Some habits make drug or alcohol addicted individuals more likely to succeed in their alcohol and drug recovery. Then there are lifestyle choices that encourage relapse. In this article, we’re going to cover the big “dont’s” of a healthy addiction recovery.

Removing yourself from temptation can be challenging, but it can make all the difference, especially in the early stages of recovery. As a recovering addict, it’s easy to obsess over the few things you can’t have, rather than the long list of things that you can. By avoiding the habits discussed in this article, you can make it easier to focus on the opportunities that lay before you.

Five Habits To Avoid While In Recovery

1. Hanging Out With Friends Who Still Use

This piece of advice is most important with children, teenagers, and young adults. At these ages, social circles are at the core of self-identity. If the acceptance and promotion of drug use is the norm in your social circle, it can be hard to stay a part of the group without feeling the pressure to use alcohol and drugs.

The desire to not only be accepted by your primary group but to excel within it is a primal, subconscious drive that we all share. Addiction or no addiction, it becomes difficult to surround yourself with people and not absorb aspects of their habits and worldviews.

Staying attached to social circles where drug and alcohol addiction is common inevitably increases your likelihood of relapse.

2. Listening To Music And Watching Media That Glorifies Alcohol and Drug Use

Music and movies that embrace drug use can also increase the chances of relapse. While in addiction recovery, it’s important to see substances for the role that they’ve played in your life specifically.

Not everyone has a brain that’s predisposed to addiction. If you’re an addict, your brain is. We all like to think that we’re impervious to being influenced by what rappers brag about in their lyrics, especially as fully grown adults. The subconscious mind never sleeps, however, and the more frequently drugs are positively referenced around you, the more likely you’ll be to relapse.

You’re not admitting to having weak willpower by opting for a change in music. This phenomenon is the same in people of all ages. Be wise about the media that streams through your brain while in addiction recovery.

3. Frequenting Places Where There’s High Alcohol and Drug Consumption

You can’t take a shot, smoke joint, or pop a pill if those things aren’t physically around you. Removing temptation is half the battle towards a healthy recovery. Switching up who you socialize with makes avoiding places like bars and concerts a whole lot easier, but the option to walk into a bar is always there regardless.

For people who love going to concerts, it can be difficult to go on hiatus from attending shows. Don’t worry. You can go back to see your favorite bands perform when your brain chemistry stabilizes later in recovery.

During the first year, however, you’re at higher risk, and it’s best to stay away from high-risk environments entirely. If you or someone you know in the Phoenix, AZ area is struggling with addiction, Stonewall Institute’s 10-week intensive outpatient program (IOP) is a safe place to get support and seek community in the absence of drug use.

4. Having A Lot Of Idle Time

When you’re trying to retrain your brain post-addiction, it’s important to keep busy. Ideally, you’ll want to fill your time with activities and projects that get you excited and help you lose track of time. Make a list of hobbies that have always naturally held your attention. Throw yourself into them and don’t look back. Anytime you have blank space in your schedule is an opportunity for the part of your brain that still craves drugs to speak up. It’s critical to have a contingency plan in place for when thoughts of relapse begin to creep in.

It’s also crucial, however, to be able to reflect and enjoy peaceful moments. Having things to keep you busy isn’t always the healthiest way to respond to the moment. Sometimes you need to allow yourself to embrace and process negative emotions related to your drug or alcohol addiction. For this reason, it’s essential to train your brain to do so in a productive way.

Developing a meditation practice is a simple and effective solution. Mindfulness meditation is a rebranding of Buddhist traditions that have become popular amongst high profile recovering addicts like actor and comedian Russell Brand. The practice involves observing your thoughts and emotions as they float by so that you can learn from them without getting triggered to use drugs and alcohol.

5. Using Food and Products That Contain Trace Amounts Of Alcohol

Nothing’s more frustrating than giving your brain a little tickle of alcohol when you’re a recovering addict. If you like to cook, avoid cooking with wine. The smell alone can be a trigger, and even the tiny bit of alcohol that may not get cooked off can tease your brain and make you more you prone to relapse.

Mouthwash that contains alcohol should also be avoided. This is easy enough to do with the availability of so many alcohol-free alternatives to products like traditional Listerine. Original-formula Listerine, the stuff that has a light brown color, contains 26.9% alcohol by volume. That’s easily enough for trace amounts to absorb into your bloodstream through the gums while you rinse. Individuals in addiction recovery who begin using alcohol-based mouthwash part-way into recovery may notice increased feelings of agitation, frustration, and brain fog. These symptoms are the result of reintroducing alcohol into the brain.

Set yourself up for success in alcohol and drug recovery by embracing the right habits. Fill your life up with so much good stuff that the idea of losing it trumps the risk of taking another drink or drug. If you sit idly by and continue the habits that you’ve always had, minus the drug use, it will only be a matter of time before the temptation to use becomes too great.

Stonewall Institute Treatment Center is here to answer any questions you may have about recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. We’re based out of the Phoenix, AZ area. Call us today at 602-535-6468 or email us at