What to Expect in the Early Stages of Sobriety

Addiction will have devastating effects on all aspects of a person’s life. While struggling with an active addiction, a person’s brain is physically and psychologically dependent on drugs and alcohol to function. Before long, everything in the individual’s life begins to revolve around substance abuse.

In the early stages of sobriety, it may take some time to adjust to a sober lifestyle. In the beginning, it may be more difficult for some than others. This depends on both an addict’s will to clean up, and, how advanced their substance abuse has become. 

As you work on your sobriety, you will begin to get back to health. A big part of this is to heal relationships that were broken by addiction. This includes the relationship you have with yourself, and breaking the bond developed with substances.

The further along you are able to stick with the program, the easier it will become to set recovery goals. Once you’ve successfully moved through the stages of sobriety, healthy behaviors will become habits, and lead to a productive lifestyle. 

Sobriety After Addiction

The brain needs to be re-trained to function normally without drugs or alcohol. It will feel as though you are learning how to do things all over again, and essentially, you are. Many different areas of life will need to modification once substance use ends. To do this, it will be important to develop new routines and practice implementing coping skills. 

Especially in the beginning, triggers will seem to be everywhere, because they likely are. Thoughts of using and abusing substances will have infiltrated everything you do, or plan to do. This is why rehab centers are designed.

Treatment programs keep the risk of exposures in mind, along with superior therapy methods to teach management. Utilizing all of the services available and putting forth a genuine effort in each stage of sobriety can help decrease relapse threats. 

Preparing for the First Stage of Sobriety

The first stage of sobriety begins after detox. During the detoxification process, your body will have the opportunity to flush toxins from within. Depending on the addiction, this can be a dangerous or even deadly process. This is especially the case if you are attempting to do so without professional medical assistance. Rehab treatment centers are prepared and ready to administer care to provide comfort or take lifesaving measures. 

By allowing the body to rapidly adjust, therapy can, and should, begin immediately. Even though detox is a necessary step, it is often referred to as the worst part. The damage that the body has endured during active addiction works against speeding detox up. The organs and brain won’t only be working overtime to get rid of lingering toxins, but also adapting without drugs. Once the worst part is over, the real work can begin. This is when the type of treatment you take part in matters. 

Acknowledging Addiction

Most of the time, an addict will acknowledge their addiction before seeking out treatment. However, for others, this may occur after experiencing detox. It may not even occur during the treatment process.

For those who struggle to accept the truth about their substance use disorder right off the bat, it will come. Admitting to yourself that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol is not always easy. Sometimes people need more time to notice any changes in their journey to recovery.

Many come to this realization while participating in group therapy. Sometimes, it takes listening to others share their stories in order to discover more about your own feelings and experiences. Even if people’s experiences aren’t the same, group style treatment provides a sense of community. Addiction is isolating, but you do not have to feel alienated because you are not alone. 

This community-style therapy can be relied on for support, as well as self-acceptance. While in treatment, there are opportunities to learn from others’ experiences in group therapy and meetings. Though addiction is different for everyone, all addicts have one thing in common. That one common characteristic is the inability to stop or resist giving in to the urges and triggers of addiction. Fortunately, rehab offers hope. 

Recognizing The Consequences

Undoubtedly, an addiction will wreak havoc on many areas of life. During active addiction, priorities become skewed and the consequences may seem less important at the time. However, the repercussions will eventually catch up. For many, this is the driving force to participate in rehab programs. For others, this may not occur until after detox or during the early stages of sobriety. 

Residential programs are often the best option for many individuals who suffer from addiction. Providing enough time away to see how their life has been affected, reality sets in. For some, this can be traumatic. Inpatient treatment is a safe community residence that will allow for time to process this safely. 

Depending on how much destruction substance abuse has generated, this may lead to some emotional distress. Upon getting to a state of sobriety, these realizations can lead to having feelings that are difficult to properly manage.

If this initially happens without the support of rehab, avoiding relapse may be a challenge, resulting in resuming substance abuse. During residential treatment, recovering addicts are far from alone during these unsettling times, and participation in therapy will help tremendously. 

Preparing Plans for a Sober Lifestyle

After the stage of sobriety where recovering addicts realize the consequences of active addiction, it’s time to plan for change. To do this, it is important to realize where the changes have to be made. Individual therapy is especially beneficial while getting to know who you are sober, and what you are capable of. During sessions, individuals will have the opportunity to discuss goals for the future with a therapeutic medical professional. 

This opportunity for personalized individual therapy includes reflecting on yourself and receiving guidance and direction from therapists and counselors. Everyone’s situation is different. So, treatment approaches may vary from person to person It depends on the duration of substance abuse, the potency of the drugs or alcohol, genetic disposition, and mental health. Understanding and diagnosing any psychological illnesses that a person may be suffering from is crucial to successfully maintaining sobriety. 

Diagnosis and Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders

One of the most important factors in rehab and recovery is diagnosing and treating co-occurring disorders. Experiencing the effects of a psychological illness that accompanies the disease of addiction is common. In order to do this, evaluations should be performed to determine whether a co-occurring disorder exists. Then, therapeutic treatment can determine the impact it can have on sobriety, and the best ways to manage. 

One contributing factor that can lead to developing a co-occurring disorder is addiction itself. The brain and body have gone through many changes during active addiction. As readjustments are made, neurological changes can occur.

