How to Get Out of a Recovery Rut

People who have never been in medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse or mental health issues do not know how long the climb is from despair to hope. Getting into a rehab facility is the first step of a long process. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse rates for patients of substance abuse are at 40 to 60 percent.

Recovery is not linear—there are always unexpected challenges and setbacks for patients. An especially frustrating challenge is when people find themselves in a recovery rut. When you are in a rut, things don’t seem awful, but it might seem like you aren’t moving forward either. Being in this situation makes many feel stuck or lost.

When this happens, it could be because you’re recovering too well, and you are starting to take your progress for granted. You might also feel like the work you’re putting in has not produced the results you would like it to. Some people enter treatment programs with rose-colored glasses, hoping to have groundbreaking results and epiphanies—when they don’t get it, they could feel let down. Whatever the case, ruts could endanger your progress, leading to negative thoughts, cutting corners in recovery, and wanting to use substances again. If you’re feeling stuck in your treatment plan, here are tips to help you move forward.

Verbalize All of Your Emotions

Emotional relapse, the first step to physical relapse, often comes from bottling up emotions. When frustrations rise, it could overwhelm you and leave you feeling worse than when you started the program. When this happens, you might start rationalizing that relapsing is alright, since nothing seems to be happening despite medication-assisted treatment.

When thoughts like these cross your mind, bring your frustrations and struggles to your support group or therapist. It’s alright if you can’t quite nail down what’s bothering you. You can just give impressions about the process, talk about your feelings, or anything that feels accessible at the moment. What matters is that you open up. People often feel stuck due to unresolved issues which block their progress, so talking about these issues will be a good first step to finding a resolution.

Establish a New Routine

A routine provides you with stability and minimizes the stress that decision-making brings. Though it might not seem like it, choosing among options is a tiring process, and you should automate healthy decisions whenever you can. At the start of your program, having a routine will bring visible progress, especially if you haven’t stuck to routines in the past.

After months of adhering to a healthy routine, though, things can become monotonous for you. When you feel lost despite having new, healthy habits, it could be time for a small change. Taking a different route to work, trying a new restaurant for lunch, or other variations in your routine could bring the novelty your brain craves. You might also be ready for more significant changes like engaging in a new hobby or vying for a promotion at work.

Medication-assisted treatment can only go so far—but trying new things allows you to initiate even more progress. Novelty changes your perspective and gives you more control over your circumstances. At the same time, it encourages you to leave your comfort zone.

Don’t Forget Self-Care

Self-care is vital in supporting recovery. When people are in a rut, they might be neglecting their emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual needs. When you start thinking, “I’m doing alright, I don’t need to go to meetings,” or “I can afford to miss another therapy session,” is the moment you need meetings and therapy even more.

When you start forgetting how life is like before you implemented lifestyle changes, you will tend to slack off. If you are dissatisfied with your progress, look at how you’re setting boundaries for work, cultivating relationships with loved ones, or spending time for yourself. Perhaps you need to reestablish what matters to you and your recovery.

Medication-Assisted Treatment in Havertown, PA

It’s normal to take two steps forward and one step back in addiction recovery. Integrated treatment programs from a substance abuse clinic, together with support from friends and loved ones, allow you to maintain positive lifestyle changes. It will be a long and challenging road, but the “you” that emerges from substance abuse treatment will be so much stronger.

Get a robust treatment plan fit for your needs at American Treatment Network. We provide medication-assisted treatment in Havertown, PA, giving patients immediate access to care through rapid intake and assessment processes so they can start treatment immediately. Get in touch with us to learn more.


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