While drug and alcohol inpatient treatment centers provide positive influences, strategies, and educational opportunities, one must keep up one’s sober efforts once one leaves a treatment center. Taking a step to cease one’s use of addictive substances is cause for celebration, especially as one embarks on their continually evolving sober life. However, preparing for the hurdles and changes present throughout one’s first year sober is still essential. Understanding the trials ahead can help each individual overcome these stresses while continuing to celebrate sobriety.
Recovery Doesn’t “End”
Graduating from detox, a residential program, or moving from a sober living facility to living on one’s can be a time marked by feelings of success and pride. However, just because you have moved on from these programs does not mean your sobriety journey is finished. Recovery is an ongoing, evolving process, and one will continue to face stresses, urges, and cravings long after one first begins to abstain from drugs or alcohol.
Preparing for continued sobriety a bit at a time can make each part of the recovery journey much more manageable. Furthermore, understanding the potential trials of the first, crucial year can help you prepare accordingly and set you up for the best possible chance for continued success.
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There Will Be Highs and Lows
Recovery is rarely a straight path, and it is common to experience highs and lows when it comes to one’s continued sober efforts. Anxiety, depression, doubt, fatigue, and more are all common parts of the recovery process, and experiencing these intense feelings doesn’t mean one is somehow beyond sobriety. However, expecting both highs and lows can empower those preparing for their first sober year to handle both ends of the emotional spectrum.
The Highs of Recovery
The peaks of addiction recovery can engender a great sense of accomplishment, with individuals feeling as if they can conquer their stresses. However, there is a fine line between taking pride in one’s achievements and becoming overly confident in one’s ability to manage their sobriety. Overconfidence can lead an individual to stop developing coping strategies, or an individual may expose themselves to unnecessary high-risk situations without the support or skills necessary to navigate such a difficult situation.
The Lows of Recovery
Likewise, even the lows of one’s recovery journey are finite, and trying times will pass. Knowing how to handle the winding path of each individual’s unique recovery journey can ensure that one is maintaining expectations while taking the next step toward a sober future.
Preparing for the Seasons
Changing seasons also brings unique challenges, and just because an individual is navigating their current season in a positive, successful way doesn’t mean there won’t be future hurdles to address. For some, the summer months are filled with new activities, outdoor excursions, and much more, but also the risks of stress from things like cookouts or beach trips that may hold connotations to one’s previous use.
However, with the changing seasons comes changing amounts of daylight, schedules, opportunities, and even seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Preparing relapse-prevention strategies which can be implemented year-round is essential to ensure that one always has an effective outlet to continue developing their coping skills.
Celebrate Milestones and Setting New Goals
An entire year sober can seem intimidating for those in the early stages of their recovery. It is essential to celebrate the regular accomplishments of one’s goals. Maintaining a whole week sober, starting a new hobby, arriving at an appointment on time, and adopting newfound responsibilities at home are all worthy of celebration. Celebrating these milestones allows each individual to maintain motivation while constantly setting new goals that are appropriate for your place in recovery.
Goals will continue to adapt with each person’s steps in their sobriety journey. Continuing to set new goals can be a powerful motivator for one’s continued success, and it is vital to update these goals to reflect one’s progress during each step of this first year.
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Predicting how the year’s stresses may impact an individual can be challenging. Holidays and family gatherings can be challenging to navigate with one’s newfound sober identity. Meeting people with varying awareness of the recovery world or guiding job interviews and new social groups all come with a degree of uncertainty, and regular practices to strengthen one’s resilience are essential. Along with self-care strategies and spiritual traditions, continuing to build on one’s strength and coping strategies can ensure that one is prepared to cope with however these stresses manifest.
The recovery community is large and offers many different ways to connect to like-minded peers and professionals. Involving oneself in an outpatient program, meeting with peers for sober events and gatherings, and connecting with others in recovery via digital mediums can reinforce oneself as an active, accepted member of these important communities.
Sobriety is an ongoing battle, and planning for the various changes throughout the first year is paramount. While it can be challenging to prepare for all situations, Hawaii Island Recovery is committed to helping you maintain your sober efforts throughout the year and navigate all seasons for a truly transformed lifestyle. Your time with our big island substance abuse center is personalized to fit your unique needs and goals to ensure that you have the skills and resources necessary to continue navigating your hard-earned sobriety throughout the year. From assisting you through detox, residential, and ongoing outpatient programming and support, we are here to help you prepare for each step of your recovery journey. For more information on how we can help you prepare for your first year of sobriety outside of a center for alcohol and drug treatment, call (866) 390-5070.