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The Biggest Obstacles You’ll Face in Recovery 

When you’re about to start a treatment program, you’re taking a big leap of faith – because we can never tell what the future holds. Even if you’ve been practicing sobriety for years, you’ll find that obstacles will always come and go; while moments in recovery can be incredibly nerve-wracking, it’s important to learn about the obstacles you’ll face as you go so that you can begin taking preventative measures. Previous studies have found that people battling addiction tend to face a number of difficulties such as finding a proper treatment program, gaining access to helpful support groups and more – but even once a person has entered treatment and has found support, there are still obstacles to prepare for. 

Even if you’re not currently experiencing major obstacles in recovery at the time, it’s still worth noting to consider some of the situations you may encounter. With so many ways to manage and work through these obstacles – and with so many people ready to support you, you’ll be much better prepared if you put some thought into these circumstances before experiencing them.

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5 Common Obstacles to Sobriety 

Just as each person is different, there are unique obstacles every person faces as they explore the journey to sobriety. In the past, researchers have explored a number of obstacles that come up for a variety of people, such as:

1. Fear of Change

The ongoing pattern of addiction can become comforting over time, and this sense of comfortability can be difficult to get out of because it’s changing. Recovery entails finding newer, healthier outlets – and it can take some getting used to at first.

2. Fear of Relapse

Relapse is one of the most widely feared topics of discussion for addiction recovery because nobody wants to “fail”. The reality is the relapse is common, and sometimes can provide some useful insights into what a person needs reinforcing in treatment; still, it can be incredibly scary to think about.

3. Boredom

A number of people in addiction recovery have feared that they won’t be able to have fun anymore – it’s scary to think that, after entering treatment, a certain “threshold” has been crossed to which one cannot turn back on. While recovery is certainly a change in living, that doesn’t mean that a person can’t have fun – but still, these changes in activities can be unsettling for a while.

4. Fear of Being Rejected

The realization of the harm that’s been done to others as a result of addiction can bear too much stress, anxiety, and shame for a person – and it’s quite common for a person to worry that they’ll never regain their loved one’s trust again after they realize the amount of harm they’ve caused through addiction. 

5. Difficulties in discovering one’s identity

Recovery requires that a person reshape their life – and during this time of healing and rejuvenation is when a person really gets to know who they are on an entirely different level. It takes some adjustment, and it’s nerve-wracking. 

How 12-Step Programs Can Help

Programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous tend to serve as beautiful additions to treatment – and through these programs, a person can build their social support network to include not only the peers around them but can also connect with a 12-Step sponsor to work through challenging times. Many people would claim that addiction recovery is a lifelong journey rather than a simple destination to reach, and 12-Step programs can promote resilience against many obstacles of recovery through the following ways: 

  •     Encouraging individuals to work closely with their therapist
  •     Providing a safe space for people to participate in meaningful discussions
  •     Collaborating with a sponsor and building a strong bond
  •     Exploring problems or psychological resistance to the program
  •     “Working” the 12-Steps not just in meetings, but also through a person’s daily life
  •     Becoming involved in 12-Step activities, such as in social events, retreats and conventions
  •     And more

Many of the fears experienced in recovery can be ameliorated through 12-Step programs because they remind those in recovery that there’s a greater entity at play – God, or another Higher Power – who needs to be there to help them remain strong in recovery. Spirituality can ultimately help save a person’s life by providing them with greater meaning and fulfillment; 12-Step programs address the psychology of addiction by addressing a person’s individual sense of spirituality, and by also enhancing their connectedness to other people through community discussion.

Seek Treatment Now

Along with helping to treat various mental illnesses and psychological issues, mindfulness can be a great tool for battling addiction and building a healthy lifestyle.  A holistic treatment center can teach you these and other strategies for creating a happy and fulfilling life beyond addiction. At Renewal Lodge by Burning Tree, you will find a team of compassionate, knowledgeable professionals ready to coach each client through the 12-steps and beyond.  By structuring treatment to fit individual needs, including the identification of co-occurring disorders, Burning Tree facilitates an environment of healing and holistic wellness. Here, our clients tackle their addictions head-on and harness the power to restructure their lives through high accountability and life skills that foster lasting sobriety.  We specialize in treatment for the chronic relapser and believe that with the right tools, you can put an end to the cycle of addiction.

Dear Renewal Lodge Visitors,

My name is John Bruna, co-founder of the Mindfulness in Recovery® Institute, and more importantly, a grateful member of the recovery community. I am incredibly fortunate to have found my recovery in 1984. Of course, I did not achieve continuous recovery through willpower or my own efforts, but through the guidance and caring support of countless others that selflessly taught me how to live through the 12 Steps.

My journey of recovery brought this once homeless, shame-based, traumatized, insecure young man to a life far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I discovered self-worth, the joy of helping others, the gifts of parenting and grandparenting, and most importantly the ability to live a meaningful and purposeful life with integrity.

One of the greatest gifts of recovery is that I have the opportunity to give back and help others discover their self-worth, dignity, and the skills to fully live lives that they find truly meaningful. This is the inspiration for developing the skills of Mindfulness in Recovery® (MIR) to meet the needs of new generations struggling with alcohol and other substance use disorders. MIR is a set of evidence-based skills designed to help people fully integrate their tools of recovery in ways that are personalized, practical, and in alignment with their deepest values.

While we train counselors and therapists throughout the United States and abroad, I personally have chosen to work directly with the amazing team and clients at Renewal Lodge to develop the model MIR 12-step program for the nation. I choose Renewal Lodge because of the vision of its mission and the dedication of its team. Renewal Lodge is an extremely rare environment in which the staff embodies the very mindfulness and 12-step practices and skills they offer their clients. The results have been beyond my expectations. It is an honor to be here and I treasure my personal time with every client I meet.

With Gratitude,

John Bruna
John Bruna
Director of Mindfulness