The first thirty days of recovery are a roller coaster. While everyone’s experiences will be different, there are some similarities. You may find yourself having an easier or more difficult time than some of your peers, but if you are struggling, the most important thing to realize is that you are not alone! People have been getting clean and sober for many years before you and have made it through this early phase.
The following are tips that can help you get through your first weeks of recovery. As with everything else, take what you need and leave the rest.
1. Learn From Those That Have Come Before You
One of the best things about recovery is the community it provides. Within that community, you will find an abundant source of support, fellowship, and wisdom.
One way to get through your first month is to tap into that wisdom.
Staying connected with people who are clean and sober is one of the most important things you can do to for your recovery. Ask for suggestions and help when you are uncertain or are feeling overwhelmed. Your peers are your best source of support and encouragement.
When a specific issue or question comes up, talk to your sponsor, share about it with people at meetings and ask them how they got through it. Sometimes, just knowing that you aren’t alone in your fears, challenges and setbacks are a huge help.
Early recovery can also be confusing. Sometimes, the terminology alone is enough to make you shake your head and wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into. The steps seem equally mysterious. This is another instance where tapping into your recovery community can help. Ask questions!
2. Learn And Practice The Art Of Self Care
Just what does that mean? A lot of it is simple stuff that many of us aren’t accustomed to when first getting into recovery.
Get plenty of good food and drink lots of water. Try your best to get eight hours of sleep every night. If you are having trouble sleeping, take these suggestions:
- Keep lights low for at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
- Limit screen time in the evening, turning off phones, tablets, computers and television, at least, an hour before you want to go to sleep. Instead, read a book, listen to soft music or journal before bed.
- Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m. (yes, that’s a tough one!)
- Take a warm bath about 45 minutes before bed.
- If you are not tired at night, try getting up earlier, avoiding naps and getting in more physical activity during the day.
Getting enough food and rest is basic, but makes a huge difference. What are some other ways to take care of yourself? Avoid negative people who don’t support you. Make a doctor or dentist appointment. Have coffee with a friend. Take a warm bath. Listen to music you love. Don’t talk badly about yourself. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
3. Don’t Put Yourself In Sticky Situations
You’re sober now, one day at a time. This is an amazing accomplishment, and you should be proud of yourself.
It is vital that you avoid situations, people and places that you associate with using. It’s a common pitfall. You are missing your old friends or hangouts. You might think to yourself that you can still spend time with people who are using, or go to the places you used to go.
At best, you’ll cause yourself unnecessary stress, at worst, you’ll relapse.
It gets more complicated when a family is involved. It’s an unfortunate fact that people in recovery sometimes have to step back and away from loved ones to protect their recovery. If you find this is tough for you, look to your sponsor for solutions. There are ways to navigate the situation, but for right now, it’s best not to take chances.
Avoid triggers as best you can, and develop strategies for times when they occur. Relapse prevention training can help by giving you tools you can use when situations arise.
4. Get Some Exercise
This is a go-to strategy for feeling better in early recovery. Spend time each day being active. Run, walk, bicycle, stretch, hike swim or lift. Whatever works for you.
Exercise not only helps your body feel stronger, it also boosts energy levels and helps heal your brain. It releases chemicals that help elevate your mood and stave off depression.
5. Be Willing To Take Suggestions
In the process of turning to others for help, you will no doubt hear many suggestions. Do yourself a favor and take some of them!
Suggestions may come from your sponsor, your counselor or someone with more time than you. Not every suggestion will be right for you, but many of the tried and true tips you’ll get have worked for countless numbers of people, and they can work for you too if you let them.
Get in the habit of staying open-minded. Don’t reject things outright because they seem silly or uncomfortable. Try something new!
6. When All Else Fails, Help Someone Else
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to make yourself feel good or grateful. Perhaps you are feeling negative or are having a bad day or are going through something tough. During these times, it’s best to go help someone else. Taking the Focus off yourself for a little while can do wonders, and helping others makes you feel good!
You can do this by being of service in meetings, volunteering or just helping out a friend in need.
7. Avoid Relationships
Most early recovery relationships are full of co-dependency, drama and dysfunction, and it’s no wonder. People in early recovery are still…recovering.
Communication skills aren’t at their best, wounds are fresh and real intimacy has yet to be discovered. People who are fresh out of treatment or jail sometimes rush into serious relationships and when things fall apart, and they often do, they have no skills to cope with their feelings so they go back out and use. Don’t let this be you.
8. Don’t Pick Up, No Matter What
You don’t ever have to drink or use again, even if you want to. This is powerful knowledge. You can stay sober one day at a time, one hour at a time and even one minute at a time.
Each day you don’t pick up is a successful day, no matter what else happens. Each day you don’t pick up raises your confidence and each time you get through a rough day or a difficult problem without using increases your self-trust and self-esteem. Soon, you won’t be so new. Soon you’ll be passing the year mark. Looking back, you will marvel at how far you have come.
Getting Help At Broadway Treatment Center
If you are struggling with your recovery, if you want to find recovery, or if you have recently relapsed, there is help! Broadway Treatment Center offers a variety of programs to help you get sober and stay sober. They offer inpatient and outpatient services and cutting edge treatments. If you want to change your life, Broadway Treatment Center can help you. Call 714-443-8218 today to learn more!