Early recovery can often be difficult. You’ll certainly face obstacles in your first months of being sober, including triggers in the form of people, places, or feelings that make you want to return to your old habits. Learning to live life without using substances can be challenging, but if you know what to expect while newly sober, it can be more manageable. Some of the challenges you will likely face in early recovery include the following.
- Repairing and rebuilding damaged relationships. While in your addiction, you may have damaged relationships or hurt those closest to you. Now in recovery, you will want to make amends to those people so you can move forward and rebuild these relationships. This process may not happen as quickly as you may like. It may take time and patience to get others to see that you have changed and genuinely want to repair and rebuild what was damaged.
- Changing old habits. You may have developed certain habits while using alcohol or other substances, such as not taking care of yourself, being late to work, skipping out on family events, etc. These old habits may have enforced your behavior, and now that you are sober, you need to make changes. The new skills you learned while in treatment can be used to change old habits into ones that fit into your sober lifestyle. For example, instead of reaching for a cigarette in the morning, opt to spend ten minutes meditating or going on a short walk.
- Managing stress and anxiety. Feeling stressed or anxious is common in early recovery. You may have self-medicated in the past to avoid these types of feelings. Now that you are sober, you will need to recognize what is causing you stress or anxiety and learn new ways to cope that no longer involve alcohol or other substances. Getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating healthy can all help you manage stress and anxiety.
- Finding support. You may find that certain friends or family are not supportive of your recovery. You will want to surround yourself with those who care and support your journey. If someone refuses to take your sobriety seriously, you will likely need to let that relationship dissolve. You can find support from new sources, such as support groups, a sponsor, or by making friends with others who are also sober and understand your recovery.
- Overcoming boredom and loneliness. Both boredom and loneliness can be dangerous in early recovery. Now that you are not drinking or using substances, you may find yourself with too much free time. You may feel isolated now that you are sober since your old friends may still be using alcohol or other substances. Boredom and loneliness can lead to relapse, so it is important to find meaningful things to fill in your day. Going to work, doing a hobby, or taking a class can help beat boredom and enrich your life. Volunteering in the community can connect you with others while giving back to those in need.
- Coping with cravings. You may have cravings while in recovery. Learning how to deal with cravings is essential. You can cope with cravings in a variety of ways, such as by keeping yourself busy, being mindful, focusing on your goals, talking with sober friends, and removing yourself from any situation in which there may be triggers.
Remember that it is normal to face challenges in early recovery. Recovery does not end with treatment. Part of the process is finding the strength to overcome the challenges and discovering new ways to deal with them. Keeping your early recovery a priority and taking care of yourself can make it easier to stay sober and have a lasting recovery from addiction.
We are Here to Help with Early Recovery
Are you or a loved one struggling with addiction? If so, contact the caring staff at Mountain Laurel Recovery Center. We offer a variety of programs and services including residential treatment, detox, and extended care in our Pennsylvania location that can put you on the path of recovery. To set up a confidential consultation with one of our staff, contact us online today.