Taking Risks in Addiction Recovery

September 24, 2012 Karl Shallowhorn, MS, CASAC

There are many risks individuals take in active addiction however recovery also has its own risks.  The can be beneficial however producing great ourcomes.

For me, active addiction was a time fraught with risk. I repeatedly subjected myself to any number of dangerous situations. Whether it was driving under the influence, taking unknown substances, or mixing illicit drugs with pharmaceuticals, I was taking chances every time I could.

Healthy Risks in Addiction Recovery

So is the life of the active addict. Clueless to the hazards of his/her actions, the addict is all about risk taking. But what about the addict in recovery? There are certainly risks however I would describe them as healthy risks. The following are just a few of the ones that I and many others have had to face in recovery:

  • Learning to deal with life without the use of a drug – Okay, this may seem obvious, but for those individuals who have relied on a chemical to help them deal with life then this can be a foreboding prospect. Managing one’s feelings, coping with withdrawal, and being alienated by old using friends can produce a lot of stress.
  • Creating a healthy support system - Staying away from people, places and things is often one of the most difficult things to do in early recovery. The risk, therefore, is in being able to develop a new group of friends who are not involved in the “lifestyle.” This can be done through 12-Step meetings, church, or even the local gym. In any event, the prospect of having a group of supportive friends can make all the difference in the world. As for myself, I attribute much of my success in being able to stay clean to the positive relationships I have developed over the years.
  • Asking for help – When I was in active addiction, I was very reluctant to ask for help from anyone. “I can do it myself,” I would say. Of course, this regularly got me into trouble. When I got into recovery I learned a very valuable word: HUMILITY. By learning to humble myself I came to realize that I did not have to do everything on my own. AND….it was okay to say, I don’t know.”
  • Step out of my comfort zone – I cannot tell you how many times I have had to go beyond my self-perceived limitations and try something new. Whether it was starting a new job, running a marathon, or traveling to China, I have been constantly challenged to do new things. As a result I have grown immeasurably. Change is good.

Experiencing Growth Through Positive Change

Recovery presents individuals with any number of opportunities to learn more about themselves. But it isn’t until we take a healthy risk that we will experience the true gifts that recovery has to offer. So the next time you are presented with an opportunity to make a positive change that may seem daunting, consider how much you will learn and grow in the process.

APA Reference
Shallowhorn, K. (2012, September 24). Taking Risks in Addiction Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 22 from

Author: Karl Shallowhorn, MS, CASAC

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