When you get into recovery, you must make some big changes. Of course, there is the first obvious change – you have to stop engaging in your addictive behavior. Whether you are recovering from a drug problem, alcoholism, or a sexual addiction; the first step towards recovery is to stop using drugs or stop acting out sexually. Abstinence is the key to sobriety.
This by itself is hard work! However, this is only the first step to real, lasting change. It’s one thing to get into recovery. It’s another thing altogether to stay in recovery.
In order to stay in recovery, you also have to change your playmates, playgrounds, and playthings. What does this mean? It means you must change the people you hang out with, the places you go for enjoyment, and find new things that bring you pleasure. The playmates, playgrounds, and playthings you associate with your addiction have to go. They are triggers that will eventually lead you back to your old ways.
Getting New Playmates
Although addiction is very isolating, there are always at least few people addicts associate with when they are in their addiction. Whether it’s a drinking buddy, a drug dealer, or a sexual partner, there are familiar people from your past that can trigger you to want to relapse.
When you get into recovery, you have to find new, sober playmates. You can no longer hang out with the people you used to get high or with or have addictive sex with. Although you might consider some of these people to be your friends, you simply must get some new friends.
Keeping company with people you associated within your addiction is a sure-fire way to wind up back in the addictive pattern you are working so hard to overcome.
Finding New Playgrounds
When you were in your addiction, there were certain places you would go to act out. For addicts, it might be a certain house where you know you can use drugs. For alcoholics, it’s the bar. For sex addicts, it might be a sex shop to buy pornographic videos or a massage parlor where you know you can get sex. When you make the decision to get into recovery, you have to stop going to these places.
Think about it. Why would you go to a bar if you aren’t going to drink? If you know you aren’t going to get high, why would you go to a dope house? And, if you aren’t going to act out in a sexual addiction, you have no business in a sex shop or massage parlor. However; because these places are comfortable, many people in recovery want to return to their old playgrounds and flirt with danger.
If you’ve made the decision to get sober, you have to identify which places you used to go to in your addiction and stay far, far away.
Discovering New Playthings
When you were in your addiction, you associated pleasure and enjoyment with sex, drugs, or alcohol. A large of recovering is learning how to find new things that get you excited. Now that you have committed yourself to walking the road of recovery, you must let go of the idea that drinking, drugging, or sexing is fun. You have to find new playthings. You might take up a hobby making crafts, start gardening, or join a book club. Whatever it is, your new playthings should involve sober people having good, clean fun.
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