13 Sep What to expect the first year of recovery?
What to Expect the First Year of Recovery?
Recovery is different for everyone, and every addict has a completely unique story. However, there are a number of signs and experiences that most recovering addicts share. Many of these occur in the first year of recovery, which is arguably the hardest for most addicts.
Whether they’re recovering from drug or alcohol abuse, the first year poses a special set of challenges. How you handle your first year of recovery depends on you. Your level of commitment, support, and surroundings all have a profound impact on your experience.
That being said, here are some things to expect over the course of your first year of recovery.
This is the first stage of recovery, and one of the most difficult. Some people might spend this entire stage as an inpatient at a rehabilitation center. With round-the-clock medical care and support, rehab centers aim to make this stage safer and more comfortable for recovering individuals and their loved ones.
Regardless, this stage can last anywhere from three to four months. During this time, they might experience withdrawal, learn important coping skills, and identify the triggers that cause them to drink or use drugs.
Inspiring them to remain sober is important during this stage, as they will need that commitment to succeed as an outpatient. Counseling, family meetings, and support groups can help with this.
Dealing with Depression
Many recovering addicts experience depression over the course of their recovery, especially during the first year. This might be exacerbated if they don’t have a stable home life, support network or recovery plan.
For some people, feelings of depression, loneliness, and hopelessness might be a relapse trigger. In order to avoid giving into these triggers, they need to develop coping skills and identify tools that work for their specific recovery needs.
Therapists and counselors are best equipped to handle the depression associated with recovery, but friends and family can be good outlets as well.
As they begin to recognize addiction behaviors in themselves, many people begin learning exactly how to combat relapse triggers and urges.
From here, they can begin settling into their new lives. This might include a new focus on self-improvement, work, and relationships in their lives. These life factors can serve as a source of inspiration for them, and give them a reason to continue their sobriety.
Regardless, their recovery does not end at this point. In fact, recovery is generally a lifetime commitment. A recovering addict must continue to conquer their triggers and should abstain from addictive substances entirely. While this will become easier over time, that doesn’t mean they can become lax.
A recovering addict should continue attending support groups, even after they feel like they don’t ‘need’ them anymore. They should also stay in contact with their therapists and counselors and should keep their support system in mind when things get difficult.
Maintaining abstinence gets easier over time, but it will never become effortless. Staying self-aware and vigilant is the best protection against relapse.