Early recovery can be challenging to say the least. You may be depleted, exhausted or experiencing symptoms of withdrawal. You may not be able to sleep well. Emotionally, you may be a complete wreck.If you have just arrived in treatment, you are trying to adapt to the world that is drastically different than what you are accustomed to, and the change, no matter how welcome, may feel like it’s just too much.
You may be having trouble adjusting to your new schedule, rules, structure and living life clean and sober. So how do you get through it? You will probably hear things like “One day at a time” if you ask. And while that phrase may not make you feel better, it is true. Here are some other tips to help you through early recovery.
Sometimes you arrive in recovery with dire situations in your life. Sometimes you are an emotional wreck. Sometimes you will have terribly strong cravings and you may feel like the urge to use won’t pass. It will. Realizing that nothing is permanent can give you the hope that things will change. If you are struggling with a situation that you don’t like, just understand that at some point the situation won’t be anything but a memory.
This is important. Your physical health has a dramatic impact on how you feel mentally and emotionally. If you are exhausted or hungry, you aren’t going to be able to concentrate, think straight or manage your emotions. Make sure you are getting plenty to eat. Good, nutritious food helps heal your body and your brain and keeps you energetic and focused. Get plenty of rest. You may have trouble sleeping early in recovery, or you may feel that you can’t get enough. Get exercise. Exercise not only helps your body feel better, it releases endorphins that elevate your mood. It increases oxygen to your brain, stimulating healing. It alleviates stress and helps you sleep more soundly at night.
On the surface, this sounds selfish, but it isn’t. When you get into recovery, many of your relationships may be in a state of chaos. This can be the case with parents and siblings, spouses, children, and friends. You may be eager to repair those relationships and may get frustrated if you are in treatment and unable to see loved ones or “fix” your romantic relationship.
Early recovery is all about you. It is about healing yourself and getting clean and sober. Trying to focus on your relationships takes away from the work you need to do on yourself. You may feel fear around losing relationships or not being able to connect with loved ones, but it is important that you give yourself a chance to take care of you.
You may experience powerful emotions in early recovery. Sadness, grief, regret, anger and more. Those feelings should not stay trapped inside you. Writing about your feelings in a journal can be enormously helpful at any stage in your recovery. Get into this habit early on. Writing painful or confusing things down has a way of taking the power out of them and giving you clarity.
You can only do one thing at a time. You may still feel a sense of urgency to solve all your problems at once and you may be overwhelmed by all the new things you are learning in early recovery. Relax, breathe and keep it simple. Focus on what you are doing in the moment. Do the simple things and only worry about what you have control over right now. Usually, that is only yourself.
This could be a sponsor, a peer in your program or someone who has more time clean and sober than you. It can feel uncomfortable to reach out and talk to someone about the things you are going through or feelings you may be having, but it is so important. Begin to develop a support group of people you can trust.
In recovery, you will experience new ways of doing things and concepts that you have not encountered before. Counselors, sponsors, and other recovering addicts may suggest things to you that can seem uncomfortable or even downright ridiculous!
Try your best to keep an open mind and take some of the suggestions that are offered.
Nobody is perfect. Early recovery is not the time to criticize yourself or beat yourself up. Avoid comparing yourself to others and give yourself a break. You will make mistakes. You will not always say or do the right thing. There is no one right way to do things. Recovery is not a test, there is no pass or fail. It is a process, which will evolve and change over time, just like you.
Call it what you want: Meditation, breathing or relaxation exercises, a time out. Either way, learning how to stop the action and just breath for a few minutes can literally change your life. It can help stop negative thoughts, get you through an urge to use and keep you from saying or doing things you will regret.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Stop what you are doing, if you can remove yourself from a situation, do so. Bathrooms are great for this. Simply excuse yourself and go breath. In and out, count to ten. Do it as many times as you need to.
Playgrounds, playmates, and playthings. Staying away from them is key to relapse prevention. No matter how much you want to stay clean and sober, no matter how good you feel or how confident you are, going around people who are using will get you in trouble. There is no reason to put yourself through that. You are playing with fire. Hopefully, you are able to use some of these tips to making it through early recovery. If you are struggling in your addiction and need some help to build that solid foundation of recovery, treatment can help.
Sound Recovery Solutions offers treatment for individuals based on their needs. You will receive a personalized treatment plan and a variety of services designed to help you be successful in your recovery. If you are ready to make a change in your life, call Sound Recovery Solutions at 561-666-7427.