One of the dangers with extreme enthusiasm in early recovery is that you could reach a point where you feel burned out from all the effort. It is hard to get the balance right. In order to give yourself the best chance of recovery, you do need to be completely committed; however, there may be times when you feel overwhelmed and tried. Some of the most common reasons for recovery burnout include:
- going to so many recovery meetings that you are starting to get fed up with the people there and the programme in general
- starting to feel cynical towards recovery
- it annoys you when people even mention the word ‘recover’
- starting to put less effort into your recovery
- being no longer sure if you can stay sober long-term
- beginning to turn to old ineffective coping skills to help you deal with your burnout stress.
Here are six tricks to help you overcome recovery burnout and get back on track:
1. Start Going to Different Recovery Meetings
They do say that a change is as good as a rest. It might not be a good idea to cut back on your recovery meetings during early recovery, but there is no reason why you cannot mix things up a bit. Try going to different meetings in your local area and, if possible, visit some meetings in other towns or cities. This can make things feel new again.
2. Try Some New Recovery Resources
There are so many different types of recovery resources, so trying something new is likely to reignite your passion. It is well worth checking out some of the online resources such as recovery web forums and blogs. There are also video recovery blogs on YouTube that are well worth checking out.
3. Do Something Non-Recovery Related to Strengthen Your Sobriety
Not everything you need to do to strengthen your sobriety has to be designed specifically for those in recovery. Getting a new hobby can greatly benefit your life, and things like getting physically fit and joining a night class are good as well. The whole point of stopping drinking or using drugs is so you can enjoy a much better way of living, so do not believe that you have to just stick to certain resources. The only real criterion is that the activities you do are good for you rather than putting you on a path back to addiction.
4. Take on a New Recovery Project
You do not want to take on too much extra work in early recovery, but committing to a new project could help to reignite your passion. Some possible things you could try include:
- writing a memoir of your experience of addiction – you never need to show this to anyone else
- starting a recovery blog
- starting to make recovery videos and put them on YouTube
- making some recovery podcasts
- starting to train for a marathon (do this slowly – maybe aim to work up to this over the course of a year)
- going to a night class.
5. Start Doing Some Service
Doing service can be an excellent way to super-charge your recovery. If you are a member of a group like AA then you will find it easy to find things to do, such as setting up chairs before meetings or welcoming newcomers. The great thing about service is that it means you are going to be focusing more on others, meaning you get to escape any negative thoughts that may be contributing to your feeling of burnout.
6. Cut Back On Your Commitments
Sometimes this feeling of burnout can just be due to taking too much on. You need to be honest with yourself here because cutting back unnecessarily may be putting your recovery at risk. A good idea might be to remove one or two commitments temporarily to see if this helps, but just make sure that whatever you are removing is not needed to keep you sober.