Mentally preparing for a life in recovery can look a lot like stalling. Ruminating on what’s to come, the process of how you will move through each step and the emotions it’ll surface is overwhelming. Have you decided you’re ready to do the work? Then let’s take a look at all the invisible work that comes before it: mentally preparing yourself for starting recovery and the life that will follow.
How often do we hear in life that every step counts and the first step can be the hardest? Often—and it can be valuable (and validating) advice. That first step is hard. And every step that comes after means something. But when are we going to start talking about the energy it takes to gather the momentum and courage to take that first step?
That bit is arguably more difficult. It’s the first step of first steps, the precursor to even knowing where you’re headed. When you’re working toward recovery, it’s even more complex. Living in the space between realizing you have an addiction and moving into recovery creates emotional uncertainty. In between recovery and action may feel heavy, confusing and polarized in a way that’s uncomfortable.
Mentally preparing for the many ways the landscape of your life will change will require a careful balance of research and imagination.
Let’s get you mentally prepared for a brand new way of life in recovery.
Research the actionable steps that will be required of you.
Inpatient treatment centers, support networks, detox and withdrawal needs and the physical processes involved in recovery are important to have a loose grasp on initially.
Making your to-do list.
Making a to-do list for what happens once you’re sober.
This can feel a bit like external effort instead of mental preparation, but it’s critical. Working through the things you may experience along the recovery path can help you gather your energy. You’ll need it as you step into doing the work that no one can help you with. This includes feeling your way through recovery and beyond.
Have conversations with your loved ones.
Discuss their feelings as well as your own about this next step in your journey, and ask them clearly what kind of support they feel comfortable being a part of so you can build a network or accountability.
Get all your metaphorical ducks in a row in terms of your responsibilities.
Whether that looks like organizing leave for work or academic obligations or preparing your spaces to accommodate your new lifestyle, start preparing for making those decisions.
Once you’ve got a solid grasp on the things that may happen to and around you, you can begin to wade into the world of what may happen in you. Feel your feelings. Sit in them, write with them, take them apart like a LEGO house and rebuild them, brick by brick, so that you can know them intimately.
Being emotionally ready is just as important as being physically ready. So while you can’t prepare for every emotion you may feel as you move into a new life, you can head off the surprise of some of them.
Recovery is meant to be a success, a step in the right direction, but it might feel scary. It might feel like a lot of things. No matter what you’re feeling, you can’t get this part wrong. For the rest of your life, you will rely on your intimate knowledge of self to navigate your emotions. It’s going to be hard, but you can do it. You can do anything, and we’re here to help.
Connect with us today to learn more about our programs and how we can support you along the recovery journey.