What to Expect in the First Month of Sobriety
It’s time to take back your life.
Once you’ve completed your first month of sobriety, you may start to feel confident in your ability to rebuild and create a new path for your future.
Take a deep breath. No matter how frustrated, scared, or confident you are, renewing your commitment to health and healing at this point is critical.
After Leaving Addiction Treatment
Once a person completes drug or alcohol addiction treatment, they will transition back into daily life. It can feel good to get back home to family and friends. Yet, home can be a place where many triggers for relapse occur.
Remember, as many as 60 percent of people relapse from drug and alcohol addiction. As confident as you are feeling now, it’s critical to focus on staying sober long-term. With the risks in mind, consider what’s likely to happen in your first days home:
- It may feel good to be around your family again. They may be your support team and ready to help you.
- Getting back to work or school may feel challenging because of the people who may question where you have been. Recognize that routines that used to be common – such as going with coworkers to a bar after work – cannot happen anymore.
- Relationship struggles once present may develop again, putting you at risk for a range of negative thoughts and emotions.
- You have more freedom. That’s a good thing, but it also may put you at risk for making poor decisions. At first, you may want to stick close to home. But isolation is another relapse trigger that you’ll want to avoid.
- Mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, may become more evident.
In short, everything you used to do may be a bit different. Friends, family members, your routine, your diet, your recreational activities–all may change. It is normal to feel apprehension. Take it one step at a time – often one hour at a time – to build confidence.
How Can You Ensure You Remain on the Right Path?
Perhaps what is most important during this time is to have a plan for managing the ups and downs you’ll face. You’ll work on a relapse prevention plan as part of your drug and alcohol treatment. Some of the strategies that can help you include the following, according to studies listed in the National Institutes of Health.
#1: Life Has to Change
To be successful and avoid relapse, life has to change. During addiction recovery, you must create a new life. That new life should reduce the risk that you need to use drugs or alcohol. That may mean creating strategies for reducing stress, finding a new job, and developing new friendships.
#2: Focus on Honesty
In every component of life after drug and alcohol addiction treatment, it’s important to be honest with yourself, with your friends and family, and with your therapist. Honesty may mean telling others that you don’t want to use because of addiction. It may mean being honest about stress. It may mean having difficult conversations with loved ones about long-held resentments. It may also involve recognizing early warning signs of relapse so you can take action to avoid it.
#3: Ask for Help
Most people in addiction recovery benefit from a strong support system. Without it, they may find it is hard to meet goals and remain sober. Part of a healthy recovery is being willing to ask for help from time-to-time. Don’t look at asking for help as a type of weakness. Rather, it is a way to support yourself in difficult times. Soon, you’ll have the confidence to help other people as well.
#4: Practice Self-Care
Taking care of your physical and mental health is a big part of success in addiction recovery. Treating your whole body allows for full healing, and it can help you to gain confidence along the way. Engage in self-care that feels good to you:
- Eat healthy, nutritious meals
- Stick to a routine that can help you to avoid negative behaviors or thoughts
- Get out and have fun with friends that understand your addiction
- Invest in physical exercise and fitness programs like yoga or walking
- Recognize your need for more help from therapists
- Incorporate stress-busting activities into your day
#5: Don’t Bend the Rules
Drug and alcohol addiction allows for no deviation from abstinence. You cannot use, in any way, or you risk relapse. Don’t allow yourself to engage in activities that put you at risk for making poor decisions. Focus on your health and well-being.
Let Victory Help You Stay on Track
You’ve worked hard to get through that first 30 days in addiction treatment. Incorporating relapse prevention strategies can help you avoid negative outcomes. Our team at Victory Addiction Recovery Center offers aftercare treatment programs that can help you stay on the right path.
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