Did you know that the first 30 days of sobriety are the most crucial for alcoholics and addicts? In fact, there’s a high rate of relapse at this stage. But you don’t have to be one of them. The road to recovery is not easy and it’s challenging. There will be ups and downs, but with determination and support from family, friends, and support groups you can get through this difficult time. Keep reading for tips on how to survive the first month of sobriety with ease.
What to Expect in the First Month of Sobriety?
When you first quit drinking or drugging, you’ll experience a wide range of withdrawal symptoms like cravings, headaches, mood swings, anxiety and depression. Many of these symptoms will subside in a month’s time, but in the meantime you’ll need to be patient and ride out the storm. Here are some other things you can expect during the first month of sobriety.
- You’ll experience intense cravings to drink. This is normal, given that you’ve been regularly medicating yourself with alcohol for years. Your cravings will gradually subside as your body and mind readjust to life without alcohol or drugs.
- You’ll feel a myriad of emotions, from sorrow and regret to fear, anger and shame. But you’ll also experience moments of relief and joy as you realize that you’ve taken the first step toward a new, sober life.
- You’ll have to face your fears and deal with any underlying issues that may be causing you to turn to alcohol or drugs for relief.
- You’ll experience physical symptoms like headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, insomnia and digestive issues.
It is critical to realize that you don’t need to face any of this alone. Sober livings can be enormously beneficial, because residents can connect with other people who are going through similar experiences. They also receive much-needed support when they find the trials and challenges of recovery difficult to bear on their own.
Avoid Relapse After Rehab
Many people make use of treatment programs to quit drugs and alcohol. While clinical treatment programs for addiction can provide essential help, it is important to take steps afterwards to ensure long-term sobriety. Sober livings are one of the most common and effective aftercare strategies for recent rehab graduates. Many people also make use of sober livings while they are attending an outpatient rehab. One study on sober livings showed that residents who attend sober livings, either as a first-line approach to recovery or in conjunction with rehab, have lower rates of relapse.
After going through the grueling process of quitting drugs and alcohol, it’s common to feel apprehensive about what lies ahead. After all, if you’re finishing a rehab program, you’ll be leaving behind the safe environment of rehab and returning to the unpredictable real world. In addition to struggling with cravings and every day temptations, many former addicts also have to adjust to life without drugs or alcohol for the first time in years.
Thankfully, there are some simple strategies that can make this transition much easier. By undertaking several measures before leaving rehab, you can significantly increase your chances of success and avoid a premature return to old habits.
Even if you’ve struggled with sobriety in the past, staying sober after rehab is possible.
Join a support group
Joining a support group is a great way to meet people who are in the same boat as you. It’s a safe space where you can share your challenges and victories, receive guidance and support, and make some new sober friends. You can find a support group in your area by visiting the National Alcohol and Drug Abuse or SAMHSA websites. Another option is to join an online support group. There are plenty of options out there, including Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. There are also many other online groups, like Soberistas and Smart Recovery, where you can meet like minded individuals and talk through your challenges. The vast majority of sober livings also have regular support group meetings on-site.
Stay away from people, places and things that trigger your desire to drink or use drugs
The best way to avoid relapse is to completely avoid people, places and things that trigger your desire to drink or use. The people in your life who have been enabling your drinking (like “friends” who have been providing you with booze or drugs) must change their ways or be removed from your life. They will only set you back and hinder your sobriety. You must also remove yourself from any places that trigger your desire to drink, such as bars, parties and other social events where alcohol is served. Avoiding activities that have been associated with your drinking or drugging, such as gambling, fishing and hunting, is also often a good idea. The best way to do this is to create a list of all the people, places and things that trigger your desire to drink and then create a plan on how to avoid or eliminate them.
Exercising daily is critical during the first month of sobriety. It will help ease your withdrawal symptoms and keep you busy and focused on your recovery. Research shows that regular cardiovascular exercise reduces cravings. It will also boost your immune system, release endorphins, improve your sleep, and help you release stress. There are many different types of exercise you can do, like yoga, jogging, hiking, weightlifting and Pilates. Find one that resonates with you and stick with it. You can also join an exercise group or find an online exercise program to keep you motivated and help you stay on track.
Journal your thoughts and feelings
As you navigate through the first month of your sobriety journey, keep a journal by your bedside. Whenever you’re feeling anxious or depressed, journal about your thoughts and feelings. This will relieve your stress and help you make sense of your emotions. It’s also a great way of processing your challenges and accomplishments and will help you stay on track with your sobriety. It’s best to journal by hand rather than on your laptop or phone so you don’t get distracted and start scrolling through social media. And don’t worry about what you’re writing. No one will ever read your journal, so feel free to be as honest and raw as you need to be.
Enroll in a Sober Living Home
Sober living houses are residential homes designed to help you get through the first few weeks or months of sobriety. You’ll get to share a home with other alcoholics and addicts who are also in the process of getting sober and trying to build up and live a sober life. At the same time, you’ll be surrounded by a team of supportive sober coaches and mentors who will help you navigate through your first few weeks of sobriety. These staff members will provide you with guidance, advice, and support as you transition into a sober lifestyle. You can also meet other people who are going through the same thing as you and make some new sober friends. Sober living homes come in many forms and have different levels of intensity.
Bridges Sober Living, located in West LA, offers sober living apartments for both men and women as they work to stay off drugs and alcohol and rebuild fulfillling new lives in recovery. If you are ready to make a change, reach out today!