Human beings tend to prefer instant gratification as opposed to taking a long, thoughtful approach to our daily lives. We sometimes succumb to impulse, therefore leading ourselves into unfavorable situations. Most humans are just wired this way and are predisposed to selecting the path of least resistance, and sometimes it gets us in trouble. This approach to life can affect our recovery, too. We can develop expectations as to how our recovery will play out in the long run, often forgetting that it is an ongoing process without an end in sight.


The Result of High Expectations

While expectations are necessary to get us through recovery, having unreasonable expectations might be the fastest way to unravel the positive effects that your rehab has made thus far. Having high expectations places a lot of added pressure on us, and therefore creates a recipe for failure. Just because we feel recovered, does not mean that we are. 


  • Frustration: Patients generally feel more confident during early recovery and are therefore more ambitious. When our expectations aren’t meant, it agitates our mind, body, and soul, giving us unfavorable frustrations. Frustration can cause a blow to confidence, which in turn can lead to more impulsive decisions. 


  • Distraction: We might not be listening to ourselves, and our recovery might be hindered when comparing ourselves to others. Do not overlook the fact that everybody has different struggles. Instead, focus on making the kind of progress you want for yourself.


  • Second-guessing: If you allow unmet expectations to get the best of you, they will. You will begin second-guessing, losing more momentum, and negative thoughts might occur.


  • Relapse: When our expectations are not met and we adopt the attitude of, this doesn’t work for me, then relapse might not be that far away. 


Common Expectations That Can Lead to Setbacks Right out of Recovery:


  • Thinking rehab will change your financial situation
  • Expecting loved ones to forgive and trust you 
  • Thinking you will not encounter obstacles along the way


While all of these goals are reasonable and highly achievable, they will not happen overnight. It can take months or years to rebuild relationships or find a career that satisfies desired financial needs. Furthermore, we need to create trust from within ourselves before we can expect others to trust us. 


Consider Supporting Reasonable Expectations with Reasonable Goals 

When you are realistic and honest about your capabilities, you can set practical goals for yourself. Knowing what you can handle is important. You wouldn’t spend your first day at the gym trying to bench press 300 pounds, so take your recovery at a slow pace to start. Recovery is a lot like conditioning and strength training, it takes time to build. 


  • It starts with a sound mind. Accept the challenges that are going to come from recovery and know that this is not going to be quick and easy. You will have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to succeed. 


  • Manage stress. Stress management is a tool you will want to keep developing throughout your life. You can start practicing stress management by thinking realistically. Once you begin achieving your goals, you will begin to realize how managing stress levels can help generate more confidence and focus surrounding your goals in recovery. 


  • Recovery is life long. Your goals should be designed to grow everything, mentally, physically, and spiritually, at the same pace. Practicing patience will enable us to stay the course and learn how to handle what life throws at us.


  • Track your progress. Monitor your goals and report daily, perhaps to a journal or diary. Writing out our goals and our thoughts around them allow us to consider how realistic we are being with them. It is also a great way to hold ourselves accountable for the goals we have set. 


When coming out of a recovery program, it is good to feel confident and embody “the sky’s the limit” philosophy. Just as expectations are part of human nature, we need to be honest with ourselves. We want to set goals that are accompanied by specific ways to go about achieving them. 


True Recovery supports alternatives to sustaining long-lasting recovery. True Recovery also understands the difficulties and setbacks that arise during recovery, that’s why they provide a number of options for patients who need to get focused again on their recovery. For more information please call us today at (866) 399-6528