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First Time Undergoing Recovery? Here’s What to Expect

If substance addiction has finally forced you into making proactive choices for recovery, you might be wondering what to expect. While every case is different, recovery can be intimidating or even frightening if you’re going through it for the first time.  If you’ve been dependent upon drugs or alcohol for a long period of time, living without these substances can feel like an impossible prospect. 

Thankfully, there are tactics and strategies you can employ that will help you transition from substance abuse into sobriety.  Furthermore, first-time recovery doesn’t have to be painful and you don’t have to go it alone. There are many ways you can get the life-saving support you need during your first time undergoing recovery. 

Ensure You Have a Supportive Environment During Recovery

There are a variety of options for newcomers to sobriety.  What’s crucial in any approach to recovery is that you have sufficient support during critical moments of living without drugs or alcohol. For instance, emotional and therapeutic professionals are available to help you every step of the way in a 30-day rehab center.  Even outpatient programs can provide you with helpful counseling and behavioral modification services.

It’s important to nail down a support group outside of institutional recovery centers during recovery too.  For example, you may want to find a much-needed foundation by attending groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).  Or, you might even find yourself building friendships and enjoying a community while in outpatient care or in an inpatient recovery facility. 

First-Time Recovery and Rethinking Personal Relationships

Whatever options for recovery you choose, it is vital to establish a solid foundation in your personal relationships. Because this is your first time in recovery, you are particularly vulnerable.  Therefore, it’s imperative to get anchored in a strong personal community that can stabilize you and help you stay on track during your recovery. A solid group of people who want to see you succeed will help you through the erratic moods, doubts or fears you may encounter during your first time through recovery. 

In order to ensure a supportive environment, you may find your relationships will have to change in order to honor your sobriety.  To elaborate, you may have had unhealthy or codependent relationships while you were in the throes of addiction.  These relationship ties might need to be adjusted or severed altogether.   

Surround yourself with friends and family who buoy and support you through recovery.  In other words, people in your life who are (knowingly or unknowingly) trying to sabotage or thwart your recovery must be weeded out of your life to protect your sobriety. 

Addressing Social Awkwardness in Recovery

If you’re like many people who get embroiled in substance addiction, you may have started drinking alcohol or taking drugs as a way to make you feel more socially liberated.  After all, drugs and alcohol do tend to loosen inhibitions, allowing many people to feel free to converse and engage in social settings more easily. 

When you take that away, you may find yourself back to feeling socially awkward.  If you can relate, then it might be a good idea to limit your social gatherings – especially in the early stages of your recovery.  Avoid obvious triggers such as parties that might have substances or going to gatherings in drinking establishments.

Accept That You May Feel Edgy

Furthermore, withdrawal symptoms can make you feel jerky, edgy or irritated.  If you are in rehab, there may be medical treatments or solutions to help you through the jarring moments of easing out of substance dependency.  

If you’re not in a rehab facility, you may be tempted to use again in order to calm the nerves experienced through the lack of alcohol or drugs in your system.  In either case, it’s important to realize these symptoms are normal, and you have the power to make different choices.

Make Different Choices

What’s crucial to understand here is that first-time recovery means a lot of substituting old habits for healthier choices. For example, instead of reaching for an external substance to calm and ease your jagged nerves, try going inward with meditation. 

Studies show there are many health benefits of meditation and it has proven to be an extremely effective practice for finding peace, feeling at ease and reducing cravings for drugs and alcohol.

Whether you seek behavioral reform and coping strategies through a rehab facility or going it on your own - the old adage remains true, “Forewarned is forearmed.” Now that you know about some things to expect as a newcomer to sobriety, you are now better armed to make better choices on your path to recovery.