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How to Start Over in Recovery

July 14, 2022

A new year brings new beginnings. The prospect of a fresh start can excite a person leading them to find and receive the help they need to achieve their goal. The good thing about slipping back into old patterns is a person can begin again.

Acknowledge and Accept the Past

Before anyone can move forward, they must accept their past. For some, starting new may come from an error in judgment or falling back into destructive patterns. When people accept what happened—either to them or by them—they acknowledge that something like alcohol or drugs impacted their lives. Recognizing the damaging effects of substances allows a person to move on.

Acceptance of the past also means your client can experience pain or hurt, but they don’t need to suffer from their choices; they will suffer only if they choose to suffer. If your client relapses, they can enter a detoxification program or substance addiction program. The choice to begin substance addiction treatment again shows your client understands centering their life around a relapse is a choice to suffer.

The Cycle of Change

Everyone goes through things in their life that force change. Sometimes those events are beneficial, but other events can set a person back. Whether a health incident, aging, a life change, or a loss led to your client’s relapse, they need to know a fresh start exists. Help them understand the reality of life is it can either be embraced or take someone for a loop.

Regardless of how your client takes on specific situations, they and others can wonder how they will start over in similar cases. For them, the idea of adapting to new circumstances is problematic, especially if it means going back to the beginning.

No doubt you discussed with your client about events or obstacles that impeded their progress at one point or another. The lack of progress can create feelings of depression or anxiety. In some cases, clients may revert to past destructive behavior patterns that lead them down a path of despair. For example, once your client starts to drink alcohol or use their drug of choice again, they may think they can’t go back or are stuck with the choices they made. However, this cannot be further from the truth, and they can make a change.

Discuss with your client how starting new doesn’t equate to failure. Rather, it means they are ready to make a positive change. People can learn and grow from failure. After a relapse or a desire to stop using alcohol or drugs happens, find a treatment plan that incorporates their needs with their personality.

Change Is Scary

No one is ever too old to make a change in their life; however, despite a person’s age, they can try something new. For example, a person who feels stuck in a job they don’t like can re-evaluate their life by assessing and processing how they feel. Then, guide them to the steps to finding what works best for them.  Likewise, if your client relapsed or wants to stop drinking or using alcohol, they need to set goals.

The unknown is scary and does prevent many from moving forward, but the alternative to starting over is also frightening. Ask your client to imagine where they see themself in a year, five years, or more. Then, guide them towards discovering how they can reach their goal and maybe even go further. Plans, or starting over, are life events meant to shake up a person’s routine and hopefully build a sense of satisfaction. Help your client understand when they choose to limit themselves. They create their obstacles.

Steps to Starting Over

  • Find a New Perspective. How a person looks at something can determine how they choose to act or respond. When you encourage your client to view fresh starts as a positive, they can establish a path to recovery.
  • Identify Obstacles. Anytime someone decides to leave harmful behaviors behind, they face challenges. A part of aiding your client to reach their goal of entering a detox program or substance addiction therapy is to discuss expectations from a program. Then, once they enter that program, they can work with their therapists to discover ways to prevent self-sabotage.
  • Reassess Core Values. Core values can change over time. As people age and cope with losses, job changes, marriage, children, or divorce, their perspective on life changes. What is essential to their life can shift to accommodate their personal growth. While your client is working with you, ask them where their priorities lie and what they find essential. They may be surprised to realize that their core values have shifted.
  • Find Potential. Everyone has the potential to change and grow into the person they see themselves becoming. The problem for some is finding or acknowledging their opportunities to work towards their goal. As a therapist, you can help them tap into their strengths and discover holistic therapies that resonate with them. Although the growth potential exists within everyone, some need a little coaxing.

Starting over is a choice. Whether a person chooses to acknowledge their pain, suffering in silence is a choice. The decision to accept what happened and start fresh is a sign they understand they have the power to move forward and leave the past behind. Change and growth come from realizing that life is an evolving cycle that includes many obstacles. Some obstacles will force a person to reassess their priorities. Core values in life adapt over time. No one has a set path, and no one must live and relive past mistakes. Alta Centers believes there is hope in recovery. Our center, located next to the Hollywood sign, mirrors its symbolism by signaling new beginnings include hope, and goals are only achievable if a person believes in themselves. Our staff provides the guidance and care necessary to help your client detox and start a new life. We welcome inquiries about our program. Call us at (888) 202-2583.