Early Recovery: 5 Facts About the First Year of Sobriety

Posted by Ryan Jackson on Dec 21, 2017 10:00:00 AM


To quit drugs or alcohol, you have to enter a drug rehab center as the first step to recovery. The first year in rehab is the most tumultuous and everyone’s experience is unique. So, there is no universal formula to work for everyone. There are however 5 facts about the first year of sobriety.

Early recovery can last up to a year or so of rehab. So, there’s no standard period on how long early recovery lasts. Early recovery is a big chance for you to begin afresh. You are now sober for the first time in a long period. So, you will have to put in a lot of work to sustain the sobriety. You will begin to realize that everything around you is now real suddenly.

There’re various emotions which rapidly come and go with no warning. Use this time to understand your feelings. Give yourself a chance to process whatever you’re feeling even when it seems scary or unfamiliar. It might involve daily or minute by minute struggle. You don’t have to forget that addiction recovery is unique to each. There’s no straight path for everyone to take.

On gaining sobriety, your journey to overcoming addiction goes on. During that first year, various circumstances, urges, and emotions are bound to arise. Understanding how to overcome addiction and to maintain sobriety amidst different external pressures and conditions is the best way to overcome addiction. Given are facts about the first year of sobriety.


Fact 1: Dealing With Post-Acute Withdrawal (PAWS) Symptoms


Now that you’re through the initial physical withdrawal symptoms, PAWS might come consistently throughout the first year of sobriety. The symptoms might last from 6 months to 2 years. These occur since your brain goes on to repair itself from the damage caused by the addiction. Some of the PAWS include problems handling:


  • Clear thinking
  • Recognizing stress
  • Managing emotions
  • Restful sleeping
  • Physical coordination and memory


PAWS are a significant reason to explain the importance of building a strong support network. Further, it also explains why you should seek help from addiction rehab centers. You can even get advice from people who have handled recovery longer.


The support you are to get comes in various forms. These include:


  • Understanding family and friend
  • Addiction fellowships
  • Doctors
  • Therapy
  • Group counseling


Since you’re not used to dealing with life without alcohol or drugs, always be willing to ask for help when the need arises.


Fact 2: Every Addict Recovers Differently

A woman thinking about her first year of sobriety

Have you embarked on your first year of sobriety? Well, you should remember that every addict recovers differently. This is because everyone experiences different triggers, emotions, and struggles when dealing with the process. Are you comparing yourself process to that of others? This is wrong. You will only end up developing feelings of inadequacy and pressure out of perception.

Give yourself enough space to find a path to overcome addiction. Explore appropriate methods which work for you to combat potential addiction triggers. It protects you from relapsing. Avoid comparing your success to that of your friends. You might be going through the same experience.

For addiction recovery success, make a checklist of goals and milestones you’re planning to achieve. The best idea is to reward yourself for any milestone completed successfully. You need a strategy uniquely bound to your journey to successful addiction recovery.


Fact 3: Evaluation Of Friendships And Relationships

To successfully overcome addiction, you need a strategy for maintaining sobriety and avoiding relapse. So, it’s vital to evaluate all your relationships and friendships. Those encouraging relapsing should be potentially terminated if you are to remain sober.

Do you have friends or relatives tempting you to engage in addictive behavior? This exposes you to situations where addiction triggers might exist. These peers might pressurize you into going back to your addictive behavior. People of this kind are not good to hang out with.

They don’t want you to become better and will not support your goal of overcoming addiction. Living with such people is a terrible experience emotionally. The best idea is to end such kind of relationships if you are to maintain successful addiction recovery.


Fact 4: Dealing With Emotional Tides

A man overlooking the ocean thinking about his sobriety

The process of addiction recovery is full of various psychological twists and turns. These might have a tremendous toll on your recovery experience. You are likely to experience frequent feelings of sadness, disappointment, and depression. This might follow you from the three months of recovery up to a year. Combating these struggles is not a piece of cake.

Failure to handle emotions properly might make them induce you back to addiction which is not a good thing. Having different feelings on entering a rehab center is normal though you don’t have to let them push you back to using alcohol and drugs. This will take you back to the beginning of your recovery process.

Take a moment to recall what you have gone throughout the recovery process so far. Remember all those challenges which you bravery overcome with great determination. Take note of these for use as a muse to keep on with the addiction recovery process.


Pro tip:

You don’t only have lows during addiction recovery process. Sometimes you might be overcome with feelings of overconfidence. Later in your first year of sobriety, you might develop feelings of success in beating addiction. It might make you relax in undertaking preventive measures to curb substance abuse.

You might even go ahead and reconnect with your old friends with whom you used drugs or got drunk. Overconfidence might drive you to think you’re strong enough to resist any temptations to engage in using addictive substances. This action will only heighten your chances of relapsing and endanger the sobriety you have worked for all along.

So keep in mind that there are highs and lows during the first year of addiction recovery. Treat them cautiously to avoid making rash decisions which might jeopardize your efforts at attaining sobriety.


Fact 5: Schedules Are Important

A planner and a coffee. A planner is essential during the first year of sobriety

Without proper scheduling to keep your life structured, it will not be that easy to take on the right path to addiction recovery. One of the best plans is working with set hours in an addiction-free environment. Each day will be consistent leaving you with no time to engage in addictive behavior. You can as well use a planner with time blocked out particular activities and goals daily, weekly, monthly or annually.

You can have personal, monetary or professional goals to help you focus on your addiction recovery efforts. Achieving milestones also becomes better. Are you attending aftercare service? Make a consistent schedule for each time you are to see the counselor. You can as well consider adding an activity which promotes healthy release of frustration and energy. It will curb the urge to take addictive substances.


Bottom line

Fighting addiction is something not to take lightly. It takes determination and focuses on recording successful addiction recovery. The first year of the recovery process can get tight and emotionally trying. The trick is to be kind to yourself by reveling in your accomplishments rather than dwelling on shortcomings.


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Topics: Recovery

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