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What to Expect in the Early Days of Recovery


When you are first out of drug and/or alcohol treatment, transitioning into everyday life will be one of the most difficult things to overcome. However, there are a few things that the individual should know about the process.


Depression Happens
When you are back at your normal life without 24/7 guidance and supervision, it is easy to get the blues and feel somewhat bored. Just know that this bout of depression is natural and typically only happens for a few weeks within the first year of sobriety. It is important to keep in mind that depression can make it more difficult to focus on your meetings or group therapy sessions. It is best to speak to your doctor and sponsor about this complication.


Scheduling is the New Normal
During your transition, scheduling is going to be critical to your recovery. Be sure to schedule about three 12-Step meetings a week in the first few weeks. Besides scheduling meetings, it’s also important that you schedule your time wisely. You don’t want to get bored and look for that clutch that you typically looked for when you were in boredom situations. You have to set yourself up with new, daily home routines and not feel compelled to go back to your exact, old routine. Give yourself time to get adjusted, you’re on your own schedule and no one else’s.


Keep Working Those Steps
During the first 90 days of your recovery of drugs and alcohol, there is always the danger of relapsing. The best way to avoid this is to focus on your recovery each and every day. Going to meetings, following the 12-Steps, working with your sponsor, and keeping your eyes on the bigger picture are all things to focus on. Surround yourself with family, friends, and other positive influences in your life to help keep you on the right path.


Don’t Get Too Cocky
If after a few weeks or even a few months, you start to feel confident enough to the point where you think you can go with your friends to a place like a bar and not be tempted, think again. Don’t even allow yourself the opportunity to be tempted. It’s best to just find something else to do and stay away from all temptations of any kind.


Don’t Fall for Cravings
Recognize your triggers and know the ways to navigate around them. Have a backup plan when you start to feel uneasy and a backup plan to get you out of those uncomfortable situations. Note whether or not your friends who still use are a trigger and visit them in a substance-free environment. Soon enough, you are likely to make new friends who are also in recovery.


The first year of recovery can be a tough one. But no matter what, it is important to celebrate the little things. Know that there will be good days and bad days, and that’s okay. But if you continue working the steps and focusing each and every day on your recovery and enjoy your sobriety and the joy it brings to your life. Celebrate safely and smartly!