On the other hand, psychological illnesses may have developed prior to a transpiring addiction. Many addicts describe having this emotional unwellness, and how it had contributed to self-medicating with addictive substances. 

In the case of co-occurring disorders, suffering from a substance use disorder and mental illness simultaneously can hinder recovery efforts. However, when properly diagnosed and treated, the likelihood of achievement, moving through the stages of sobriety, greatly increases. If you or someone you know suffers from a mental illness and is struggling with addiction, rehab therapy can help. 

Taking Action to Make Sober Changes and Mend Relationships

Addiction is often referred to as a family disease. This is because it affects the lives of those who abuse substances, as much as the lives of loved ones. Throughout recovery, your family and friends will need time to heal. Getting back on the same page will be important to implement into treatment, as you work to heal yourself. 

Rebuilding relationships with loved ones requires trust and respect. In truth, this will likely take more than just an apology or explanation. Taking part in family therapy is encouraged as you move through the stages of sobriety. During rehab treatment, you will have the opportunity to take advantage of a safe space, directed by a professional therapist. Discussing thoughts and feelings that have arisen and been suffered through during active addiction, promotes restoration as a family. 

Abiding by boundaries set by loved ones will help restore broken trust issues. Likewise, discussing your needs to maintain sobriety can be addressed. How you see yourself through the stages of sobriety allows you to sustain relationships that are more meaningful. Often, this is when recovering addicts are willing to set their own standards for what is expected of their rehabilitation. Then, action can be taken as each party better understands each other, and how to move forward together. 

Maintaining Sobriety During and After Treatment

The more an addict dedicates themselves to their program, the easier it will be for them to maintain their sobriety. Whether abusing alcohol or illegal substances, the effort put forth during the initial stages of sobriety will certainly matter. Different substances require different methods to detox and recover from; however, determination and the will to make a change is crucial. 

In order to ensure recovery will be successful, incorporating coping mechanisms and proactive responses to triggers must begin during treatment. This way, after completing the program, you will be better able to manage real-life urges much better, in real-time. Developing a solid relationship with counselors and supportive sober peers will provide you with the necessary support if sobriety is threatened. 

Once the hard work is put in during the first stages of sobriety, clarity reinforces the value. Getting sober and healthy requires that you actively remove addictive habits, and replace them with healthy beneficial ones. Many rehab facilities offer an array of hobbies and pastimes to experiment with. This will help to fill the downtime that used to be filled with substance abuse.

Enjoying the Stages of Sobriety

Though getting healthy and sober have an enormous amount of physical benefits. Likewise, emotional and mental health are essential objectives also. Recovery is an accumulation of total body health and wellness, each as important as the other. 

Now in recovery, and having experienced the benefits of moving through the stages of sobriety, more activities become enjoyable. If substance abuse and dependency have held you back before, rehab drug and alcohol treatment encourage the removal of these restrictions. 

Staying active and engaging in healthy activities can reinforce the recovery process throughout the stages of sobriety. Immerse yourself in sports, hobbies, reading, yoga, watching movies, or even hiking. The list is practically endless. Holistic treatment programs can provide instruction on how to incorporate health-conscious activities into your daily regimen. Exercise can be an enjoyable active outlet. Or, if that isn’t necessarily your thing, mindful meditation may suit you better. 

Clearing your mind of substances allows you to focus on yourself and explore healthy interests and activities. Exposure to nature can produce a calming and soothing effect on your mood and mental health.

Going out with sober friends and family can be fun. Believe it or not, laughter can help the healing process both physically and emotionally. New sober friendships can form through meetings or group therapy sessions that offer comradery and accountability.  

Relapse: Not a Sign of Failure

While addiction is a manageable disease, it is considered chronic. Rehab treatment and therapy will teach you the skills to be able to notice and address triggers during recovery. However, temptations and triggers can arise unexpectedly. When they do, it will be important to utilize your relapse prevention plan to avoid damage to your sobriety. 

Within every type of rehab program, you will have the opportunity to work with a specialist to develop your plan. Designed to combat known triggers in addition to those that have yet to be encountered. Resorting to this plan will have to be a daily practice in order to avoid relapse. 

Regardless of what stage of sobriety or recovery you are in, relapse is always going to be a threat. Additionally, it is important to remember not to consider relapse as failure. Addiction, being a chronic disease, has no known cure. If you or someone you know is dangerously close to relapse, get yourself, or them, in touch with a rehab. No matter what stage of sobriety a person is in, options for follow up care are available for additional support. 

Getting Treatment for Addiction to Achieve Sobriety

Recovery is a lifelong process and there will be challenges throughout your recovery. Stay positive, get support and encouragement from loved ones. Do not give up. There are healthy ways to cope without using drugs or alcohol. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help today. There are several different program options and each is designed taking into consideration responsibilities and obligations that must be met. 

Regardless of what you have going on in your life, getting professional help for addiction promotes long-lasting recovery. Addiction specialists, therapists, and counselors are trained and equipped with the knowledge to help you through your toughest times. Do not be afraid to ask for help. While there is no cure for addiction, it is treatable and there is hope in recovery. Take the first step toward a fulfilling, enjoyable life in recovery. Imagine beginning your first stage of recovery, today.