Roadblocks to recovery are barriers blocking your way from achieving fulfillment in a lifestyle for recovery. 

You know that recovery is not easy.

It takes work.

It takes just as much work to free yourself from the chaos heroin addiction has caused in your life as it took to create it.

The only quick fix is abstinence, but even then, staying sober can be next to impossible if you don’t pursue an action plan for recovery. When you have to deal with homelessness, criminal charges, or physical and mental health issues, staying sober can be daunting.

Explanation of Roadblocks to recovery

Roadblocks to recovery are barriers which keep you from pursuing your chosen path for happiness and fulfillment in a lifestyle for recovery.

Roadblocks to recovery relate to many situations in your life.

Hell, recovery can be a roadblock in, and of, itself because you know how easy it is to resist change. Positive change is never easy. Most would say positive change sucks.

Some groups will tell you to admit you are powerless and turn your will over to god. I tried and that didn’t work for me.

It’s not easy to admit you are powerless, especially when you don’t feel powerless. If you’re reading this and you’re still strung-out on heroin then you are not weak. You are a suvivor. You have survived heroin addiction, and there is nothing easy about living to tell your tale. 

Roadblocks in recovery are anything standing in the way of you and the left you want.

Have a look at how personal relationships, personality traits, and your lifestyle act as roadblock to recovery:

Once the chemical dependency has been removed from the equation, you have to make the effort to work through the barriers keeping you from creating the life that you want.

Understand what cravings and urges trigger you to want to use heroin or other drugs.

Your new life in recovery will require work. It doesn’t have to be difficult, but the odds are set against you. However, the impressive part is that recovery can be simple when you’re considering the following: 

  • Not overthinking it
  • Working through past trauma
  • Surrounding yourself with positive support
  • Building a system to work your plan for life in recovery
  • And doing something every day to enhance your life in recovery

If you make these 5 positive changes you will be on your way to finding the happiness you deserve from a life you create.

Pretty easy, right? 

Then tell me; What is stopping you?

A drawing of a road blocked with signs because construction

Roadblocks to recovery relating to your motivation to change:

• Failure

Anxiety and worry that you will not be able to stay sober, creates stress. Past efforts to stop using heroin have ended badly. You’re tired of letting people down, relapse, after relapse has created self-doubt and success, doesn’t seem likely so you panic. Convincing yourself that you are worthless or don’t deserve to live a life of happiness.

One way to overcome the feeling of failure is to forgive yourself. Accept your past actions and understand that, as you heal, you will not have to make these same mistakes again. Once you forgive yourself, you will no longer be subjected to the cold, harsh feelings that guilt and regret have created deep inside of you.

• Motivation as a roadblock to recovery

Your motivation to change fluctuates daily, from positive to negative. Sometimes you can feel that your motivation to change has reversed on itself. You go to bed at night happy to be sober and convince yourself that tomorrow your day will be fantastic, but when you wake up the universe throws a monkey wrench at you. Nothing goes right. You bump your knee rushing to the bathroom, hit your head on the vanity mirror after brushing your teeth, and there aren’t enough coffee beans to make your morning coffee.

At first, you tell yourself these are little things and not to worry, but the day just keeps getting worse. Your motivation to plow through the day, creating positive change seems futile. Each new problem depletes your motivation and by mid-morning your reaching for the phone, and it isn’t to call your recovery coach.  Positive change takes a lot of work and courage. To stay atop of your recovery, you have to be persistent.

 • Minimization

When you minimize your addiction to heroin, you are experiencing one of many forms of denial. Minimization is when you have convinced yourself that your problem isn’t as bad as it seems. You got this. You can handle doing dope, and all of the issues you experience are not because of heroin. All of your questions are easily explained.

• Pleasing someone else

Recovery cannot be fully achieved if you are doing it for someone else; such as a loved one, family member, job requirement, parole officer, or other court mandate. I am not saying that other people cannot be great motivators. However, for you to achieve happiness in recovery, you have to make the decision to change out of love for yourself.  You cannot change for someone else. Change has to be desired by you, for it to be meaningful.

Fallen tree across a road  blocking your path forward

Roadblocks to recovery blocking positive peer support networks

• Uniqueness

Do you feel unique? Your addiction has led you down long garden paths, which became dark alleys, time and time again. You have tried to relate to others, but no one can relate to you, and all you have experienced because of your heroin use disorder. The dark downward spiral has caused you to isolate yourself from others. No one would understand what you had to do to keep from getting sick. You feel if you told anyone the ways you made money, you will be shunned, chastised, made fun of, and unaccepted.

It is true.

You might have had to do worse things than other people who use heroin, and circumstances will always be different. The only reason you did these things was that you didn’t have money to pay your drug dealer. When you have money, it’s easy to keep from withdrawal.

However, once the money is gone, everyone gets creative to keep from experience the sickness of heroin withdrawal.

