Re-entering society as a sober individual is not always an easy situation. In fact, your early recovery phase is the time for readjusting your life to one that does not involve alcohol or drugs. Being able to achieve and maintain sobriety requires you to change your lifestyle, coping skills, as well as other areas in your life. Understanding the common challenges that you may face during this period can provide you with a clearer insight into your recovery and help avoid relapse.
While you cannot avoid a few lows during your recovery phase, it is best that you know what to do in case you encounter them. Here are some of the problems that you will face in early recovery:
Developing your coping skills
When you’re sober, you must function without the use of drugs and alcohol but getting sober isn’t just about that. It is also about creating a new lifestyle that encourages your recovery. Managing stress, anxiety, and cravings are crucial during the early stage of your recovery which is why it is a must that you develop coping skills needed for this. While you were in rehab, you learned to develop your coping strategies as you establish a new sense of normalcy. Although this can both be time-consuming and challenging, it is also beneficial and worth the time and effort. Learning how to apply these coping strategies can be difficult at first but once you develop a routine and established the skills needed, it will be a lot easier.
There are a lot of people in recovery who struggled with their finances while they were addicted and it is not surprising to know that they have begged, borrowed, or even stolen to support their habits. If you are one of those people, then you might be surprised to see the depth of your debts now that your head is clear from addictive substances. Coping with your finances can be overwhelming especially if you are paying debts owed to other people.
However, it is important that you know how to manage your money and learn how to budget it. Learning to manage money for your meals, living spaces, transportation, and paying debts are all crucial during the early stages of recovery. You must know which ones to prioritize so you can focus on the remaining funds that you have. If you are working then great, you have income coming in. This could help you pay off debts and even tuck away some money for yourself in the future. If you find yourself struggling with this, it’s best to find someone who can help you with your finances. Talk to a financial adviser or someone who knows how to manage money. This way you can start putting your life in order starting with your finances.
Dealing with cravings and triggers
Detoxing your body from substances does not necessarily remove the cravings and triggers. A craving is the desire to use substances while triggers are feelings, places, or people that fuel those cravings for you to use again. As you go through the early stages of recovery, you will be facing these issues that could go on throughout your life. However, you are given the tools you need to cope without using drugs or alcohol and at the same time identify the triggers that could push you into using again. Learning healthy ways to cope means talking to your sponsor, practicing self-care, and even going to group therapy.
Loneliness and boredom
During your recovery, you are no longer friends with those who are abusing drugs and alcohol. You get to meet new people and explore new relationships. During this time you are likely to follow a structured daily routine where you are able to meet a support group, do exercises, practice self-reflection, and experience leisure time without the use of drugs and other substances. While all of these are helpful, feelings of loneliness or boredom could be a big threat to your sobriety since you spent most of your free time doing drugs in the previous chapter of your life. You must learn how to make use of your time in a different way. The good news is that there are plenty of things to do so you can avoid feeling bored and alone. You can start by meditating, playing sports, doing something creative, and even taking up a new hobby. Establishing a new life with new activities free from drugs and alcohol can be challenging but as you go on with life, you will soon appreciate the value of staying clean.
Mental health disorders
During the early stages of recovery, recovering addicts may experience stress, anxiety, and even depression. It can be a problem if any of these disrupts your daily life and if they ever do, it is best to get an evaluation. Of course, not everyone may experience mental health disorders during the early stages of recovery but it is fairly common. The best thing that you can do is to talk to a therapist or doctor about these conditions. Learning how to apply breathing techniques, relaxation methods, and being mindful can also help.
Issues with relationships
Individuals who get clean and sober often find themselves in trouble with relationships. This is why it is not always ideal to get into a relationship right away when you are still trying to repair your relationships with friends and family. Instead, you can work on yourself first and build healthy relationships with your loved ones. This means you have to work hard on making yourself a better person while trying to show them that you are worthy to be trusted again. However, this will not be an overnight thing. In fact, you have to start showing your loved ones that you are actually doing something to better yourself. Be helpful and caring, start listening to your friends and family. Make sure to be true to your words as well and if you happen to commit to a promise, make sure to really push through it. It’s a lot of hard work but if you have genuine intentions of earning their trust again, it will be worth it in the end.
Of course, one of the biggest issues that many recovering addicts face during the early stages of recovery is relapse. The stress, anxiety, cravings, and old friends that you used to hang out with can be potential triggers for your relapse but luckily, the rehabilitation that you went through is designed to help you overcome these things. The life skills you learned, peer support system, and modifying your unhealthy behaviors can help you stay rooted in your sobriety. Although you cannot fully avoid relapse because it will happen at some point, the help and support of your peers and mentors, you can get back on track quickly.
Finding your purpose
You may feel like you don’t have any purpose in your life after your drug and alcohol rehab and this is pretty normal to feel. However, you must learn how to adapt to a life that does not include alcohol or drugs. Fortunately, rehabilitation introduces recovering addicts to new interests and hobbies. This could be art, meditation, yoga, music, and other interesting things that may be helpful to you. So, that being said, finding your purpose in life to pursue may not be easy at first but if you try your best to become better then you will surely find something that you will be happy to do.
Learning to adapt to a new life after rehab is all part of your recovery. The struggle is real, as many would say but if you focus your attention on your goals, it will be a lot easier than getting distracted. Most importantly, don’t forget to turn to the people you trust for help and support. It may not be easy to start all over again but if you are supported and loved by the right people then it will be easier to get back again.
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 602-346-9142.