The first few weeks and months of addiction recovery will likely be some of the most challenging times of your life. Getting clean and sober is not always an easy process but it’s without a doubt the best decision you can make. People considering getting clean often have many questions about the process. Fear of the unknown keeps many trapped in the vicious addiction cycle.
For someone who doesn’t understand addiction, it might seem strange that getting sober could possibly be frightening. However, if you have personal experience with substance abuse it makes complete sense. The idea of cutting out your go-to coping mechanism after months or years of using is terrifying.
Getting clean and sober doesn’t have to be a scary process. There are many ways to approach the process of early addiction recovery. Still, you might worry about the first few weeks and months. You should keep a few of the things below in mind when you quit using and get clean.
Is Addiction Recovery Scary?
The idea that addiction recovery is scary makes sense to those familiar with substance abuse. After you rely on drugs or alcohol to get through life for a long period of time, it becomes normal. If you asked anyone to quit relying on their usual coping mechanism, they would also experience a bit of nervousness.
Addiction recovery is a different story, though. Drugs become the central part of an addict’s life. A significant part of their existence revolves around substances. They’re using them, thinking about them, buying them, or getting enough money to buy them. It’s alarming to suddenly tear away from this seemingly necessary part of life.
The Scary Parts of Addiction Recovery
So what are some of the scary parts of addiction recovery?
Long-term drug abuse rewires the neural pathways in your brain. This means it develops a tolerance and dependence on the substances you use. When you completely stop using drugs, you deny your body the things it is used to having. Your body goes through a detox period while it cleanses itself of all the drugs.
During the detox period, you experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are both physical and psychological responses to the lack of substances. The withdrawal symptoms you have during early addiction recovery depend on a few different factors:
- The type or types of drugs you used
- How much you used
- How long you used for
- Your overall physical health condition
Detox facilities help relieve some of the worst symptoms during the first few weeks. Sometimes detox is a necessary part of addiction recovery. This is true especially if you have a serious problem with harder drugs like painkillers or heroin.
Lots of Extra Free Time
You’ll suddenly realize how much free time you have as soon as you stop using drugs. The work involved in getting and staying high takes up a lot of your spare time. Once you cut this aspect from your life, you’ll have plenty of empty hours. You might find yourself in a scary place if you don’t plan on how to occupy yourself ahead of time.
Losing Old Friends
Many people who get clean and sober find they lose their old friends from their using days. This might seem like a scary thing during early addiction recovery. Everyone understands the importance of friends. Not long into your addiction recovery, you’ll soon realize it’s probably better that you move on.
The Benefits of Addiction Recovery Outweigh the Fears
Although there are some seemingly scary parts to getting sober, there are plenty of benefits to even it out.
Learning More About Yourself
When your life centers around drugs, you often sacrifice a majority of the things that were important to you. Family, friends, hobbies, work, and school all fall to the wayside in favor of substances. Many addicts describe the experience of losing themselves to drugs at some point during their using.
After you get clean, you get the opportunity to discover yourself again in addiction recovery. Once your head clears you’ll discover a new perspective on the world. You can figure out what you enjoy doing, what you like to eat, where you like to spend your time. Find out who your real friends are and try to keep your family close as you do.
Rediscovering yourself, what you care about, and who you are as a person is one of the greatest gifts of getting clean.
Becoming More Productive
Once you find out how you enjoy spending your newfound hours, you become more productive. Having an interest and a passion for the things you spend your time on leads to a higher productivity level. You often find you produce better work because you’re actually present in the moment and engaged in life.
Making New Friends
You might lose some of your old friends when you get clean but you make up for it with the new friends you make. As you discover who you are, you find friends with common passions and interests as you. This leads to more engaging and equal friendships. You learn how to be a good friend and, in turn, you have the opportunity to develop fantastic friendships.
Making it Through Early Addiction Recovery
One of the best ways to manage early addiction recovery is with the help of addiction treatment. Addiction treatment facilities surround you with a group of peers who share a common goal. Together you all learn how to manage life clean and sober one day at a time.
There are a few different levels of care in addiction recovery to choose from. If you need help deciding which level of care is best for you, call Hawaii Island Recovery at 877-721-3556. One of our admissions counselors can answer any questions you might have about getting clean.
No matter how scary it might seem, take the first step towards your brand new life today.