Quitting an addiction can be one of the hardest things to do even if sobriety seems like the only choice. When someone is committed to being sober they will still have to face plenty of challenges and the ups and downs that go along with abstinence. Over time things will become easier but the first year of recovery is the real test of how someone will handle their sobriety.
Getting through the very first year can be stressful and frightening especially after leaving an inpatient treatment program. There are certain strategies and tools that recovering addicts can use to get through the early stages of being sober and avoid any chance of relapse. Here are some tips for getting successfully through the first year of recovery.
Work Actively with a Sponsor
Whether you are still in treatment or are living on your own after discharge, your sponsor is still there for you to help you through the most difficult moments of recovery. It is important not only to have a sponsor but to be active in your relationship with them. Working together with someone who has been through everything you are experiencing can provide you with an example of how to complete the first year. You should never just check in with a sponsor out of obligation but instead try to get the most out of their guidance and insight by engaging with them throughout the whole process.
Use an After Care Program
The transition after leaving a treatment center can be a period of time where many people falter in their sobriety. If you feel at all vulnerable or worried about what will happen after inpatient treatment then staying connected through an after-care program can be a great plan for staying on track. Regularly attending a program, meeting with a therapist or counselor and going to meetings can all help you maintain your new lifestyle after you complete treatment. Maintaining that type of structure at least for a few months can be helpful as you adjust to your normal routine at home.
Create a Sober Routine
In the first year of recovery you will find yourself with more free time as you have to adjust to a life without substance abuse. While you were addicted much of your routine might have revolved around using drugs or alcohol. As a sober person you need to develop a new routine that keeps you busy, fulfilled and supports your new lifestyle. For many people incorporating meditation into their routine helps keep them stable, focused and less inclined to feel cravings. Throughout recovery you will find more activities and hobbies to include in your routine that help you stay sober.
Stay Social with Sober People
A dangerous tendency with addicts is to become isolated and withdrawn from others. Finding a group of sober people to spend time with can be crucial to staying strong in recovery. Activities in a sober group can help to show you that life can still be fun without drugs or alcohol. These can become friends to rely on in times of trouble and to call when you need someone to talk to. Being social with other sober people helps you stay involved in the recovery community.
Create a Relapse Plan
Although you want to do your best to avoid relapse in the first year of recovery, many people unfortunately do backslide because of certain situations or circumstances. Instead of seeing relapse as a failure it is important to have a backup plan that will get you back on track as soon as possible. You can plan to go back to treatment or go to meetings every day until you feel stable again. Your relapse plan can prevent a minor slip up from becoming a serious issue.