask for help in the morning. Give thanks at night. And do what you need to do in between.

Early recovery is a challenge best met one day at a time.

In Summary

The greatest challenge to early recovery - is that the pressures to use persist.

The compulsion of addiction may linger and recur. Life happens - and sick habits of mind, body and feeling tell us that to use is the only way to cope.

Strict boundaries, education and mutual support are the cornerstones of early recovery.

Recovery offers a promise of empowered life and health. But its opportunity is found only if we do not run from it today.

Ask for help in the morning. Give thanks at night. And do what you need to do in between.

You have now reached the end of Early Recovery.

Look for this and other Learning Series topics at www.SupportNet.ca - Resources for Your Recovery.