Addiction Recovery - Alumni

What to Do When Experiencing Recovery Burnout

What to Do When Experiencing Recovery Burnout

When you feel burnt out from the recovery process, you must revitalize your life to reverse burnout and keep up good habits.

The life gained by daily recovery maintenance is nothing short of a miracle. Making the initial decision to get help for your substance use came with a hefty list of suggestions to get you on the path of self-discovery. Much of the guidance given required you to step out in faith, and with those small actions, you acquired a deeper understanding of who you are and all the possibilities available to you.

As time goes on and you succeed in reaching your goals, you may come to realize that you haven't felt particularly connected to what you are doing. You may feel as though you're simply going through the motions to keep your recovery in working order without giving any real thought to your actions. This is called burnout, and if left unattended, it can be a danger to your sobriety. 

4 Signs of Recovery Burnout

Concluding that you are burnt out can cause panic as you may assume that, if you're experiencing burnout, it means you must be backsliding on your recovery because you haven't done enough. While that is a possibility, most people who express feeling this way often find that they are actually doing too much, not too little. When you're able to spot the signs and symptoms of burnout, or preemptively employ routines that help balance your day, you increase your level of peace and can work on recovery to your fullest potential. 

Here are some signs and symptoms to look for if you are experiencing burnout within your recovery:

  • Increased aggression or irritation

  • Lack of energy 

  • Canceling appointments or events that focus on your recovery, like therapeutic services, meetings, or retreats

  • Returning to old habits to cope

Many of the above may also be signs of mental health disorders, so it is important to get help immediately if you believe these symptoms are connected to deeper issues. 

The Effect Burnout Has on Recovery

Burnout can affect your recovery in a multitude of ways, many of which are hard to notice until it is brought to your attention by friends or family. The changes that occur when you are in this state of mind are slow-growing and often become more evident as your actions become less "you," which is why burnout can be spotted easier by those close to you than by yourself. 

Notice how burnout affects others in your life since their reactions can cause more pressure for you while moving through these feelings. Some of your loved ones may ask questions that could be hurtful, like inquiring about a potential relapse. This is because many of the actions taken when burnout can resemble old behaviors. Isolation and lacking a desire to engage socially can create uneasiness in family and friends because it reminds them of how things used to be when you were in the grips of substance use. Having compassion for their experience as well as your own can be demonstrated through an honest conversation. Let them know that you're experiencing burnout and work with them to find ways to combat it.

Isolation can keep you from opportunities that could usher in new perspectives on how you can elevate your life. Most people require community support to feel connected to the world around them. When you're burnt out, the desire to be around anyone can be fleeting and feel like more of a chore than a blessing. Your new life in recovery heavily relies on a strong support system, and if you don't have one, you could be inviting in more disfunction and harm.

How to Remedy Burnout

Coming out of the burnout cycle can be difficult but not impossible. If you're having these feelings, you may find recovery activities exhausting, especially if you're suffering from low energy. The trick to untangling yourself from this snare is to take small steps. You don't have to address everything overnight, nor should you attempt to. Ideally, you don’t just want to remove these feelings, but to understand what behaviors and choices led you to this point. 

Figuring that part out may require outside help, which you shouldn't shy away from should this process become overwhelming for you. In the meantime, you can try things from the following list that may give you the support and endurance you need to reinvigorate your recovery process. 

Make a conscious decision to do something that caters to your physical body every day. This can be anything from taking a run to stretching in the morning. The important thing is to be consistent. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is something that you can do easily and without stress. 

Make your bed. It may seem small, but beginning your day with a small act of productivity gives you a sense of organization and balance, which can help clear a mind clouded with anxious thoughts.

Find a creative outlet. Even if you don't see yourself as a creative type, there are countless activities you can partake in that exercise your creative brain. Creative activities help you visualize or block out and move past difficult thoughts taking up space in your mind.

Keeping Up With Your Recovery And Other Responsibilities Can Become Daunting Over Time

Going through the motions to maintain a certain way of living eventually dampens any enthusiasm you once felt for your new life. At The Edge Treatment Center, we specialize in long-term change for the better. We know that recovery is a life-long process, so we understand the work and dedication that must go into revitalizing our clients through our comprehensive and highly individualized treatment plans. We provide the safe community required to help you address your substance use and burnout after a while in recovery.

Call us today for more information at (800) 778-1772.

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Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Addiction Recovery


January 31, 2022