The Importance Of Patience In Addiction Recovery


patience in addiction recovery and treatment

For individuals in addiction recovery, patience is an important mindset. Good things usually take time, and the same can be said for recovery.


Patience is the ability to accept delay, and deal with stress in a calm manner without giving up. It is understanding that recovery is going to take time to build and adapt to a new life and way of thinking. If an individual has used substances for years or even decades - it is going to take time to relearn different habits. The key is to be patient with the process but not complacent. 


Unrealistic Expectations


Expectations guide progress in recovery, but having unrealistic expectations sets individuals up for failure. The expectation that all the problems that have been created over the time of active addiction will be resolved in the first week or so of treatment is unrealistic. Having patience and setting realistic expectations gives individuals a healthy framework to succeed.


Trust and guilt are two major characteristics of those in recovery, and through learning new skills, objectives, and techniques they are able to forgive themselves, heal, and make amends with others.


Setting realistic expectations can help individuals stay on track with:

  • Mental preparation and clear understanding of the process

  • Avoiding surprises like finding out recovery is not an easy process

  • Stress reduction by setting goals that are attainable and realistic

  • Progress monitoring with realistic expectations - if expectations are unrealistic and unattainable, it will feel like failure instead of progress


How To Develop Patience


Developing patience is developing a skill. It takes practice and effort:

  • Paying attention to when we are not patient. The opposite of patient is: anger, irritation, blaming, and shaming.

  • Being kind to ourselves for not being patient already.

  • Changing automatic judgmental, critical thoughts and feelings of ourselves.


In recovery, this means working an honest program, being honest with yourself and setting clear goals that you want to achieve - then taking manageable steps to get to them.


Patience can practiced in recovery by:

  • Practicing mindfulness in recovery

  • Attending a program to learn how to reorganize life skills  in a sober way

  • Working with a therapist, group, and sponsor



If you or a loved one are struggling or need help for an addiction or alcohol problem, call us at: 630-402-0144