• Addiction & recovery

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Addiction Recovery


November 18, 2022


Starting your addiction recovery journey can feel daunting, especially because recovery is often painted in a very negative light. Although recovery is undoubtedly challenging, it doesn’t have to be a bleak and negative experience. The Eleanor Health community is here to help you through your recovery journey every step of the way. A few of our employees (Alyssa Perez, Sherry Kelly, Mikki Suffin, and Aaron Price) were generous enough to share some things they wish they had known before starting their personal addiction recovery journeys. Here is what they have to say!

1. Self-awareness is the key to recovery. Use this time to self-reflect and learn about yourself!

“I’m aware of what environments I have to stay away from; I’m aware of the people who are unhealthy for me. I’m aware of how mind-altering substances affect me. I’m aware that I have a mental illness, AND THAT’S OKAY!” (Perez)

2. Take recovery one step at a time, and don’t forget to prioritize time for rest.

“I wish that I had known that it was OK to take time out for me.” (Kelly)

3. Set healthy boundaries with others and yourself. Recovery can be exhausting, both mentally and physically. Put your best self first!

“It’s ok to refuse plans and even leave early; you don’t need an excuse because you don’t owe anyone anything.” (Suffin)

4. Becoming aware of and accepting your emotions is no easy task, but it is worth it in the end. With recovery comes a lot of inner turmoil and negative feelings that may have been buried beneath the surface for too long. Let these feelings out, no matter how hard it may be, to face them!

“Moving through your feelings and not attempting to numb them will be one of the hardest things. You really have to be in that place and work through it. Finding roots there will help you find the roots in life you seek.” (Suffin)

5. Always strive to move forward in recovery, but never forget where you came from. Remembering your “Day 1” makes your present day all the more monumental.

“I read my Bible, go to groups, work in the recovery field, take my medications, and do everything else to keep me on track, BUT I also remember where I came from.” (Perez)

6. Not everyone will be as accepting as you wish on your recovery journey. Unfortunately, there is a negative stigma around substance use disorder; some will find this stigma hard to shake. Keep moving forward without them, and be grateful for those who support you.

“Some friends will support you, others won’t. Coming to terms with letting go of those that don’t support your recovery will be tough, but worth it in the larger scheme of things.” (Suffin)

7. For many, helping others and giving back is a big part of maintaining recovery.

“I find that in helping others, I was able to help myself become a better person. I deeply enjoy the connections I can make by sharing my experiences with those in need. I build trust by sharing my lived experience, staying real and down to earth, and lifting others with humor and recognition of strength.” (Price)

8. Make a list of goals you want to achieve during recovery.

Especially at the start of recovery, it can be easy to feel lost or overwhelmed by such an unknown journey. Creating goals, no matter how small, will help direct you. 

9. Meetings with support groups will help you more than you may realize.

Having a positive support system is what you need to stay grounded and focused during recovery. Everyone has an idea of what you are going through, which will help you recover and give acceptance to friends in general. Don’t skip the meetings!

10. There’s no shame in asking for help.

Although it may feel like you have to go through recovery alone for it to be “successful,” the truth is that the addiction recovery process often requires you to lean on others for support. Don’t feel guilty for not being able to do this completely alone; nobody can!


Eleanor Health is here to help you build your confidence and momentum towards the future you want. We provide treatment services for adults with alcohol, opioid, and other substance use disorders. We are currently located in LouisianaMassachusettsNorth CarolinaNew JerseyOhioTexas, and Washington.

Eleanor Health

Recovery for life.

Our mission at Eleanor Health is to help people affected by addiction live amazing lives. We deliver whole-person, comprehensive care and are passionate about transforming the quality, delivery, and accessibility of addiction & mental health treatment. Our actions are rooted in respect for each member's values, culture, and life experiences, and our commitment to their wellbeing is unwavering and without judgement.

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