man getting out of his comfort zone

Why is Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone Important in Your Recovery?

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

When you are in recovery from substance abuse, it requires a certain amount of patience in yourself (and in others) when you are trying to learn new and healthier coping skills. For those people who have struggled for years with a drug and alcohol addiction, your brain chemistry and ways of thinking had developed around the craving and use of drugs. In order to change behaviors, there definitely will be times where you feel uncomfortable and unsure of yourself and will feel like a fish out of water.

Feeling out of your comfort zone is a normal part of your early recovery. This is due to the fact that for years (and maybe many years) your comfort zone was your addiction. No matter how devastating your consequences were and no matter how you hurt your family and other loved ones, the ritual of using substances felt natural. As you start working the program of recovery that was established during your time in treatment, you learn to move past those old and maladaptive comfort zones and adopt healthier ways of living. However, you may soon find out that becoming comfortable in your recovery can also be a dangerous in of itself.

Why Can Feeling Comfortable in Recovery Be Dangerous?

Making the decision to enter drug treatment is perhaps on of the biggest life decisions you can make it your life. As you go forward in treatment,the greatest barrier to success is learning how to live in new and healthy ways. As stated earlier, addressing the roots of your addiction and learning new and healthier coping skills takes you out of your old comfort zones and puts you in foreign territory. While you may struggle at first, you slowly begin to build confidence and learning to implement life skills you need to function in your daily life while working a program of recovery starts to become second nature.

Eventually you start reaping the benefits of your hard work in recovery, and while having a successful recovery brings forth a sense of pride, feeling too comfortable in that success can indicate there is danger ahead. For some people who are in recovery, having success in sobriety may plant the seed in their mind that things will be smooth sailing from this point forward, and they begin to develop a sense of complacency in their recovery. When recovering people get complacent, they start to slack in their recovery program and may start missing meetings or quit working with their sponsor. The confidence they have is misplaced, and they fail to see the signs that their recovery is in jeopardy. Eventually, their pride and ego get in the way and relapse occurs.

Breaking Free of Comfort Zones is Healthy for Your Recovery


When you think long and hard about it, recovery isn’t about settling down into what is comfortable. Ultimately, recovery is a journey that is filled with challenges and opportunities to learn and grow as a human being. Therefore, you must be accustomed to learning to push the boundaries in healthy ways and discover new things about yourself. This is not to say that you can’t savor the small victories as they come. While these victories can be sweet, there is always work to be done on yourself–and you must push yourself to become the best person you can be, both in recovery and in life.

How do you go about this? First, you must always be aware of those moments in which you start feeling stuck in your recovery. It is always good practice to journal daily and be candid while you journal. As you read what happens on a daily basis you may notice patterns that keep you stuck, and as a result you can find ways to move past those barriers. Developing new hobbies is another way to break out of comfort zones in your recovery. When you discover a new passion or past time, you may discover new things about yourself that you didn’t know existed and it will allow you to further grow in your recovery.

Most importantly, you must continue working your program of recovery and ask for help from your recovering peers if you sense your recovery is getting stale. In addition to seeking the support and encouragement of your peers in your 12-step homegroup, you should continue to work with your sponsor on a regular basis. Your sponsor has been where you are at, and the advice and guidance they give you can help you move forward confidently in your sobriety journey.

It is important to always remember that recovery is a process which lasts a lifetime. The first and most important step in that journey is drug treatment, and if you are seeking drug treatment that will truly make a difference in your life First Steps Recovery should be your first phone call. Call us toll-free today and break free from your addiction for good.



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