Many of us feel like giving up at one point or another in recovery. There are so many changes happening in our lives that it can be difficult not to want the good changes to happen right away and to avoid the bad ones altogether.
But no matter what you’re facing, it’s important to remember that any challenge you experience in recovery will pass. And whatever the difficulty is, it will only get worse by going back to using.
So if and when you feel like giving up, ask yourself these 10 things first:
Should I talk to someone?
Let someone else know what you’re going through. Whether you turn to a sponsor, a good friend or set up a formal appointment with a mental health therapist, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to go through challenging times alone. When addiction wants isolation, recovery wants connection. Talking to someone else in your circle will help you stay in a healthy, connected state of mind.
How can I practice self-care?
Simple things like taking a shower and getting ready for the day can go a long way. Get up and start moving, even for basic errands. It can make you feel motivated and happier about yourself, which is helpful if you’re feeling down.
How am I taking care of my body?
Eating right and exercising are staples to a healthy life in recovery. When you’re not caring for your body, it can influence all aspects of your life, including your emotional and mental health. Try to combat feelings of giving up by eating something nutritious and moving your body for a little while.
What am I grateful for?
Gratitude can transform your state of mind. So when you feel like giving up, start by making a simple list of the things you’re grateful for. Gratitude gives us perspective that things aren’t that bad and is an important reminder of all the things we have going right in our lives.
Am I focused forward or dwelling on the past?
Keeping your eyes focused on the future or even in the moment at hand can keep your mind focused in a healthy, positive way. “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it,” is stated in The Promises— so don’t let your past become a hangup!
How is my energy level?
Sleep is critical in recovery, just like taking time to debrief, relax and recharge. Ask yourself if you need sleep, a day off, or a weekend getaway with friends or family to recharge emotionally and physically.
Did I take my medication today or do I need my medication adjusted?
Medication is often an important part of recovery. But if your medication was just changed or you forgot to take it, it can throw your whole day and mindset off. Remember to be diligent in taking your meds, and call your doctor if you feel like things are off.
Am I hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?
The simple acronym “HALT” can go a long way, often keeping you from making impulsive decisions that could be solved through eating something healthy, working through emotions, calling your support network or taking a nap.
Do I need to let go of resentments?
They will hold you back if you let them. Take a moment to scan through your emotions to see if resentments are getting in the way of your motivation or happiness today.
Have I waited a week?
Or at least a day? Never do anything spur of the moment. Wait a while to see if your attitude or situation changes before making a life-altering decision. Remember, even small decisions can have consequences.
When you feel like giving up, take a step back and think through your decision. Call the people who love you and support you. Scan through your emotions. One of the greatest gifts of recovery is the ability it gives you to do things differently, including how you react.
Today, even when it’s difficult, remember how far you’ve come. Work through difficulties with wisdom and with the support of your sober network. Always remember, it will get better.
“The number one reason people give up so fast is because they tend to look how far they still have to go, instead of how far they’ve gotten.” —Mac Miller