Some ways your uniqueness can block your path to recovery:

  • Does your feeling of uniqueness prevent you from taking meetings seriously? Instead of listening and paying attention to the person sharing, you are busy comparing how much worse your life is than others in the room.
  • Do you only hear what you want to hear and criticize the positive messages being relayed to you while at AA, NA, or SMART recovery meetings?
  • Do you question how a sober support network can help you? Do you let your uniqueness block you from having positive experiences with new peers seeking the same goals of recovery as yourself?

Establishing peer connections with others in recovery allows you to enjoy positive experiences, lean on others for support, and get answers to all the questions you will have about learning to live a more fulfilling life in recovery.

Keeping yourself isolated from others who want to help you succeed is not beneficial to your recovery.

isolation is a roadblock to recovery. the boy sitting here alone with his worry fear and anxiety could find resolve in meeting with positive peers.

Isolation, as a roadblock to recovery

Addiction is isolating from others.  During his research in learning how to help people struggling with substance abuse disorders, Johann Hari uncovered a fundamental truth;  Recovery is reversing the isolation that addiction has forced you to live with, by reconnecting to family, loved ones and community, and forming new connections with addiction recovery services.

Your addiction thrives in isolation. All the roadblocks to recovery, mentioned in this post, aim to keep you isolated from the truth. Loneliness has become your norm. It’s easier to be alone than fight and argue with someone about having that fifth beer at lunch or eating a box of cookies before dinner.  When you are alone, there is no one to support your positive change, hold you accountable for negative behaviors, or guide you through a personal inventory of your behaviors – numbing you to the world.

• People, places, and things

It’s always difficult to change when our friends, acquaintances, lovers, and spouses have not changed. When you come into your recovery, it is suggested to excuse yourself from spending time and meeting up with past acquaintances who you used heroin or other opiate drugs with because these friends can cause temptation. In early recovery, you will have many attractions which you cannot control, but you can change your friends, the places you frequent, and pastimes you enjoy.

Recover out loud.

However, it is not always easy to excuse yourself from associating with your family and loved ones. Just becasue you got sober and are changing old habits doesn’t mean everyone you knew is going to change with you. Let others who are still using know how you need support to make this change.  Learning to live with your spouse and family without using heroin or other drugs takes time.

Learn how to talk with your family and loved ones about the changes you are making. Ask friends and family members to not use in front of you. 

Sometimes just hearing a conversation about drinking or drugging creates cravings, so ask friends to refrain from talking about alcohol or drugs when you are around. When you reconnect with your family, loved ones, especially colleagues, it’s best to let all know you have chosen to live drug-free. The results are less offers to smoke a joint at lunch, happy hour invites, and information about the quality of heroin on the streets.

What happens when you recover out loud?

Trey Laird, CEO of The Lighthouse Sober Living in New Canaan, Ct shares this nugget of advice with new residents at his sober living or recovery coaching program: ” The more people who know you are in recovery, the fewer people you will have to drink and do drugs with.

• Social Ineptitude

Do you feel you have problems trying to relate to people? Social anxiety will work as a roadblock to recovery because it will keep you from building rapport with a positive peer network.

Social acceptance and belonging is coded into your human behavior. Even though you on to be accepted and fit-into social circles, your self-doubt and irrational beliefs about yourself can create a barrier which keeps you from actively seeking to connect with others.

Other times you might feel that you cannot relate to others who did not use heroin. Do you have an elitist view of your heroin use disorder? It is common for substance users to create discrimination or feelings of superiority based solely upon the drugs of choice.

Acceptance and belonging

During the ’90s, my circle of street junkies felt we were better than those with crack cocaine disorders. We convinced yourself that we were a better class of drug addict.

There weren’t any facts to support my views of other persons who had different substance use disorders. I convinced myself that I could not attend a treatment facility which offered help to both heroin addicts and crack cocaine users simultaneously.

I also believed that crack addiction was far worse than heroin addiction. I refused to attend several treatment facilities based on my discrimination of crack cocaine users, but looking back on this decision, I would now attribute my refusal to denial, social ineptitude, and readiness to change.

Brene Brown quote on vulnerability -" If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked then I am not interested in your feedback" for the blog post Roadblocks to recovery

• Vulnerability

Vulnerability is a giant roadblock to recovery. Opening the door and letting another into your life makes you vulnerable. Breaking down the barrier, and allowing yourself and others inside can result in amazing changes in recovery.

However, taking that step is scary.

Learning to let down your defenses, taking off your mask, and standing naked in front of others for the first time since you became addicted to heroin will align you with the positive changes which recovery promises. It doesn’t mean it is an easy task.

One way to help you become more vulnerable in your early recovery is to keep in mind people are not as judgemental as you think.

Believing you are being judged by others is negative self-talk working to undermine the positive changes you are about to make when you allow yourself to be vulnerable.

Roadblocks to recovery pertaining to personality

• Fear of admitting defeat

Do you find it hard to ask others for help? One of my biggest problems in the past was defeating myself because I was scared to ask someone for help. Failing on my own was more comfortable to digest than admitting I couldn’t do something to another person. I still had to deal with failure, but I found it easier to create an excuse for why I couldn’t complete a task or find a solution to my problem.

