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The Dangers of Procrastination in Addiction Recovery

A couple holding hands during a family therapy for addiction session.

You sit down to finish an important task that’s due by the end of the day. Instead of concentration on the project at hand, though, you find yourself checking a news alert that includes your favorite actor. You then search the actor online to see what they’ve been up to lately, check out their latest movies and text your friends about one you’d like to see. Before you know it, lunch has passed you by and your task is still unfinished.

Procrastination is like a mysterious force that puts your life on standby. For many people, procrastination simply prevents productivity. But for those in addiction recovery, procrastination can be dangerous and undermine all the hard work they’ve invested in sobriety. Let’s take a closer look at how procrastination can impact your addiction recovery.

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is a habit that encourages you to postpone or delay important tasks in your life. It’s common for procrastination to be rooted in negative emotions and oftentimes coexists with anxiety, stress and depression.

In many cases, procrastination can be temporary. However, it can become a difficult habit to break free from when negative thought processes and feelings bolster ongoing delay behaviors. Even if you know you’re procrastinating, the fear of facing the task or problem at hand can lock you into this destructive pattern.

Why Procrastination is Dangerous When You’re in Addiction Recovery

For many people in addiction recovery, small, routine actions each day help them stay sober. For example, going for a morning walk or meditating before bed can help you build repetition and predictability in your recovery. This routine acts as an anchor that keeps you grounded and helps you manage cravings.

Unfortunately, procrastination can erode all the benefits a routine provides your recovery, risking relapse. Maybe that daily morning walk helps you start your day in a good mood. If you skip those morning walks or delay them, you may struggle to start each day with a positive mindset. This can leave you vulnerable to destructive thoughts that could eventually lead you to use alcohol or drugs again.

This isn’t to say that procrastination will immediately lead to a relapse. However, you have a better chance at maintaining long-term recovery if you know how to mitigate procrastination.

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4 Tips for Overcoming Procrastination in Addiction Recovery

Overcoming procrastination in recovery can seem like a daunting task. The good news is there are strategies you can implement today to help you avoid this dangerous behavior and keep you focused on lasting sobriety.

1. Start Writing To-Do Lists Everyday: Get into the habit of writing down every task you need to complete each day. Not only will the list encourage productivity, but crossing items off will provide a sense of accomplishment.

2. Change the Way You Think: Sometimes there are tasks that we tell ourselves we “have to do”. That phrasing can trigger a negative mindset and diminish your motivation for doing them. It can help to rephrase your internal thought process to, “Here’s what I want to do”.

3. Focus on the Starting Line: When you look at a task in its entirety, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Instead of focusing on all the steps needed to complete a task, shift your attention to the one step you need to do to start it. Once you begin, you’ll arrive at the finish line before you know it.

4. Try a New Environment: It’s natural to have moments where you feel like your recovery is in a rut. If you’re having trouble staying motivated, try to change your environment. Try doing your daily meditation in a park or drop into a local support group.

Procrastination can complicate your recovery. If these strategies aren’t working, there’s personalized support to help you avoid relapse. If you’ve already relapsed, Footprints Beachside Recovery can help you get your recovery back on track.

Find Hope for Lasting Sobriety at Footprints Beachside Recovery

Navigating addiction recovery can be challenging, especially if you’re also struggling with procrastination. If you’re afraid that your recovery is at risk or you have recently relapsed, we’re here for you. Footprints Beachside Recovery is a family-run addiction treatment center in Florida that offers a holistic approach to recovery.

We’ve been through addiction recovery ourselves and know firsthand the challenges you’re facing. If you’re ready to find personalized support and healing for the mind, body and spirit, contact our admissions team today.

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