Patience In Recovery: How To Practice & Cultivate Patience

Patience In Recovery: How To Practice & Cultivate Patience

Patience is a virtue. The age-old mantra is vague and may be seemingly useless, but when it comes to recovery from addiction, this motto is pure gold.

The path of addiction recovery is often a long one, so it’s important to be patient throughout the process whether you are the addict or their loved one. How to practice patience in addiction recovery, you ask? It may seem like a silly question, but in reality, it’s one that is warranted. Practicing patience can make or break someone’s ability to stay sober. It is all about seeing the bigger picture in your recovery journey. Living just for today but understanding each day builds on the last is the best way to stay on track during your recovery journey.

How to Practice Patience If You Are A Recovering Addict

Going through recovery undoubtedly causes a wide variety of emotions, especially becoming impatient. One of the main reasons why an addict can begin to feel impatient is because it often seems as if they are not recovering fast enough or not recovering at all. Here is the underlying truth that will ease impatient behaviors: the process does not happen overnight and that is perfectly acceptable. Each person moves at their own pace and it’s important to acknowledge, accept and respect that. Here are a few other reasons why an addict may be impatient throughout their recovery:

  • Building Sober Time: Most experts would agree that the first 90 days of recovery are crucial given this is when most relapses occur. As many addicts are focused on building sober time, it can be frustrating when they experience a relapse. Ultimately, each period of sober time is one to celebrate and should act as motivation to do better next time.
  • Making Money: For addicts that commit to residential or inpatient recovery programs, this will often temporarily displace them out of work and limit their cash flow. In this situation, addicts may become impatient and want instant results so they can get back to earning money. While this concern is valid, it’s more important for the addict to focus on their health and well-being first so they are in their best shape when they are ready to return to work.
  • Healing Relationships: Abuse and addiction often negatively impact relationships and before an addict is admitted into a recovery program, they may have burned a few bridges. Thus, an addict may be overly eager to finish the program as soon as possible because they are anxious to rebuild relationships with their loved ones. It’s important to understand no matter where each relationship was left off, loved ones want what is best for an addict and relationships after rehab can be salvageable.

During recovery, patience can easily be tested due to a mixture of emotions. Here are various tactics on how to practice patience during addiction recovery:

  • Be realistic with your expectations and break down goals. When it comes to recovery, everyone has one ultimate goal: to become sober. A vague goal like that can be intimidating to approach and you may not know where to begin, so start tackling bigger goals by creating smaller ones that are realistic and personalized to you.
  • Practice meditation. A big culprit of impatience is thinking too far ahead. Focus on what’s happening now by practicing mindfulness meditation. Ask yourself: in this very moment, what can I do to help myself with my recovery? Here is a great guide to help you practice mindfulness meditation.
  • Exercise and get fit. Like how meditation can promote good mental health, it’s important to take care of your physical health as well. Whether it’s lifting weights or doing a group sport activity, exercising will keep your mind off what’s making you impatient while still keeping you active.
  • Use motivational mantras to power through similar to the practices that take place during motivational interviewing. If there is ever a time you feel impatient or discouraged throughout the recovery process, repeat a mantra that reminds you that you’re on the right path and why you first decided to take the leap toward recovery. Feel free to make up your own or use the ones below for inspiration:
    • “Strive for progress, not perfection.”
    • “I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
    • “Every breath I take is a moment closer to freedom.”

How to Practice Patience If You Are a Loved One

As mentioned, the road to recovery is a long one and it is also important for loved ones to understand. This is crucial because showing any signs of impatience may fuel the fire and make the recovering addict more impatient as well. If you are a loved one of a recovering addict, it’s on you to also understand how to practice patience during recovery:

  • Don’t ask too many questions about their recovery. While it’s natural for you to ask them questions as a way to show you care, don’t be too intrusive as it can come off as being impatient with their journey. Try to focus your time with them by discussing topics you would normally talk about if they weren’t in recovery.
  • Join them in activities they love. Keep an addict’s mind off their anxious and impatient thoughts by initiating sober activities they would enjoy. Whether it’s being active through exercise, playing card games or taking a walk in the park, it will surely help them shift their focus away from negative thoughts.
  • Educate yourself about addiction recovery. A lot of impatience can stem from not understanding the process and how long it can take for the addict. By taking it on yourself to read and learn more about addiction recovery, it helps you empathize what your loved one is going through so you can have more patience with their journey. Here are common questions to help you understand the process more.

It’s worth noting that being patient during recovery is absolutely recommended, but those rules don’t apply if they are actively using substances. If you find an addict relapsing and actively using drugs or alcohol, it’s essential to put aside patience and focus on getting them to treatment or focused on their recovery promptly.

Addiction treatment is long process and causes many stresses for both the addict and their loved ones, but the truth is, recovery is completely achievable through patience. By practicing patience and being aware there are tactics to do so, both can do their part to make the journey easier throughout the way.

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Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance use disorder, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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