There’s no easy way to recover from addiction. It’s a long process that’s littered with difficulties along the way and the truth is that the beginning is often the most difficult part.
If you’re considering getting sober, or you’re recently living a sober life, there are a lot of changes that are about to happen to your life and your body. But they are, without a doubt, manageable.
If you’re not sure what to expect in the first thirty days of sobriety, read on. We’ll talk about the different things you can expect and how to handle them here.
Sober Life in the First Thirty Days
For the most part, it’s ideal that you spend your first thirty days sober in a facility that specializes in treating your specific addiction. However, inpatient treatment centers aren’t for everyone, and they aren’t accessible all the time.
There are other options, though. Outpatient centers are a great option for you to get the emotional and physical support that you need.
You might even qualify for some programs through your doctor’s office.
Depending on your addiction, there are a number of different physical and mental changes you can expect to happen when you get sober. You might need help weaning off of the substance you’re addicted to, or you might need medical services to keep yourself from experiencing withdrawal symptoms that could be fatal.
It’s no secret that addiction is hard on our bodies. Even if you feel fine while you’re in the active stages of addiction, as soon as you start to come down, you’re going to notice those changes.
Prolonged exposure to different addictive substances can cause a wide range of health problems. Alcoholism can lead to inflammation of the bowels and issues with the gastrointestinal tract, for example. But it goes beyond physical as well.
You should expect some of the underlying causes of your addiction, like anxiety and depression, to resurface in the first thirty days of your recovery process.
Most addictions will affect the way your brain functions, but this is especially true for those who abuse opioids. Opioid abuse completely overhauls how the neurotransmitters in your brain work.
In the first thirty days of your sober life, your body will have to figure out how to operate without these substances. You shouldn’t expect this to be an easy transition.
For most addicts in recovery, the first thirty days of sober living comes with serious mood swings. This can include panic attacks and depression that can become severe.
Expect self-doubt, self-loathing, and a lot of anger.
This sounds terrible, there’s no doubt about that. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Your brain chemistry will even out and you will return back to your normal self before the end of your first thirty days.
Experiencing Sensory Overload
When you use an illicit substance for a long period of time, you start to feel less and less aware of the outside world. Your sensations start to dull. You’ll start noticing things about the world that you had forgotten about or hadn’t noticed before.
This can lead to something called sensory overload, where you start to feel overwhelmed by the things your senses experience.
It’s not physical, either. You will feel things that you don’t expect on an emotional level, and this can be a difficult thing to experience all at once.
The Urge to Use
Without a doubt, you are going to experience cravings in your first thirty days of sober life. You might spend most of your time thinking about using.
You might even seem to think about your substance of choice more often now than you did when you were in the active stages of addiction.
There’s no way to get over this. The urge to use is something you will have to ride out.
Changes in Personality
Addiction doesn’t take a toll on your physical self, it takes a toll on your mental self. It’s safe to assume that you won’t be the same person you were before addiction.
Long-term exposure to drugs and alcohol lead to chemical changes in the brain. You flood your brain with a constant stimulation of the reward system. So when you come back from that, you’ll notice that you get less pleasure from doing normal things.
You might notice that you’re more impulsive now than you were before, you might have a hard time committing to things, and you might experience more selfishness than before.
You’ll have to work at getting over these things, but by the end of your first thirty days of recovery, you should start to stabilize.
It’s common to suffer from insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, cold sweats, and vivid dreams while you are in the beginning stages of recovery.
You should expect to have plenty of dreams about relapse or using, and afterward, you will wake up in a sweat with a serious craving.
This is because withdrawal often comes across as trauma to the body, the same as addiction does. These problems will go away with time, but it could take a while.
Relapse and Recovery
Something that many people won’t tell you is that relapse is a part of addiction recovery. Most addicts relapse at least once in their process of recovering.
The most important thing to remember in the event of a relapse is that you’re not a failure. It doesn’t have to mean the end of your recovery.
If you relapse, let someone know. Come clean and take steps to get back on the right track. It’s only failure if you stop trying to live a sober life.
Living a Sober Life
There are a number of things you can do during the first thirty days of recovery. It’s important that you surround yourself with a good support system and keep yourself busy. Use this opportunity to add exercise and healthy eating to your new sober life.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you’re taking steps towards keeping yourself clean and sober.
If you or a loved one are dealing with an addiction, know that you’re not alone. If you’d like more information about addiction treatment services, visit us today.