Traps to Avoid in Early Recovery

So, you’ve finally made it through treatment, or even gone it alone but now your Clean, Sober and feeling great about life and recovery.

I remember that feeling, its exciting, liberating and FRESH. I felt truly alive for the first time in years.

However, despite these awesome feelings, relapse rates are highest in the first year following treatment. I played the relapse roulette for 2 years before I gained consistent sobriety.

It’s easy to believe that once you’ve completed recovery you have conquered addiction, but the truth is that you must work to maintain your recovery. When you become complacent in your recovery, that’s when old habits and urges can return.

Here are some of the common pitfalls that can affect early recovery:


1: Relying on willpower

If you’re in early recovery you might feel like you’re able to power through any challenge — however, with established coping mechanisms this can lead to relapse.

Current science shows that addiction has a biological basis. So, while willpower can help you cope at the start, it is also true that addiction is powerful, compelling drug and alcohol use at unexpected times. Because of this, it’s unwise to rely on willpower alone.

Avoiding triggers / situations will make it easier to maintain your sobriety by avoiding triggering situations. That way, your willpower is only really tested in emergencies.

2: False self confidence

Acknowledge that removing triggers makes recovery easier.

Some people in early recovery want to believe that they can power through the triggers using the willpower (I’m holding my hands firmly up here). This can be a recipe for disaster. Instead, Avoid triggers or situations that may put you at risk.

3: I’m in control of this now

Remember that you are still learning and healing.

As you become more secure in your sobriety, you might be tempted to test your limits, to prove to yourself once and for all that you have control over your addictions. Some people test their limits by intentionally entering triggering situations, like attending a party where drugs or alcohol are readily available. Others might try to use their substance of choice in moderation, believing that they can “stop after one” or just use recreationally now.

Addiction forces us to tell lies to ourselves and loved ones and believing that you need to test your limits to prove your sobriety is just that — a lie.


Recovery is a way of life, not a goal that can be reached and forgotten.


To keep making progress in your recovery, stay engaged with the process. Setting new goals (like trying new sober activities, etc.) can also keep your recovery fresh. Early recovery is a time to celebrate progress, without losing track of your long-term health goals.

Avoiding these pitfalls will allow you to keep the healthy lifestyle that you have worked so hard to obtain.

Knowing what they are, and how to avoid them can help you maintain your sobriety.

1 comment

  • Great information to help keep your feet on the ground, stay alert and keep your guard up.

    Martin ward

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