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RECO Intensive
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RECOnditioning Your Mind

In early recovery, you’ll find you’ll have to adjust to life outside of treatment.  Because addiction changes your brain, you might find that unless you set up a strong, healthy foundation, staying sober might be more difficult than you thought. Staying clean requires work. You are fighting a disease and change won’t happen overnight. You’re learning a new way of living and it will take some adjustments and reconditioning to reach those milestones.

What Does It Mean to Recondition Your Mind?

Your brain went through tremendous changes as you dealt with your addiction. Substances rewire your brain. As such, you’re susceptible to cravings during stress and at risk for relapse when things get hard. Even having nothing to do during times that would be filled with using can cause you to start back up again. Reconditioning your mind is about breaking habits and finding alternatives. If you return to old routines, you might fall back on old behaviors.

Avoiding Relapse

Relapse is common. 80% of those seeking long-term sobriety find themselves relapsing at least once. There’s a stigma against those who do relapse. There’s shame and a sense of failure when you start drinking or using drugs again because you might feel like all of that effort is lost. Remember that isn’t true. You’ve made it very far already and that counts. 

There are ways to avoid relapse. When you are in early recovery, make sure to be mindful of your triggers. There are two types of triggers, external and internal. External triggers are places and people that might trigger cravings. Internal triggers are emotions and thoughts that could cause a relapse. Create a plan to avoid triggers either through talking with a support group or a therapist. 

Creating Structure

There’s a chance that addiction made life hard to control. It ruined your sleep schedule, messed with your appetite, and made it hard to meet your goals. Now that you are staying sober, you’ll find that you have a lot of free time that used to be dedicated to drugs or alcohol. Another common cause of relapse is boredom–having so much time and nothing to fill it with. When you commit to being sober, you need to create a foundation, establish a routine, and focus on your goals. 

What are some things that you want to accomplish? When you set goals, you can structure your life around them. Create a structured daily and weekly schedule and stick to it. Keep in mind your goals and how this schedule can serve them. This can revolve around finances, a healthy social life, new hobbies, support groups, maintaining health, or whatever you need to keep a healthy, sober, productive life.

Take Care of Your Body

When you’re thinking about your goals, it might be a good idea to add health to the list. When you experienced substance use, addiction took a toll on your body. There’s a chance you struggled with weight and malnutrition, that your stress was out of control, and that you didn’t prioritize yourself. 

When you create the structure for your new life, consider how you can fit in exercise and clean eating. Focus on how you manage your time to avoid stress and burnout. Pay attention to your body and give yourself the love that you deserve. 

Get Support

A healthy social life is a cornerstone of recovery. As such, it’s important to fit support groups or therapy into your schedule. There are some groups that meet online if you can’t meet in person. These healthy relationships can replace the toxic ones and having a strong support group will help you in the long run as you navigate your life in early recovery. 

Take a Look at Your Financial Situation

Addiction can sometimes take a toll on your finances. There are cases where you might have gotten into legal trouble, gotten into debt, or lost a job. These issues can be scary to confront in early recovery and can be extremely stressful. Regardless, don’t put off dealing with it. Financial issues can get worse if neglected and can cause a lot of stress.

Create a plan for how you will deal with your finances. Make a budget. If you feel overwhelmed, reach out to your support group. They might have resources that can help. 


Staying Sober in early recovery can be a daunting task. You’ve changed during treatment, but your external environment is still the same. If you don’t address this reality, it’s easy to slip back into old habits. For many, staying sober isn’t a straightforward path. You won’t improve overnight. When you RECOndition your mind, you need to find a healthy balance. It might seem easy to throw yourself into the waters again, but it’s easy to feel in over your head. The key is to gain control over your life and the things in it. You need to take an active stance on the life you want to lead. In early recovery, it’s possible to relapse. You might miss the warning signs if you don’t know what they look like. Relapse can look like returning to addictive thinking patterns, thinking less rationally, taking part in self-defeating behaviors, and seeking out situations that expose you to future usage. At RECO Intensive, we know how difficult it can be to rewire your thinking after treatment. We are committed to providing support for our alumni as you navigate your new life. For more information, call us at (561) 464-6533 to learn more about what you can do to RECOndition your mind.

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