7 Things to Avoid in Addiction Recovery

Throughout recovery from addiction, it is important to promote mental, physical and emotional health.  The best way to do this is to avoid triggers for relapse.  Learning to live chemical-free while managing day-to-day struggles is especially important.  For a free help finding and choosing a drug rehab program call 888-414-2380 (Who Answers?) .

Avoiding the situations listed below can make staying on a solid recovery path much easier.

Poor Self-Care

During the crazy, addiction-riddled days, self-care usually takes a back burner.  Nutrition, grooming and medical intervention was often last on the priority list.  In recovery, avoiding poor self-care is especially critical.  Eating right, exercising and taking care of oneself is key in beginning to feel physically better.  Poor diet choices and a lack of medical care can put an addict at risk.

People Who Don’t Support Recovery

Avoiding friends and family who don’t support recovery efforts is also important for a recovering addict, particularly in the early stages.  Associating with people who are actively using drugs or drinking is a recipe for disaster.  Even if friends are not in recovery themselves, choosing companions who are supportive of your quest for a clean and sober way of life can provide help and a willing ear in times of trouble.

Anger and Resentment

Addiction Recovery

It’s important to let go of any feelings of anger or resentment.

Nothing can set off a using binge like anger and resentment.  While it is natural to get angry on occasion, nursing anger and replaying it over and over again is particularly dangerous for people struggling with addiction.  In Alcoholics Anonymous, resentment is characterized as “the number one offender.”  For people with addiction of any type, anger can lead straight back to using drugs or drinking to dull the sensation.

Environments Promoting Addictive Behaviors

For addicts, avoiding dangerous environments is critical.  Bars or nightclubs can be difficult settings for those working to lead a new clean and sober life.  In the beginning, recovering addicts may avoid many different settings until they feel more solid in recovery.  Consider the following settings which may be dangerous for addicts beginning recovery:

  • Bars or Nightclubs
  • Parties where drug use is rampant
  • Homes of friends who are using
  • Movies that glamorize drug use
  • Concerts
  • Any environment where using has occurred in the past

Negative Thinking

Reprogramming thought processes is one of the first things an addict who is serious about recovery must do.  Most addicts are geared toward negativity.  Perseverating on gloomy thoughts can be particularly dangerous for addicts.  More than just struggling with pessimism, addicts search for relief from the darkness, which has often been generated by a barrage of negative thinking.  Focusing on positive new thoughts and gratitude is recommended for those serious about recovery.

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In order to get clean and stay that way, addicts must be honest.  Because of the manner in which the mind works, it is vital for recovering people to tell on themselves when thoughts arise.  Because anything can lead an addict back to using, confessing risky behaviors, negative thoughts and uncomfortable emotions is key.  This level of honesty can be difficult for addicts, who are accustomed to secrets and hiding.

Dwelling in the Past

Looking the past squarely in the eye is important to recover, but a constant mental review can bring about feelings of remorse and shame.  Left unchecked for too long, these feelings can lead to relapse.  A constructive review of the behaviors that lead to active addiction is helpful; however, addicts should avoid wallowing in the past.  Living in the present and planning for the future are more productive roads for lasting and happy recovery.


Laudet, A., Savage, R. & Mahmood, D. (2002). Pathways to long-term recovery: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. 34(3): 305-311. Retrieved on March 19, 2017 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852519/

Melemis, S. (2015). Relapse prevention and the five rules of recovery. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. 88(3): 325-332.  Retrieved on March 19, 2017 from:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553654/

The Anonymous Press.  Alcoholics Anonymous. p. 64. Retrieved on March 19, 2017 from http://anonpress.org/bb/Page_64.htm