Expectations guide your progress in addiction recovery, but having unrealistic expectations during the process sets you up for failure. When you set expectations so high you couldn’t possibly attain them, you add unneeded stress and decrease your chance of success. Setting realistic expectations in addiction recovery helps you form a healthy framework to succeed.
What Are Unrealistic Expectations?
Unrealistic expectations happen when you don’t know what you’re getting into or you expect recovery to turn out differently. Those expectations can be about the treatment process or life after treatment. Some common unrealistic expectations include:
- Expecting treatment and recovery to be easy
- Expecting to immediately feel better in treatment
- Failing to understand how much work goes into recovery
- Thinking you can handle addiction recovery on your own
- Forcing perfectionist ideals on yourself and punishing yourself when you fall short of those perfect expectations
- Expecting addiction recovery to be a quick process
- Expecting recovery to be a constant positive trajectory — the process often comes with highs and lows which you need to account for when setting expectations
- Thinking life will be perfect and back to “normal” after you complete treatment
- Thinking that addiction recovery will instantly solve other problems in your life, such as financial difficulties or marital problems
- Believing you won’t still have to work on your addiction once treatment is complete
- Thinking addiction recovery has a definite end date
- Expecting loved ones to suddenly regain trust in you because you’re in addiction recovery — rebuilding the damage done to trust can take time
Unrealistic expectations can happen at any time during the addiction recovery process.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 23.5 million people age 12 and over need treatment for a drug or alcohol problem. Of these, approximately 2.6 million people actually received treatment. With the epidemic of drug, alcohol and other addictive behaviors in this country, it’s likely that you know someone with a substance abuse problem.
It’s hard to be with someone you love who has a substance abuse problem when you don’t know what to say. This situation can be tricky whether your loved one recognizes his or her problem or not. For those who don’t recognize their issues, you’re faced with finding out how to get through to an addict. For others, you may fumble with how to talk to an addict in recovery without hurting their feelings or making a fool out of yourself.
Unless you’ve been in recovery yourself, it can be very hard to understand how to talk to an addict who needs (or is receiving) recovery assistance.
While most people have an understanding that drug addiction impacts the health of anyone who is a drug user, the abuse of drugs impacts women very differently than it impacts men. Though some of the physical impacts of drug abuse will stay the same regardless of gender, women’s issues in recovery from addiction are unique to them for a variety of reasons.
How Addiction Affects Women Differently
Some of the differences in the way that drug abuse affects women are simply a matter of biology. Studies have shown that women may become addicted after using drugs for a shorter time period than men and from using lesser amounts of drugs than men typically use. The cravings women experience for drugs as well as their likelihood for relapse are greater than for men. Scientists suspect this could be related to a woman’s menstrual cycle.
If you’ve decided to enter rehab, your mind is probably flooded with questions, the least of which is, “What should I bring?” Going to rehab is not quite like a vacation, but it’s not prison, either.
When you come to 12 Keys, here are the top three things you should and shouldn’t bring.
Top Three Things to Take to Rehab
What you want to bring to rehab is what will help you be successful in your recovery, and it may not only be physical items. Take a look at these three things you’ll definitely want to bring:
- Positive attitude – We’re not being cheesy here, and we won’t force you to sit around a campfire singing songs, unless you absolutely want to. But a positive attitude is crucial to your success.
Rehab is stressful, and you’ll be making a lot of progress in a short period of time.