Substance Abuse
Sober Lifestyle

What To Expect During Early Recovery from Addiction, Part 1

If you have reached the point where your alcohol or drug use and has started to cause problems in your life and you are considering seeking help, that is excellent news.  Recovery is absolutely the best thing you can do for yourself, your health, your loved ones, and your future.

But if you are like most people in your situation, you may be worried about what happens next.  In fact, you may have drunk and used for so long that the idea of giving up is terrifying.  Sure, you know that you will experience withdrawal symptoms during detox, but then what?

To ease some of your anxiety, here are some of the things you can realistically expect to experience early in recovery.  Knowing what to expect will let you know that what you are feeling is perfectly normal.  And when you understand that other people have felt the exact same way and have successfully regained their sobriety, you will find the strength and inspiration you need to keep moving forward.

You’ll Have Trouble Sleeping

Insomnia is one of the most-common complaints heard from people new in recovery.

Alcohol and drug use completely disrupts your body’s natural sleep rhythm.  Often, you are either passing out or staying awake much longer than you should, until you are forced to crash.

During recovery, you may initially have trouble sitting still or falling asleep.  But don’t worry, because eventually, a regular sleeping pattern will naturally restore itself, especially if you practice good sleep hygiene.

There is one important caveat – avoid sleeping pills, which can be highly habit-forming in their own right.

What are some possible solutions?

  • Create a comfortable sleep environment.
  • Establish a routine.
  • Put your electronic devices away.
  • Reduce your caffeine and nicotine intake.
  • Practice yoga.

You’ll Feel Sad or Down for No Apparent Reason

Chronic substance abuse drastically affects your brain’s reward system.  In fact, your brain becomes so accustomed to the presence of drugs and alcohol that even temporarily become almost completely unable to experience pleasure, feel happy, or stay motivated when you get clean and sober and these substances are no longer in your system.

But just as it is with insomnia, your brain chemistry will slowly return to normal, with time and continued sobriety.

There is one caveat -if severe depression lasts longer than two weeks or if you are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, see your doctor or a mental health professional.

What are some possible solutions?

  • Exercise, because physical activity naturally releases the body’s “feel-good” hormones.
  • Spend more time with loved ones.
  • Hug it out—a hug of at least 20 seconds triggers a release of oxycontin, aka the “love drug”.
  • Stay busy with hobbies and new interests. This will help create new positive connections in the brain.

You’ll Feel Disconnected from Others

Active addiction isolated you from friends and family.  It changed the nature of your relationships with other people.  It may even be true that you spent most of your time in the company of other drinkers and drug users.

When you first regain your sobriety, you may have trouble relating to other people.  You may have trouble understanding them or trusting their motivations.  Most often, because your personal experience is so different from that most people, you will feel disconnected from others.

What are some possible solutions?

  • Attend 12-Step support meetings, which are filled with people just like you.
  • Make an extra effort to be sociable that with friends and family members, so relationships can be restored naturally.
  • Don’t let yourself get “too lonely”.
  • Take the class of a subject that interests you, or join a group involved with your hobbies. It will be easier to relate to people who share your interests.

This blog will conclude in Part 2.

Starting your own sober journey can be scary.  But remember this dash any difficulties you experience are temporary while your mind and body heal.  With the proper help, guidance, and support, there is no reason why you can’t safely and successfully regain your sobriety and get your life back.

If you are wanting to get help for alcoholism, drug addiction, prescription medication abuse but are anxious about going to rehab, let Chapman House ease your ears.

As one of the most-trusted rehab programs in Southern California, Chapman House has been offering premier drug and alcohol treatment services in Orange County since 1978. To get the help and support you need, contact Chapman House TODAY


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