What to Expect in the Early Stages of Sobriety

What to Expect in the Early Stages of Sobriety

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Becoming sober is a brave and monumental step in the life of someone who has struggled with a substance use disorder. Switching to living life without any drugs or alcohol can feel intimidating at first. Knowing what to expect in the early stages of sobriety helps people feel more prepared to deal with issues that come up and feel more confident. 

Sobriety Begins With Detoxification

Detoxification is the first step in becoming sober. This type of program typically takes place in a residential or hospital setting. When the body begins shedding all the toxins accumulated during addiction to drugs and alcohol, having medical supervision provides monitoring and treating of any withdrawal symptoms. 

Detox can be physically and emotionally draining, but a person must persevere through this rough patch of days. Once their bodies are cleared of toxins, the real work of recovery can begin.

Access Professional Assistance After Detox

People who complete detox but then have no formal plan in place for treatment afterward often end up returning to their addictions quickly. Many options exist for treatment programs that help people in the early stages of sobriety. Some people move into residential programs, while others utilize outpatient or intensive outpatient options. 

These programs provide support designed to assist in any ongoing medical symptoms related to withdrawal. They also give patients the much-needed psychological support required to help deal with difficult emotions that come up in the early stages of sobriety. 

Therapy Programs Help People Stay Sober

Activities such as individual therapy and group therapy help people process their experiences as newly sober individuals. Individual therapy provides a person with a neutral party with whom they can discuss fears, concerns, and discomfort that may arise as they move through their newfound recovery. 

Group therapy and support groups provide a system of peers who are all in the same boat. Members of these groups can give and receive support, often brainstorming together for ways to combat things like the temptation to relapse. Participating in therapy programs increases a person’s chances of staying sober. 

Reevaluating Family and Romantic Relationships 

The early stages of sobriety bring about a reshaping of a person’s relationships and how they view them. Relationships with spouses and other romantic partners will be affected by a person entering recovery. The partner that is new to recovery may feel their sobriety fixes everything that went wrong, but pre-existing problems will still be there.

Relationships with family members, including parents, children, and siblings, often suffer damage when one person has a substance use disorder. If a romantic or family relationship was in trouble previously due to the addiction, it’s often advisable to seek counseling with a marriage and family therapist to help everyone become adjusted to a new phase of their relationships. 

When addressing how relationships change after sobriety, some goals to shoot for include relearning how people talk to each other. Loved ones can learn to truly listen to each other and speak their minds in quiet moments. This provides a drastic change from when communication often took place during heated moments and times of panic and anger. 

Adjust Your Schedule to Accommodate Your Sobriety

A lot of people return from addiction treatment believing they can immediately resume their old schedules. Recovery must come first, which means examining how to make changes in daily routines. Some people feel capable of returning to work, while others take time off. 

In some cases, if a job will not allow an extended break for treatment and recovery time, it’s worth considering leaving the job and finding employment after a person’s sobriety becomes stable.

People attending school may need to take a semester off. Talking to their school guidance counselor before entering treatment will provide them with their options for time off. 

Social lives that revolved around drinking or using drugs must be revamped. Toxic friendships should fall to the wayside. Finding new friends, which can include those in an addiction support group, can bolster a social life without causing the temptation to relapse.

That Was Then, This Is Now

People in the early stages of sobriety often have a very negative view of themselves. They feel regret for things they said and did in the past. Recovery from addiction involves learning to view themselves differently. While it is important to take responsibility for past transgressions, it is equally valuable to begin to live with less self-judgment. 

Learning to separate who a person used to be and how they used to act from who they are becoming helps reduce anxiety. It also allows a person a way to feel comfortable adapting to their new sober lives. They should look for signs that they are falling into old habits by believing the worst about themselves. A life in pursuit of sobriety is vastly different than their past life in service of their addiction.

Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Continuum Recovery Center in Phoenix provides professional treatment for addiction to drugs and alcohol. We offer outpatient, intensive outpatient, and day treatment designed to help people embrace recovery and succeed at it. Our holistic approach ensures the entire mind and body receive treatment.

Contact Continuum Recovery Center today and find out how we can help you or someone you love become sober.