How Do You Stay Positive In Early Recovery?

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Addiction often develops out of the negative parts of life. Drugs and alcohol become a way to cope when someone goes through loss, sadness, grief, anger, depression, anxiety, and more. When an addict decides to get sober, their primary coping mechanism of dealing with these negative emotions goes away. This can make it difficult to find other sources of happiness, especially in early recovery. Here are some tips for staying positive in early recovery. 

Why Early Recovery Is so Difficult

Early recovery is a time that involves many emotions for many reasons. Withdrawal symptoms, insomnia, major life changes, nutritional deficiencies, facing past traumas, and cravings make early recovery very difficult. The recovering addict is working hard to get sober, but the first couple of months are full of anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, and loss. Recovery is hard work, and it is a choice that must be made and worked toward every single day. Individuals often end up feeling exhausted both mentally and physically as they work toward getting sober and learning healthy ways to cope with negative emotions. However, it is possible to stay positive even on the hard days. 

How to Stay Positive

When the tough days come in early recovery, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here are some tips for motivating yourself to stay positive and keep doing the work to maintain sobriety. 

Remind Yourself that Life Is Better Sober

Try to reflect on your life now versus your life in the midst of addiction. Chances are, life is better now that you are becoming sober. You feel better physically, you are healing emotional scars, and learning healthy coping mechanisms. You are working your way to a sober life that you can maintain for the long term, and recovery has given you the opportunity to meet so many amazing individuals. Some of these sober friends will last a lifetime. Keeping a journal is a great way to reflect on the positive changes that recovery has brought to your life.

Set Goals

A great way to encourage yourself in early recovery is to set goals. Start out with short-term goals that you can achieve in a week or even a month. You will actively see your progress when you cross goals off your list and work toward new ones. You can also challenge yourself by creating long-term goals that you have to work hard to accomplish. Being able to mark them off your list and know you achieved them is a great motivator.  

Do the Basics

Some days will be harder than others. On the days you cannot push yourself to do more, make sure you are eating well, moving a little bit, and getting enough sleep. Without doing these things, you aren’t giving yourself a fair chance in recovery. Your body needs the proper energy to work toward recovery every single day. By not looking after yourself and your body’s needs, you cannot expect recovery to be successful. Doing the minimum even on the days you don’t want to do anything will keep you on the right track. 

Create a Support System of Sober People

Surrounding yourself with individuals that have the same mindset as you regarding recovery will help tremendously in early recovery. These people can empathize with you because they know where you’ve been. On the days you can’t seem to find anything positive about sobriety, they’ll be there to give advice, support you, and remind you why sobriety is so much better than a life of addiction. This will bring positivity and more motivation for recovery.

New Sober Hobbies

Having a lot of free time is a common relapse trigger for those in recovery from addiction. Free times means your brain has time to run in circles of negative thought patterns. Engaging in sober activities that you enjoyed before addiction or trying out new ones is a great way to do something that interests you. Your mood will improve when you take part in activities you like to do, so consider gathering some sober buddies and trying out sober activities such as hiking, painting, playing soccer, and more. 


Meditation is commonly used in treatment centers as an alternative form of therapy. Meditation helps individuals become more aware of their environment, their physical body, and their emotions. This helps strike create a sense of balance, and a person can better listen to their body. Meditating can help you reflect on the good of sobriety. Taking even ten minutes a day to meditate can make a huge difference. 

At Northstar Transitions, we know that early recovery can be difficult and intimidating. We also know staying positive in early recovery can be just as challenging. We see many of our clients persevere through tough times in early recovery to reach long-term sobriety by using different techniques to keep themselves motivated. Our treatment modalities help our clients find positivity and pleasure in their newfound life of sobriety, but we want to teach skills that translate outside of our facility. Recovery is hard work, but working to maintain it and reflecting on why it is so good for you can do wonders. You can also explore new sober hobbies, make sober friends, and just do the basics of taking care of yourself to move forward. For more information regarding early recovery and staying positive, contact us today at (303) 558-6400. We want to see you be the best version of yourself!