The first 60 days of sobriety can be challenging, so how do you make it through this period while avoiding relapse? By having a better understanding of short- and long-term withdrawal symptoms, new routines you’ll need to adjust to, and the future of your relationships, you can increase your chances of staying sober these first 60 days. Here, we not only help you anticipate the most common challenges, but we’ll also provide you with some solutions that will help you build a foundation for a strong, long-lasting recovery.
The Brain in Early Sobriety
The brain was physically and psychologically dependent on drugs and alcohol. In the first 60 days of being sober, there might not be any changes right away. Changes will happen when you continue to work on your recovery.
The brain needs to be re-trained to function normally without drugs or alcohol. Treatment can be helpful in the early stages of this process. When in treatment, there are opportunities to learn from others’ experiences, reflect on yourself, and receive guidance and direction from therapists and counselors. Everyone’s situation and treatment is different and depends on the duration of substance abuse, the potency of the drugs or alcohol, genetic disposition, and mental health. Sometimes people need more than 60 days to notice any changes in their journey to recovery.
Some of the Most Common Challenges in the First 60 Days of Sobriety
The first 60 days of recovery can be the most crucial because they set the tone for the rest of your journey. Many sudden changes happen all at once, and they can be overwhelming, making it seem easier to turn back to substance abuse instead. Some of the most common challenges those in early recovery must come to terms with include:
- Withdrawal symptoms and cravings: As your mind and body adjust to not having substances in your system, withdrawal symptoms and cravings will inevitably set in. These can range in severity and last anywhere from a couple of days to a week or more. Going through detox is a vital first step in recovery, and it can be difficult to manage without help. Detox through a medical facility can help ease any discomfort and make the experience as comfortable as possible.
- Adjusting to new routines: Achieving sobriety means changing the thoughts and behaviors that help drive addiction. It is important to establish healthy habits and routines early in recovery to help cope with the loss of addiction. Many find they have much more time of their hands and boredom can increase the risk for relapse. Establishing new routines and habits includes things like getting enough sleep at night, eating a balanced diet, exercising, and finding new ways to deal with challenges they face. This helps create a sense of structure as they navigate recovery.
- Changes in relationships: In order for treatment to be successful,relationships with substance-abusing peers should be ended. It is important to surround yourself with others who are sober as well. Enabling peers can increase exposure to drugs and alcohol and may encourage you to relapse. Relationship dynamics must also change as well. Addiction can hurt relationships with family and friends which makes mending those relationships a critical part of the recovery process.Throughout recovery, your family and friends also need time to heal. Rebuilding relationships with loved ones requires trust and respect. Abiding by boundaries set by loved ones will help restore trust issues. How you see yourself substance-free allows you to sustain relationships that are more meaningful.
Triggers for relapse will be challenging in the first 60 days. Stay positive, have sober family and friends encourage and support you, and do not give up. During this time, you will gradually see your life change. Apply the techniques you learned in treatment to avoid relapse. A sober life will feel refreshing and gets even better as time goes on.
How to Improve Your Chances of Success in Early Recovery from Addiction
When a person enters treatment for addiction, it can be a challenging time. In addition to facing the unknown, you are confronting life without the aid of drugs or alcohol. You cannot use substances to avoid difficult situations, to self-medicate, or as a method of socializing with others. Entering treatment means completely changing your life and while this is a step towards a better, healthy lifestyle, it can still be a scary time.
Even when you want to make the change and achieve sobriety, it is not an easy task. Recovery is a lifelong process and is riddled with obstacles, pitfalls, and challenges. With the right help, you can develop the coping mechanisms, healthy outlets, and relationships needed to support sobriety long-term. Achieving sobriety is not a journey you take alone and it often requires help and support in multiple facets of life in order to be successful.
All of these changes can be overwhelming and difficult to manage alone. There are several ways you can improve the recovery experience and set the foundation for a sober lifestyle moving forward. Making these changes early in recovery can help make the journey easier.
- Have a daily schedule: With all of the time you will get back, it may be difficult to know what to do. Creating a daily schedule can help pass the time, improve the recovery process, and reduce the likelihood that your mind will wander towards relapse. Scheduling your meals, sleep, exercise, social activities, work, and time for self-reflection will provide you with the ability to make time for what is most important in your recovery.
- Create goals: While the overall goal is to achieve and maintain sobriety, setting milestones for yourself can help you stay motivated and encouraged. Recovery is a life-long journey and acknowledging your successes can help you keep perspective on it. Be sure to enjoy your successes and reward yourself for the work you do.
- Commit to your new lifestyle: Recovery is more than just abstaining from substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol can cause numerous physical, mental, and emotional ailments that can, in some cases, linger. Committing to a healthy lifestyle can help you reverse some of the damage caused by substance abuse and find new ways to cope. Exercise, eating a balanced diet, getting adequate sleep, and utilizing counseling services will help strengthen your recovery.
- Plan for the worst: While you should be positive and hopeful about your journey, you should always plan for the worst. This does not mean you should anticipate relapsing, but you should acknowledge that it is a possibility. In many cases, it takes several attempts before sobriety is maintained. Identifying your triggers and potential temptations can help you plan for how to handle situations before you are in them.
Staying active with healthy activities helps the recovery process. Immerse yourself in exercise, sports, hobbies, interests, reading, watching movies or other healthy activities. Clearing your mind of substances allows you to focus on yourself and explore healthy interests and activities. This will help to improve mental and physical health. Going out with sober friends and family can be fun. Laughter can help promote mental and emotional health while living substance-free. New sober friendships can form through AA/NAR-ANON meetings or group therapy sessions.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or substance abuse, do not wait. Get help today. Nexus Recovery Services specializes in addiction treatment for mental health issues and addiction. Our mission is to provide tools and support for every client’s seamless transition into a meaningful and fulfilling life of sobriety. We offer a free and confidential consultation. Call us to get started: 310-881-9151