The first 30 days of sobriety are typically the hardest. When you first get sober, your emotions are all over the place. Since alcohol and drugs have been numbing your emotions, you may have way more feelings than you were aware of. Plus, you haven’t yet developed healthy coping strategies, so you’re getting everything at full force without the tools to cope with it.
Not to mention, withdrawal has both physical and mental effects that can cause you to feel exhausted, overwhelmed and just plain sick. Many people struggle to give up drugs and alcohol. It’s normal to feel relieved that you’re finally getting help, but also scared about having to cope without your substances.
As difficult as the first 30 days of sobriety can be, there are many ways to get through them in one piece, and come out stronger on the other side. Below are the tips we give our clients as they begin their journey at our drug rehab in Agoura Hills, CA.
Seek Professional Support
You do not have to go through this process alone. Withdrawal symptoms can be severe and dangerous, especially if you’ve been drinking or using drugs heavily for a long time. Medical detox provides you with a safe and supportive environment where you can detox from drugs or alcohol while receiving 24-hour clinical support and monitoring.
Once you are sober, you can start a treatment program, which may be inpatient or outpatient. You can read more about these options here. Often, inpatient facilities provide medical detox onsite, followed by treatment. Outpatient programs are more flexible and designed to support you as you transition to everyday life.
Be sure to take advantage of the support offered to you. Addiction treatment centers help you explore your issues, treat you for co-occurring conditions, provide alternative treatments, and offer support and guidance as you navigate your recovery. Once you are more stable in your sobriety, you can ‘step down’ to a lower level of care.
Stay Hydrated and Eat Well
People newly recovering from addiction often lack vitamins and nutrients. While you can take a supplement to restore your levels, it’s most important that you change your eating habits. As long as you eat well, you can get most of your nutrients from the foods you eat.
Focus on whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, proteins, whole grains and dairy products. Avoid sugary or processed foods. When you eat a balanced diet, you’ll feel better, reverse deficiencies, enjoy more energy, fight infections, and ultimately recover from the physical effects of addiction. Also, keep hydrated with lots of water, as thirst can be confused for a drug craving.
Make Sleep a Priority
Not only does your body need healthy foods right now, but it also needs rest. A lot happens while you sleep, and your body needs this time to restore itself. Also, getting enough rest lowers cortisol levels, improves mood and alleviates stress, all things that can help protect you from relapse.
Make sure to set a consistent routine, where you go to bed every night and wake up every day. About 30 to 60 minutes before bed, turn off electronics and enjoy a relaxing activity, such as reading a book, writing in a journal or practicing meditation. Eventually, you will get used to winding down this way and improving sleep quality.
Practice Positive Thinking
Negative self-talk has many negative effects, including anxiety and depression. This can lead to lowered self-esteem, decreased motivation, and feelings of helplessness. While these feelings aren’t good for anyone, they can be especially damaging to a person in recovery.
When you catch yourself thinking negatively, reframe your thoughts. Surround yourself with positive people, follow a healthy lifestyle, and focus on the good in your life. Many people in recovery benefit from practicing gratitude. The more positive you think, the more natural it will come, and the happier you will be.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
Now that you are rebuilding your life, you will need new people. To stick to your recovery goals, you will need to cut ties with toxic people. One day, you may resume some of your old relationships, but right now, it’s too much stress and temptation.
Hopefully, you have some good friends and family who are happy to support you. Be open to building relationships with new people, such as those in your support groups. AA/NA members can be great sources of support, and you can learn a lot from them about getting through the first days, weeks and months of recovery. The alumni group at your treatment center is also something to consider joining.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting goals is important, as it encourages you to work towards something and celebrate your milestones. Plus, working towards goals can help you establish new behaviors and routines and guide your focus. Work with your treatment team to develop realistic goals that you want to work on in your recovery.
For example, if you want to exercise more, you can start with small, manageable goals, like walking every day for 10 minutes. Do this for a few weeks, and then add 5 to 10 minutes onto your time. This is an achievable goal that you can succeed at, and it will help you start new, healthy habits.
Don’t let boredom interfere with your recovery. While it’s important to have time to rest and relax, this should still be productive time for you. Being bored is a trigger for relapse, and it can quickly cause you to start fantasizing about using drugs or alcohol again. Everyone is different, so consider what you need to keep yourself busy and fulfilled.
Some great activities include exercise, volunteer work, dog walking or pet sitting, art or music, reading, writing in a journal and helping others. Talk to the people in your support groups to find out what activities they do to keep themselves busy.
Start Your Journey to Sobriety
Awakenings Treatment Center is here to help you on your journey to sobriety. From intensive outpatient to standard outpatient to aftercare, our staff can help you achieve sobriety and transition to everyday life. Contact our admissions department to learn more about our addiction treatment services.