The Importance of Adaptability in Addiction Recovery

Deciding to enter into treatment requires individuals to undergo a tremendous amount of change. Transitioning into a sober lifestyle means changing many aspects of a person’s way of life, thinking, and coping. This is why learning the skill of adaptability is essential for long-term recovery. Many of us may tend to shut down in the face of uncertainty. However, one of the few constants in life is change. Therefore, individuals need to develop skills that allow them to adapt to these changes and be flexible when unforeseen events may alter plans. 

Adaptability is the capacity for a person to cope, recover and capitalize on change that disrupts a person’s life or plans. This skill is essential for those in recovery to develop as it allows them to see the possibilities and opportunities that come with unanticipated change and lifestyle adjustments necessary to lead a healthy life

Cultivating Adaptability in Ourselves

Throughout the past year, many of us have realized the importance of adaptability. Across the world, the extraordinary changes that came with the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to become adaptable to varying circumstances. The changes that came to many peoples’ jobs, businesses, major life events like weddings and graduations, and regular daily routines were immense. Many people had to adapt to overcome these challenges. People have adapted in many ways, including utilizing Zoom meetings, online school, and postponing significant events. While there have been many unforeseen changes, there have also been opportunities to overcome, adjust, and grow. This skill is vital for any individual to have, and carrying this lesson into recovery can be very rewarding. 

Cultivating adaptability in ourselves during recovery can be challenging. However, adopting the skills you used to navigate the changes that came with the pandemic can also help you with the changes that come with deciding to get sober. In recovery, you are faced with the decision of staying stuck in your ways or changing. Having the same mindset as you did in the past could lead to difficulties in recovery and potentially lead to relapse. Adopting new, healthier ways of thinking, behaviors, and choices can make all the difference in treatment and recovery. 

Tips to Become More Adaptable

  • Accepting the uncertainty of the future by planning one step at a time is one of the main skills to learn to become more adaptable. Instead of planning out everything from A to Z, try to get from A to B first. While it is a good idea to have long-term goals, it is also important to realize that things can change fast, and by the time you get to step B, things may have already changed in such a way that requires you to rethink your next steps. When we achieve things step by step, it can help us gain the confidence needed to move forward to the next step instead of feeling overwhelmed by too big of a picture 
  • Learning to compromise is essential when balancing out the needs of others and yourself. While maintaining your sobriety is the most important thing, only focusing your attention on your needs and wants while failing to consider those around you may hinder your ability to adapt to situations. You may become easily upset and thrown off course when a loved one’s plans interfere with yours. By compromising, you can learn to adapt in ways that are beneficial to you and those you love. 
  • Learning to be flexible is an essential undertaking in recovery. We can make all the plans we like; however, our friends or family may suddenly change or cancel lunch dates, someone we love may get sick, or other unpredictable changes can complicate our lives. Learning to be flexible by accepting any changes that are out of our control, dealing with any disappointments, finding solutions, and moving forward are healthy steps to take instead of being stuck in anger. 
  • Adding some variation to your routines is another guiding factor in learning to be adaptable. Being a creature of habit can make it challenging to be flexible when necessary. The more we add variation to our routines, the more we can naturally be open and adaptable to change. For example, it may help every once in a while to go on a new walking or jogging route, trying a new coffee shop, or taking a different way home. Developing routines is an integral part of recovery, and adding variations to these can help provide fresh perspectives and confidence in our ability to change plans if needed. 


When learning to be more adaptable, it is essential to take it slow and not feel like you have to be flexible at every turn; having a solid foundation is also vital. Long-term recovery requires a change in thinking, attitude, and behaviors. To avoid shutting down in the face of change and uncertainty, being adaptable can allow you to overcome difficulty, adjust what you need to, and find an opportunity to grow. Having the capacity to cope and capitalize on this change in healthy ways can help you throughout your recovery journey. Life may not always go as planned, so being flexible can help you cope when things don’t go accordingly. At Alta Centers, we understand that recovery is not a destination; it is a journey. Just like any other journey, there may be highs and lows. We are here to help you develop the skills necessary to be prepared for your own journey. Call (888) 202-2583.

About Alta Centers Detox

Alta Centers Detox is  Addiction Treatment Centers with Alcohol Rehab and Drug Rehab in Los Angeles California