Tips for Help and Encouragement in Early Sobriety
Early sobriety can be a difficult time for recovery. Excessive drinking has left many people feeling uncertain about the future and even suicidal. Here are some tips for early sobriety and finding help and encouragement during early sobriety.
“As a recovering alcoholic, know that the first few weeks of sobriety can be difficult. In order to have success during this time, it is important to find support from others who are also sober and understand what you’re going through.”
For starters, get involved in support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). These programs are invaluable for learning coping skills and making new sober friends who understand what you’re going through. Avoid isolating yourself from family or friends that don’t drink at all costs; these people offer unconditional love and support when you need it most. Consult with a physician for medication-assisted treatment to help your body cope with the withdrawal effects of alcohol addiction. Consult with a therapist for one-on-one time to talk through and heal difficulties you may be dealing with.
Recognize Your Triggers and Be Prepared
Leave unhealthy people, places, and things from the past -in the past. Yes, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with family members or close friends who continue to abuse substances. However, we are setting ourselves up for failure in early sobriety if we believe we can hang out with old friends in our favorite bar without drinking, or that we can watch a movie in the living room with our family while they drink a beer and not be tempted.
“It’s not easy to remain abstinent when everyone around you drinks alcohol with no consequences. The temptation is strong but by staying busy, surrounding yourself with people who don’t drink and reminding yourself of all the reasons you quit drinking in the first place, it will be easier than you think.” -Rae Sremmurd
Avoid Being Around Alcohol When You’re New to Sobriety
It’s a fact that being around drugs and alcohol in early sobriety can set you off. You may never be able to be around booze or your drug of choice without the notion of using “one final time” racing through your thoughts.
Also, you may have enjoyed collecting shot glasses or bottles of wine, and your favorite t-shirt may say “beer-thirty” or you may not want to take down your cool Bob Marley tapestry, but know that these are environmental cues that can cause cravings and are communicating with your subconscious mind every time you see them.
Other early sobriety triggers that may be more difficult to eliminate from your life include:
- Emotional anguish caused by stress
- Problems with relationships
- Problems with money or employment
While we understand that quitting your job or living a stress-free existence sounds wonderful, it’s unrealistic. If you can identify with some of the above triggers and believe they are your greatest threats, you should make a strategy to prepare for or avoid them as much as possible.
Be Aware of Your Warning Signs
Before you drink or use a drug, relapse begins in your emotions and thinking. Because we are all different, relapse warning indicators may vary from person to person. However, there are questions you can ask yourself to see if you’re feeling some of the usual relapse warning signals for persons in early recovery:
- Are you reverting to compulsive thought patterns?
- Are you prone to rash and self-destructive actions?
- Are you on the lookout for elderly people, places, or objects that contain alcohol or drugs?
- Are you failing to honor your promises or acting irresponsibly?
- Do you have a mental pattern that leads you to believe that drinking and/or drugs are the best ways to escape pain?
If you responded ‘yes’ to any or all of the above questions, we recommend that you contact your sponsor, therapist, or an accountability partner who knows you well and ask them to provide you with feedback on how you’re doing.
Sharing our worries, problems, and frustrations with others can sometimes be precisely what we need. Spending time with loved ones who are supportive and arranging healthy activities can help keep your emotions, mind, and body in control.
Finding Your Balance Through Sobriety
After a few months of sobriety, you’ve probably discovered that there’s a lot to be said for peaceful nights at home watching Netflix after a long day at work. You could have realized that doing yoga, meditation or returning to nature rejuvenates and centers you. Spending meaningful time with family, friends, and your pet restores a sense of calm and comfort you’d forgotten about. Maybe you’ve discovered a new hobby or revisited a passion for art you once loved.
While each person’s needs are unique, here are some tips for early sobriety by fully engaging daily and weekly in order to maintain balance, structure, and joy in your life:
1. Work: Investing your time and energy in meaningful work can help you feel accomplished and productive, as well as pay the bills.
2. Spirituality: Devoting time to connecting with a higher power and feeling something bigger than yourself can offer serenity and quiet to your days for religious and/or spiritual people. It might serve as a reminder that you are not alone in life and that you are appreciated simply for being you.
3. Recovery: Attending weekly recovery meetings or working the steps with your sponsor will assist you in continuing to develop and heal. This concentrates on the idea that being sober requires effort, and that you will never be completely recovered.
4. Family/Friends: Spending quality time with the people you believe to be your family and loved ones can be rewarding. Isolation is a negative habit that needs to be broken if you want to stay healthy.
5. ‘Me’ time: Taking time for oneself once a week will help you feel rejuvenated. This could include self-care, exercise, socializing with friends, or simply doing nothing. This keeps you from feeling overwhelmed and allows you to stick to your other commitments without anger.
We are here to help. If you’re struggling with addiction and want to make a change, we can offer hope and guidance as you start down the path of sobriety. With our medication assisted services in Massachusetts and throughout the country, we will work closely with you in your decision for sobriety. Our goal is always to provide an individualized treatment plan that’s tailored to meet both your needs and those of other people close to you. Right Choice Health Group wants everyone affected by addiction to know they have options. Contact us or call today if this sounds like it would benefit you or someone else in your life.