A Guide to the Early Days of Sobriety

Making the decision to stop drinking or using drugs is something to be incredibly proud of. Sobriety can enrich your personal relationships, provide numerous health benefits, and lead to meaningful self-discovery. Like any major transition, quitting drugs and alcohol takes time and determination.  Knowing what to expect can empower you in your first days of sobriety.

Before You Begin Sobriety

Speak with a Professional

Prior to beginning your sobriety journey, it’s important to speak with a medical professional to ensure you have a plan to stop drinking safely. While anyone can achieve sobriety, quitting alcohol cold turkey can lead to alcohol withdrawal symptoms that can be dangerous or potentially life-threatening. 

Your physician can go over your medical history, drinking habits, and risk factors in order to determine if a supervised alcohol detox is right for you, if it’s safe to immediately proceed with your sobriety on your own, or is a medically assisted detox is more advisable. 

Prepare Your Environment 

Another helpful step to take before you stop drinking is to prepare your environment and support system. Clearing out all alcohol, drinking accessories, and any other potentially triggering items from your space is one of our top tips for early sobriety. Sharing your plan with loved ones, exploring online alcohol treatment, and registering for support groups are also great ways to give your future self as much support as possible. 

Keep in Mind Emotions May be Heightened During Early Sobriety

It might not be surprising that your emotions will be all over the place when you first get sober. Alcohol and drugs numb our emotions and it’s possible you haven’t actually felt them in years. That’s why it can seem overwhelming when we no longer use substances to numb our pain and emotions.

It will take some time for your emotions to balance out and with that, you’ll be feeling a lot of different things. Expect to cry, get mad, mourn your relationship with drugs and alcohol, and at the same time feel relieved and happy.

Practice Self Care

Taking care of one’s self is often viewed as a selfish act, but there’s a huge difference between being selfish and practicing self-care. Learning to love and care for yourself is one of the most challenging things you will ever do, but having compassion, patience, and love for yourself is a cornerstone of getting and staying sober.

Regardless of where you are on your journey to living a sober life, self-care should be an essential part of your routine.

Your tendency might be to criticize yourself for mistakes you made when you were using and boozing. But beating yourself up on Day One won’t help anything. Instead, if possible, do something nice for yourself: Take a hot bath, go for a massage, take a long walk or stock up on some foods you really enjoy.

Take Time to Be By Yourself During Early Sobriety

It can be extremely comforting to surround yourself with people 100% of the time, but that’s also not a realistic way to live your life. So, while connecting with other people is important, it’s equally as important to take time to just be with yourself. You are a completely different person when you’re using versus when you’re sober, and while at first it can be challenging to be alone, time alone will eventually become time that you value.

Consider Reevaluating Boundaries

Before getting sober, you probably had a group of people you spent a lot of time with that either encouraged your drug and alcohol use, or used with you. When you make the decision to get sober, it can affect the relationships you have with those people. As difficult as it is, cutting off communication with these people is going to help you resist the temptation to go back to using your drug of choice.

Prioritize Hydration 

During early sobriety, stay hydrated.   For many of us, hydration was not a priority when we were using drugs and alcohol.  Hydration is very important to keep the body functioning well.  Water helps our body transport nutrients within our systems and is also critical for our system to process wastes and toxins.  Water keeps your body and brain lubricated and functioning. These tips can help.

Create a New Routine

People in recovery often say their lives felt chaotic and out of control when they were active in their addiction. But adjusting to all the changes that come with early sobriety can feel just as confusing and overwhelming. Following a consistent schedule can help you combat these feelings of chaos by providing structure and predictability. Try setting up a daily routine that includes regular meal times, consistent sleep schedules, and times carved out for activities such as exercise, support group meetings, work, errands, and chores.

What to Expect on Your First Day of Sobriety 

The very first day of a sobriety journey might be full of excitement, nervousness, and many other emotions. Your mind might start racing far out into the future. Remember that all you need to focus on is the day itself. Taking it day-by-day, hour-by-hour, or even minute-by-minute can make you feel more in control. 

It can also be helpful to predict what time of day may be most challenging for you and come up with a detailed plan for that time. Many people, they’re most likely to experience alcohol cravings in the early evening. To distract yourself from potential cravings you can try an hour or two-long activity such as taking a yoga class, attending an alcohol support group, or seeing a movie in theaters. 

Reach Out for Help During Early Sobriety

Your first days sober can feel lonely, but you don’t have to go through it alone, whether or not you choose to attend a support group. Some of us tend to isolate ourselves when we’re drinking or using. Friends and acquaintances might be wondering why they haven’t seen you. So even if the idea of social interaction on your first day is terrifying, it probably won’t be nearly as bad as you think and might give you some vital encouragement. Pick up the phone—or if that’s too daunting, fire off a few emails and texts to reconnect with the people you care about and who care about you. You’re probably not as alone as you think.

The first step toward achieving sobriety in recovery is to reach out to one of the rehabs in WV that can get you on the track to recovery. Our admissions team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Give us a call today!

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