How to Tell the Difference Between Cravings and Reasonable Risks

We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there, lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again, and that is well, but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore. 

– Mark Twain

As all-encompassing as it can feel, recovery doesn’t have to become the single defining feature of your life. As you approach your new life with self-improvement in mind, it can be easy to see even inoffensive trains of thought as potential roads to ruin. To save yourself some mental exhaustion, learn to distinguish between slightly risky decisions that are probably safe for you to make and cravings that pose a genuine danger to your sobriety.

Seek Moderation in Your Mindset

Especially in the early stages of recovery, when the negative experiences of addiction are still vying for a central spot in your mind, erring on the side of caution can feel like the safe and even responsible thing to do. While it’s certainly healthy to approach new situations and old stumbling blocks with caution and preparation, be careful not to let your attitude slip down a rabbit hole of fear or self-loathing. It’s healthy and useful to learn from your addiction and recovery that you should weigh your decisions with intention and avoid pitfalls; it becomes unhelpful when you begin to assume the worst of yourself or reduce your life to its bare minimums to avoid potential backslides.

Remember, the purpose of recovery is to overcome your problems to live an enjoyable and rewarding life. If you find yourself constantly second-guessing yourself or looking at your place in the world with an overly pessimistic eye, you may be slowing yourself down in your attempt to do no further harm. No matter what path your life has taken, you have value and worth to the world that goes beyond your struggles with addiction. Your goal is to rise above your challenges; don’t let them constrain you or define you.

Let Your Past Inform Your Present

One way to prevent repeating your past mistakes is to develop a heightened awareness of your impulses and proclivities. The most important thing you can take away from destructive decisions is knowing what led to them and how you can avoid them in the future. While it may be tempting to take a scorched-earth approach to your new lifestyle in hopes of warding off any possible errors, try to focus on the specific circumstances, feelings, or thought processes that factored into your past substance use. Take the straightforward route by identifying your triggers and sources of pressure and allocating different (or non-existent) roles for them in your life. Modifying your behavior based on proven information is likely to be more helpful than avoiding new things out of fear.

Get a Second Opinion

As you’ve hopefully already gleaned from your experiences in recovery, attempting to heal entirely on your own is only doing yourself a disservice. Whether you’re grappling with consistent questions of how to navigate your relationship with difficult family members, are curious about the extent to which you should allow yourself to participate in certain activities, or simply wish to know whether your current attitude is helping you or harming you, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Recovery professionals know that seemingly minor things can play a major role in your confidence throughout the process, and they can help you see yourself and your circumstances in new ways. Don’t feel like a burden or as if you are weak for asking for help; every time you reach out to a counselor or sponsor should be met by warmth and compassion. Make the most of the beneficial resources that surround you to avoid building up unnecessary blockades.

The Foundational First Year of Sobriety

A central tenet of our approach at Cornerstone Healing Center is built on the fact that 67% of people who make it through their first year achieve long-term sobriety. If you make the most of that first year by developing strong life skills and rebuilding your path with intention, you’ll be empowered to walk forward into your future with confidence. 

At Cornerstone Healing Center, we help you spend that first year becoming the best possible version of yourself. We combine evidence-based treatments and medical services with holistic practices like yoga, nutrition therapy, and EDMR to form an integrative approach designed to help you grow on every level. The best defense is a good offense; with the right attitude and plan, you can take control of your recovery and live the life you wish for yourself without being constrained by fear or self-doubt.

No matter the rate of your recovery or the number of twists and turns you take, the effort you put into self-improvement is something to be proud of. As you work hard to overcome your greatest obstacles, make sure you’re giving yourself the room and permission to enjoy your life. At Cornerstone Healing Center, we take a fully integrative approach to addiction because we know that true growth comes from treating the person, not just the collection of symptoms. We designed our facility in Scottsdale, Arizona, to provide a comfortable, supportive environment for you to do the hard and fulfilling work of rebuilding your life according to your innermost desires. Beyond helping you escape the cycle of addiction and develop healthy habits, we make a point of working with you to establish your long-term goals and shape your new life into one that brings you lasting satisfaction. Make the most of this new chapter. Call (800) 643-2108 to learn more.