If you’ve recently completed treatment, the early days of recovery can be exciting yet overwhelming. There are new experiences and challenges to navigate as you get used to living throughout the day without drinking or using drugs. As daunting as it may seem, there are many strategies that you can use to maintain your sobriety and take care of yourself while adjusting to a sober lifestyle. Let’s take a look at three common challenges that so many people face in early sobriety, and how you can overcome them.
Common Challenges of Sobriety
As you begin recovery, you are especially vulnerable to triggers and temptations. Therefore, you have to face four truths:
1. The First Year of Sobriety Can Be Isolating
When you first become sober, it’s natural for feelings of isolation to creep in. You may have distanced yourself from family members or friends who still drink or use drugs. Now that you’re no longer engaging in those activities with them, you feel lonely and disconnected.
Joining support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is an excellent way to find community with people who have similar experiences and understand what it’s like to live soberly. Moreover, attending AA/NA meetings regularly will help you build relationships with others in recovery while learning valuable tools for maintaining your sobriety along the way.
2. Self-Care Isn’t Easy
The first year of sobriety can be stressful as you adjust to life after treatment and figure out how to take care of yourself on a daily basis. It’s important that during this time, you make sure that your physical health is being taken care of by getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, avoiding excessive caffeine consumption, and attending doctor’s appointments as recommended by your doctor or therapist.
Additionally, it’s important to engage in activities that bring joy into your life—like writing poetry or painting. These can help reduce stress levels when managing the challenges of early sobriety on your own.
3. It Isn’t Easy to Cope with Stress Without Substances
It can be difficult at first to learn how to cope with stress and challenging emotions without turning to substances for comfort. Finding healthy coping strategies that work for you—like meditation, journaling or talking to a friend—can help you manage your emotions in a healthy way as you adjust to sobriety.
Having a list of healthy coping skills will also provide you with a valuable resource if you ever find yourself in an uncomfortable situation that may trigger the urge to relapse.
4. Recovery Is a Journey
Finally, it’s important to remember that recovery is a journey. In fact, everyone takes their own unique path. You may experience setbacks now and then, but it’s important to keep your eye on the prize. Celebrate even the smallest accomplishments along the way as reminders that progress is being made every day in your recovery. Additionally, use these accomplishments to stay motivated and encouraged throughout the journey.
By remaining focused on sobriety and consistently engaging in self-care, you can make it through the first year of recovery and beyond by finding new ways to cope with stress, create meaningful relationships with those in recovery, and develop resilience against triggers. With dedication, support and patience, recovery can be accomplished despite the common challenges of sobriety.
Relapse Prevention Strategies
It’s not uncommon for people who have recently achieved sobriety to experience strong cravings for alcohol or drugs during periods of stress or even boredom. Therefore, having an individualized relapse prevention plan is essential when navigating these triggers so that you can maintain long-term sobriety success.
At San Antonio Recovery Center (SARC), we offer each patient a personalized relapse prevention plan at the end of their treatment program which includes:
- Identifying triggers and warning signs
- Developing coping skills
- Creating a support network
- Cultivating healthy habits
- Utilizing 12-Step programs
- Planning for high-risk situations
- Learning how to recognize and manage cravings
- Recognizing and responding appropriately if relapse occurs
- Continuing therapy sessions
- Setting realistic goals
Get Help With San Antonio Recovery Center
Navigating the early days of recovery does not have to be daunting with the right knowledge and support system in place. Always try to remember these three key points:
- Stay connected with others in recovery via support groups like AA/NA meetings
- Practice self-care through physical health regimens and joyous activities alike
- Form an individualized relapse prevention plan
These activities can help ensure lasting sobriety success over time.
If you need help getting started on any part of this journey toward long-term recovery success, contact San Antonio Recovery Center today at 866.957.7885. We are here for all phases of addiction treatment—from detoxification services through aftercare planning. Don’t hesitate to reach out today.