10 things we wish we had known in early recovery

  1. Get really good at the “buffet approach.” Take what you like and leave the rest is not just a quaint expression. It’s an important skill to learn. Too many of us do the opposite – we hear things that make us feel inadequate or hopeless and we miss all the good stuff.
  2. Social anxiety, feeling insecure, having mental illness, “trust issues” and a boat load of shame about the past are the norms in early recovery. You are not any more or less of a person than the rest of us.
  3. No one recovers alone. There are very real limits to what any of us can do in isolation. What we can do in fellowship with kindred spirits is exponentially greater.
  4. Recovery, spirituality, healing and growing are all very personal choices and experiences. We learn from the experiences of others, but one size does NOT fit all.
  5. What works for you is going to be an ever-evolving thing. There is no finish line and there is no all better.
  6. Being a work in progress means it’s ok to make mistakes. When you don’t know better, it’s a mistake. When you do know, it’s a choice. (Knowledge creates responsibility).
  7. It’s not a “slip.” A slip is something you do unintentionally on ice. A relapse is drinking/using and it’s not an accident.
  8. Before we relapse, there almost always are a host of things we stopped doing.
  9. You are not “terminally unique.” You are not hard to understand and millions of us can relate to you and identify with you if you let us.
  10. There is always hope. If you are vertical and breathing, then congratulations, you have another chance to get it right.
Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.