Learning to lean on others, ask for guidance, and support was hard for me because I feared how others would perceive me. Once I started asking others for help and support, I found out that people were happy to help me and not once did I have to deal with being made fun of for not being able to figure out the problem on my own. I believe the main reason for my fear of asking for help was due to the negative story I told myself.

• Negative self-talk

What story do you tell yourself?

For years, I told myself I was a mistake, stupid, and never good enough. Whenever something went wrong in my life, I was able to blame it on one of these reasons. I had heard these phrases by my family when I was young. I used to believe that I was told this over and over by my sister and cousin. I am not sure how often these two told me this, but in my head these words defined me.

I heard this several times, but I reinforced it by repeating it to myself tens of thousands of times over the years. I let my negative self-talk snowball into my reality.

Learning to ignore the negative words you tell yourself every day will take work, but it is a possible task. I speak from experience.

You have to dispute the negative voice in your head. The more you question the negative words you choose to tell yourself the easier it becomes to dispute the effect your negative self-talk has upon your thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions of self.

• Avoidance

Avoidance is another form of denial. Instead of meeting your problems head-on its easier t ignore the challenge.

When you start working on personal development, you will uncover hidden truths and lies you have been hiding deep inside for years. Sometimes drawing up the anchor and sailing away back into the dark waters of your addiction seems safer.

It is vital to dive deep inside and learn to love yourself, all your perfections and imperfections, faults, and strengths, forgive yourself, accept and reconcile your past, and apologize and make amends for your history when you can.

Before you can make amends to others, it is best to make amends with and forgive yourself. You can love another entirely until you have learned to love and respect yourself.

• Authority

People tend to not like to be told what to do, especially when it concerns making a personal change.

Pain and grief block the way of change.

When you imagine a person is forcing you to make these changes, you tend to resist the person. Asking your recovery coach or sponsor to assess our behavior can create animosity, fear, and arguments.

Keep in mind, you are not being judged or asked to do something unreasonable. Most often the person you asked to help you through your process of recovery has faced these circumstances and has worked through behavioral changes oneself.

Barriers blocking your recovery show up in your lifestyle choices 

Routine and Structure

Recovery is a whole system upgrade and change and at first, a person might find that their routine has too much free time available, no schedule, or structure.

If a person’s living situation is not optimal to support recovery:

• Lack of adequate housing
• Homelessness
• Unemployment
• Disability
• Support


Admitting you have a heroin use disorder is straightforward, especially when you wake up sick, cannot concentrate after 5 hours without another fix, always think of using, and many more facts about your use.

But accepting that it is a problem is an entirely different entity.

It is not easy to uproot and change, especially when you feel that there is no need to change. Even though you wake up in heroin withdrawal if you do not feel the negative results of your heroin use, such as financial, relationship, and career strain accepting that your drug use is a problem gets clouded. 

You convince yourself into believing you do not have a problem. You compare yourself to homeless street junkies fixing up shots of heroin on park benches and winos drinking out of a brown bag in the Bowery.

Breaking through the denial of self-deception and accepting your relationship with heroin is creating chaos in your life is key to working through the roadblocks to recovery.

Deserving recovery

Do you feel you have no direction in life?

Your heroin use and isolation have destroyed your relationships with family, friends, loved ones, and colleagues. Not only do you feel alone, you believe you cannot rebuild the relationships heroin has destroyed.

You have spent all your money, savings, home, and personal possessions to support your ever-growing habit.

The devastation to your lie has left you with little hope for repairing the past. You are alone without any reward at the end of your path. The life you created is dismal.

Overcoming the idea that you are not worthy of recovery creates the desire, want, and need to change. No one has ever said, Change will be easy.  Forgiveness is a crucial step in defeating feelings of unworthiness. Quiet the negative self-talk and dispute your negative attitude to reach new drug-free highs in recovery.

An open tunnel it is smooth sailing from here now that the roadblock to recovery have been removed

Overcome these barriers to recovery to create the ultimate version of you with heroin or other drugs

Choosing to stop using drugs and alcohol is a tough decision.

Roadblocks to recovery, which cause hardship and stress are lurking around any corner. Difficulties and hurdles set up by yourself, old networks of friends, and other barriers creating turmoil and resistance to change. However, when you choose to change help is available.

Find peer support and guidance in support group meetings, inpatient and outpatient programs, recovery apps, and your recovery community. Peer support helps you understand your addiction, work through denial, and set-up a recovery team to hold you accountable to the changes you chose to make.

Investing in recovery coaching services is crucial to holding to your path for recovery. A recovery coach will help you build a recovery team.

Your recovery team will guide you through difficult decisions and roadblocks to recovery as each arises.


Ready to make a commitment to change?

If you or a loved one would like to speak with Arise Recovery Coaching about how we can help you learn to live a life free from heroin and other drugs, please don’t hesitate.