Along the way, getting to recovery may feel like reaching the finish line. After all, you have worked hard preparing yourself for a sober way of life, right? However, individuals who are new to recovery quickly learn that it isn’t all glitter and cupcakes.

Recovery is hard. Each morning when you wake up, you are going to be face to face with choices for which your decisions will impact how successful your recovery will be. Are you ready for them?

Here are five of the toughest lessons you will face as you enter recovery.

Recovery is real and so is relapse

You may fall into that erroneous trap of thinking that since you are done with your treatment program everything will be smooth sailing on the boat of recovery. You have made the necessary changes in your life – set up your support group, secured meetings, arranged schedules, found employment, etc. – to get back on track as a newly sober adult. Yet, you are likely scared and nervous to take on this new role. After all, you didn’t know recovery would feel so… real.

Well, guess what else is real? Relapse. Now is the time to take things seriously. If you don’t, you are likely going to find yourself in some hot water with a relapse. Being over-confident can be detrimental, too. Knowing that you are only one hit (or sip) away from a relapse needs to always be at the forefront of your mind.

Never get too comfortable in your sobriety and never, ever believe that you are invincible.

You caused your addiction, not the drugs

You may have the misconception that drugs and alcohol have bright neon signs on them to capture your attention and then a human sort of magnetic pull to reel you on in. If you do, you are wrong. By now, you should have learned that you used because of your own choice, not what the substance made you do.

As you enter recovery, don’t pass up therapy. Make your appointments and keep them as a priority. You need to work through the inner turmoil that may lead you to use. If that is not addressed, you may struggle with your sobriety.

Your poor choices may come from a part of your inner self that requires much love, care, and healing. Treating yourself by working closely with your therapist can leave you feeling whole and healthy – and less likely to feel the need to use.

You will need a positive outlook

The way you face the world can determine how successful you are in recovery. Viewing situations or scenarios with a negative attitude can set you up with a high chance of relapse.

A positive attitude can contribute to the following:

  • A greater sense of self-worth or self-confidence.
  • A powerful feeling of strength.
  • Feelings of pride and accomplishment.
  • An understanding of gratitude and finding appreciation for the smaller things in life.
  • Less stress and less worry.
  • You can find feelings of joy, happiness, love, and acceptance.

Forgiveness is hard but necessary

Forgiveness is one of life’s toughest lessons. If someone does something harmful or hurtful to you or someone you love, you may feel angry and resentful. It may be hard for you to open your arms and accept that person after the pain he or she caused. Being able to do so – that is what forgiveness is.

Look past the hurt and accept the individual for who he or she is. This person is someone who may have walked in different shoes than you, but still requires the same needs you do. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you are accepting what they did to you, but it means you are willing to move forward and try again.

Many people in recovery tend to require forgiveness. Your choices when using may have caused harm to others – especially those closest to you. Seek out forgiveness as best as you can. Write a sincere apology or personally deliver one. Then prove yourself to be a healing person. You may not be welcomed with arms wide open, but continue to do your part – do the right thing.

If people have wronged you or you feel that you have struggled in life and eventually started using because of someone’s pain afflicted upon you – you need to find a way to forgive this person. Perhaps it is a parent, a spouse, a childhood mentor, etc. Whoever it is, forgive them. If you don’t learn how to forgive, then you will carry heavy loads of resentment, anger, and pain for a very long time. You may even find yourself alone.

Forgiveness surely isn’t easy, but it is necessary for a successful recovery.

It is possible to change

As you enter recovery, you are going to encounter a life drastically different from the life you have been living, both before treatment and while in treatment. Your new life will have a new set of rules and a new discipline to follow. You will live healthy and happy. You will have ups and downs. And this time, when faced with struggles, you will have a ton of tools ready to get you through.

Your new life in recovery will get overwhelming. It will feel scary. And you will think that you just cannot change. You will think that the old you is who you were just meant to settle for. You may think that you aren’t strong enough, capable enough, smart enough to live a clean and sober life in recovery.

Well, guess what? You can. It is possible to change. It is possible to find yourself succeeding in recovery. Of course, you will have times of hardship and you may even relapse, but that doesn’t mean you cannot be a successful recovering addict.

Don’t let entering recovery scare you away. You deserve this opportunity. Learn from these lessons and be prepared to remain positive, forgive, and be molded into the sober person you were always meant to be!