Reflecting on my journey through early recovery fills me with pride. The first six months were incredibly challenging, presenting hurdles that seemed insurmountable at times. Building a new support system, attending meetings, managing finances, and healthily participating in family life were all part of this arduous process. A significant part of early recovery is ensuring that our past does not sabotage our present growth. My internal dialogue was often crippling, echoing doubts like, “You said you were serious about sobriety before. Nothing is going to be different.” However, over time, that negative self-talk began to fade, and I learned to focus on the present—one day at a time.

In recovery, we keep our heads down and strive to be decent human beings daily. We start to understand that lying and keeping secrets does not align with our new lifestyle. For many of us, the habit of lying doesn’t stop immediately. We’ve spent years covering our tracks to maintain the chaos of active addiction. Once we clear our system of our chosen poison, we then face the challenge of navigating life without it. We still seek acceptance from our peers or sometimes prefer isolation because “people suck.” Despite being substance-free and attending meetings, we grapple with feelings and emotions that were previously numbed. Learning to cope becomes a new skill to develop.

Initially, we might still believe the world revolves around us. Holding on to a semblance of dignity can lead us to fabricate stories, especially when we feel intimidated by others’ education or achievements. We might falsely boast about our academic history, despite hardly attending high school due to our substance use. Conversely, we might encounter people whose substance use was more extreme, leading us to romanticize our own past.

The core message of this article is: IT’S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES! Active addiction weaves unhealthy behaviors—lying, omitting, stealing, cheating—into many aspects of our lives. For some, these behaviors were survival mechanisms and took time to break. Removing the substance doesn’t instantly eradicate these habits. Overcoming them is a gradual process that can be uncomfortable. I wouldn’t want to relive my first six months of sobriety. Addressing old habits and behaviors after fifteen years of addiction was incredibly difficult. Expecting perfection immediately upon quitting substances is unrealistic.

Recovery isn’t about being perfect; it’s about progress. I was fortunate to be surrounded by individuals who embraced the ungraceful recovery process, which helped everything click for me. Now, after several years of sobriety, I still don’t do it perfectly, but that’s okay. I’m surrounded by people who love me and can laugh at my mistakes. I try my best to right my wrongs when possible. Give yourself grace; don’t take yourself too seriously. We’re all trying, and in trying, there is hope.

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